Early this morning, Marvel provided us with our first official look at Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular character in the upcoming superhero film Doctor Strange. Now, a collection of new images has been unveiled, giving us an even closer look at Cumberbatch’s superhero debut. The story revolves around an ego-centric neurosurgeon who loses the use of his hands and goes searching for a cure high in the Himalayas. There he comes across a figure known as The Ancient One, played by Tilda Swinton, who imbues him with magical powers.
This film, directed by Sinister and The Exorcism of Emily Rose helmer Scott Derrickson, is Marvel Studios’ first foray into the realm of the mystical, and Cumberbatch tells EW that folks are in for a treat once the visual effects come into play:
“These gestures are ways of creating the magic. It’s a beautiful thing, it’s balletic, it’s very dynamic. And once the boys in the backroom get to work on it, there’s going to be crazy shit going on… There’s all sorts of craziness [in Doctor Strange]. Falling, flying, jumping, fighting, punching, getting punched. It’s really rough and tumble.”
Indeed, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige says they’re leaning hard into the inherent weirdness of the property with this film:
“When this comic appeared in the early ’60s, it really informed, in a way that is pretty amazing, a lot of the psychedelic ’60s as we know it. I don’t know that they were doing anything weird in the bullpen in Marvel, but certainly the stuff they were doing inspired all those people who were doing mind-expansion experiments at the time,” explains producer Kevin Feige. “So, that’s inherent to the property. And that’s our mission statement for the visual effects on this movie.”
Folks who have been following the development know that Cumberbatch’s name was mentioned early in the casting search, but then Marvel entered prolonged negotiations with Joaquin Phoenix for the role. When Phoenix backed out, Cumberbatch came back into the equation, but Feige says Cumberbatch had been on their mind from the onset:
“[Benedict] was someone that we were very interested in for a very long time. But he kept getting more popular, and more popular, and he kept getting busier, and busier, and it looked like the timing wasn’t going to work. So we looked at some other actors for a while and ultimately decided, ‘We have to try and make it work with Benedict and with his schedule.’”
It’s a minor miracle that Cumberbatch hadn’t already been snapped up by a superhero property before this, but it’ll certainly be fascinating to see him make his debut as someone as weird as Doctor Strange. Moreover, I’m curious to see how the character fits within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Check out the rest of the photos below, via EW. Doctor Strange opens in theaters on November 4, 2016.