Marvel’s Doctor Strange will introduce Stephen Vincent Strange – the brilliant surgeon who, after a crippling accident, ends up training in the mystical arts – to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch playing the one and future Sorcerer Supreme in the film. Other noteworthy cast members include Chiwetel Ejiofor as Baron Mordo and Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One, along with Rachel McAdams (Spotlight) and Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal) in currently undisclosed roles.
Cumberbatch in costume as Doctor Strange has now been officially unveiled, though fans will have to keep guessing about the exact identities of McAdams and Mikkelsen’s characters in the upcoming Marvel film. However, we can offer some details about the people they’re playing that should help those with a fine knowledge of the Marvel Comic Book Universe to better determine who, exactly, they are in the MCU (or, at the least, who they are definitely not).
Doctor Strange executive producer Stephen Broussard has confirmed to EW that Mikkelsen is playing the film’s “main villain,” as has been rumored for some time now. Dormammu, a dangerous being who (in the Marvel Comics) has dark magical powers that rival those of Strange’s, is very much a possibility when it comes to the identity of Mikkelsen’s character, but he’s far from being the only candidate.
Here is how Mikkelsen’s as-yet (officially) unidentified character fits into the Doctor Strange narrative, according to Marvel President of Production Kevin Feige:
“Mads’ character is a sorcerer who breaks off into his own sect. [He] believes that the Ancient One is just protecting her own power base and that the world may be better off if we were to allow some of these other things through.”
Those “other things” are “scary things [from] other dimensions” according to Feige, though Broussard claims that “No one has quite picked the name that we’ve chosen for [Mikkelsen’s character]. It would be fun to conceal that, if we can.” Broussard may be telling the truth about Mikkelsen’s role in Doctor Strange here, but Marvel Studios fans should know better by now than to take everything that Marvel producers say at face value, especially about the villains in their films (cough, The Mandarin). Indeed, an officially-released Doctor Strange set photo that appears to include the Eye of Agamotto – an object that Strange uses to battle Dormammu in the Marvel comics – may’ve already tipped the film’s hand. Then again, it might just be an Easter Egg for comic book readers.
In related news, Feige also offered EW the following insight regarding McAdams’ character in Doctor Strange:
“Rachel McAdams plays a fellow surgeon that has a history with Strange and is his sort of lynchpin to his old life, once he steps into he role of a sorcerer. She is someone he connects with at the beginning, and reconnects with, and helps anchor his humanity.”
Broussard also informed EW that McAdams’ character is “[Strange’s] contemporary in the modern-day New York world, before and after he goes on this crazy journey… She’s kind of this audience point of view.” We’ve speculated in the past that McAdams could be playing a character with ties to the larger mystical world of the MCU (such as Clea or Morgana Blessing), but it sounds like rumors that McAdams is really playing a version of the Night Nurse character (possibly Christine Palmer) may be closer to the truth. Unfortunately, it also seems McAdams may be playing a generic love interest archetype in Doctor Strange too – the Jane Foster to his Thor, so to speak. Here’s hoping that is not the case, though.
Doctor Strange stars Benedict Cumberbatch (Black Mass, The Imitation Game), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave, The Martian), Rachel McAdams (Southpaw, Sherlock Holmes) and Michael Stuhlbarg (Steve Jobs, A Serious Man) with Mads Mikkelsen (Clash of the Titans, Casino Royale) and Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton, The Grand Budapest Hotel). The film is directed by Scott Derrickson (Sinister, The Exorcism of Emily Rose) and produced by Kevin Feige with Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Charles Newirth, Stephen Broussard and Stan Lee serving as executive producers.
Captain America: Civil War will release on May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man – July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.