Entertainment Weekly has released the first photos of Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular Doctor Strange in the upcoming Marvel movie. They've been described as "spellbinding", with Cumberbatch praised as "looking like a dead ringer for the comic book character". As a huge fan who has been anticipating the film, slated for a November 2016 release, they are perfection.
Doctor Strange, for those who may not be Marvel Comics fans, was once an arrogant surgeon named Stephen Strange, who now acts as the Sorcerer Supreme - Earth's first line of defence against mystical threats. The character was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, and made his debut in July of 1963. For comparison's sake, the comic book version looks like this:
These are the photos released by Marvel, through Entertainment Weekly:
Like many superheroes, Doctor Strange is able to manipulate mystical energy using his hands, which could be a difficult thing to reproduce on screen without seeming cheesy. In the accompanying piece, Cumberbatch reassured fans, saying that "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."
Cumberbatch also offered reassurance to fans concerned that the movie would be drama-heavy, or would only feature magical-based fighting. He promised "all sorts of craziness" including "falling, flying, jumping, fighting, punching, getting punched. It's really rough and tumble."
While not of Cumberbatch as Strange, this photo is dubbed "The Chamber of Relics", which is likely the cinematic version of the Sanctum Sanctorum, Doctor Strange's secret base. Director Scott Derrickson said that he is "perpetually awestruck" that he's "getting to make this movie", especially when viewing concept art, such as the photo above. "I keep waiting for the knock on the door when somebody says, 'This movie's too weird, we can't make this.'" Derrickson has nothing to fear, with Marvel Studio's head and Producer Kevin Feige promising that Doctor Strange will have a "psychedelic '60s feel".
Feige elaborated on the psychedelic nature of the comic, saying that when it was released in the 1960s it "really informed, in a way that is pretty amazing, a lot of the psychedelic '60s as we know it." The photo above is of concept art.
More concept art, above, shows Cumberbatch as Strange recovering from a tragic accident. Feige spoke of his casting, saying that Cumberbatch "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.'"
The article and photos are in Entertainment Weekly's current issue, on newsstands today. It's worth noting that the issue also promises additional first looks at Game of Thrones, Outlander, Ghostbusters, Batman v. Superman, The Girl on The Train, and Deadpool, among others.
Doctor Strange hits theatres in November of 2016, and marks the first time Cumberbatch will lead a big-budget Hollywood film. The movie will also feature Mads Mikkelsen, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Tilda Swinton.