Marvel Studios is well underway on production for the first chapters in “Phase 3” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe which begins next summer with Captain America: Civil War. That film began shooting six weeks ago and has its entire cast (sans Spider-Man) already filled out, and next on the slate is Doctor Strange.
Doctor Strange is a long-time passion project for Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige and after some back-and-forth on the casting front, the comic book movie production house finally landed on Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock, Star Trek Into Darkness) as the lead. So far, the British star who earned an Oscar nod last year for his performance in The Imitation Game and who is going to be named Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) according to recent reports, is the only actor officially signed on for the Scott Derrickson directed project, but that’s about to change.
Two weeks ago we learned Marvel Studios was in talks with Oscar winner Tilda Swinton to potentially play The Ancient One, the all-powerful Sorcerer Supreme and mentor to Doctor Strange. We can now also toss into the mix, another Oscar-caliber star in Academy Award nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor who Marvel was interested in as far back as January according to the trades for a role in Doctor Strange.
At the time, these were just “early talks” and there were conflicting reports on whether his lead role would be a villainous role or not. We speculated that it would likely be The Ancient One or his/her disciple, Baron Mordo and as it turns out, the latter is true. Deadline reports today that Ejiofor is close to signing and that his character, Mordo, is an “amalgamation of characters culled from Doctor Strange‘s mythology.” So there’s a chance for some Iron Man 3 style twists on the source material (see: Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin).
If the film follows the comics when it comes to the major plot beats though, or even the excellent animated Doctor Strange film from 2007, then Mordo will likely begin as another heroic figure until taking a turn for the worse in a quest for power, betraying The Ancient One. With Doctor Strange scheduled for a fall 2016 release, principal photography must begin sometime between late summer and fall, so expect official announcements to begin rolling in soon.
We’re unsure at this point how connected, if at all, Doctor Strange will be to Captain America: Civil War but early reports had Daniel Bruhl’s Baron Zemo potentially having a smaller role in Civil War to return in a big way for Doctor Strange. Whether that holds true or not remains to be seen.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron is now in theaters, followed by Ant-Man on July 17, 2015, Captain America: Civil War on May 6, 2016, Doctor Strange on November 4, 2016, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on May 5, 2017, Spider-Man on July 28, 2017, Thor: Ragnarok on November 3, 2017, Avengers: Infinity War – Part 1 on May 4, 2018, Black Panther on July 6, 2018, Captain Marvel on November 2, 2018, Avengers: Infinity War – Part 2 on May 3, 2019 and Inhumans on July 12, 2019.