In the Doctor Strange comics, the character Wong is Stephen Strange’s manservant. It’s a bit of a stereotypical character, so in bringing Wong to the big screen in this fall’s Doctor Strange movie, Marvel decided it was time to give the character a complete overhaul.
The big screen Wong, played by Benedict Wong, is Stephen’s drill sergeant of sorts in his magical training. It’s a much more significant role than a manservant, and Screen Rant spoke with Wong at the press day for Doctor Strange about the importance of updating the character, his life-long love of comic books, and his upcoming appearance in Avengers: Infinity War.
So Wong, historically in the comic books, has been like a manservant. I’m so happy that this is not a dude that just gets tea.
Benedict Wong: This is it, this is it. And I’m glad we’ve sort of put that to bed and left it in the sixties, and we create a Wong of our times, you know? This is it, we have a drill sergeant, the librarian, he’s Strange’s intellectual mentor. Not your average librarian, you know, overdue books are fined with broken fingers. So this is a Wong we don’t mess with, you know?
Yeah. You said yesterday at the press conference, growing up you were a fan of superheroes and stuff like that. Who were you into?
Benedict Wong: Well, you know, Spider-Man was my guy. And Peter Parker, Spectacular Spider-Man, Amazing Spider-Man, Web of Spider-Man number one copy I own.
Benedict Wong: Yes, it’s in the vault.
In the vault, nobody’s touching it.
Benedict Wong: Yeah, no one touches it. No one touches it. Yeah, and then obviously growing up as a kid I bought all of them, cause they lure you in, don’t they? So I had to go to Odyssey 7, a comic book store in Manchester.
Look at that, giving a shout out to your comic book store.
Benedict Wong: Yeah, you know, it’s no longer there no more. But we evoke the memory of that. And there I was just delving through all these comics, and yeah it’s fantastic that I’m being part of this Marvel universe. And also, I was always crestfallen not seeing any Asian superheroes. You know, when this came up I was having lunch with Chiwetel [Ejiofor] about a year and a half ago and finding out, “What are you up to?” “Doctor Strange.” I was having a little look on the Internet, saw this Wong character, which I was just gobsmacked. So it was just like, “I have to do this for the ancestors!”
Well he joins the Avengers at some point in the comic books as well.
Benedict Wong: Yes. So we’ll see in Infinity Wars, I’ll be—
Are you saying Wong could be in Infinity War?
Benedict Wong: I’m saying he is.
Benedict Wong: I’m saying he is. I hope that’s—yeah it is true.
I love it when Doctor Strange comes up to Wong and he says, you know, is it like Wong, kind of like Adele or Beyoncé. How much of that was improved, cause that was hilarious.
Benedict Wong: Yeah, he just threw—
All that stuff?
Benedict Wong: He just threw ‘em at me.
Benedict Wong: Yeah, but I can’t wait for you to check the blooper reel out, cause there’s some funny, funny stuff.
Yeah, your character was a great sense of comic relief, and I loved it. I loved what you did with the character. Like I said, I loved that Wong just didn’t get tea and wasn’t a manservant. I loved that he had a great storyline, and great, brilliant performance.
Benedict Wong: Thank you. And you know, the times are changing. It’s refreshing, that’s what we need.
Definitely. I’m happy, they’re putting Asians on screen in this big, Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s so great.