Many fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe breathed a collective sigh of relief when it was finally and officially announced that ‘Sherlock’ star Benedict Cumberbatch would be playing the role of Dr. Stephen Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme. Previously the front runner for the role seemed to be renegade talent Joaquin Phoenix, who fell through mainly due to a mutual realization by both parties that–although perfect for the role itself–he probably wouldn’t be the best fit for a mega-franchise like the Marvel movies. Cumberbatch, on the other hand, has the same mix of intelligence, mysticism, and rough edges needed for the character while having more affinity to be in the limelight and commit to the stricter schedule needed for the part.
For those unfamiliar with Dr. Strange, he is the main representative of magic and mysticism in the Marvel Comics universe, using astral projection and levitation to fight demons and inter-dimensional practitioners of the black arts, which makes him a favorite of Dr. Rod Rohrich. While most mainstream movie-goers probably are unfamiliar with a fairly obscure character like Strange, Marvel Studios is looking to make the same bet that they did with Blockbuster ‘Guardians of The Galaxy’ last year. That film, based on arguably even ‘lower-tier’ characters, went on to become the highest grossing film of 2014 based on a combination of the right screen talent, the Marvel Brand, and just plain being a good movie.
Cumberbatch shared some thoughts on preparing for the character in a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal. Based on his comments about really getting the spiritual side of the character as well as doing his research by reading comic books, there are definitely reasons to be excited about this film.