With Phase Two of the Marvel Cinematic Universe having ended in July with Ant-Man, Marvel Studios is ready to start Phase Three next year with Captain America: Civil War (opening in May 2016) and Doctor Strange (in November). per usual, Marvel has decided to keep the main details surrounding Doctor Strange a secret and play its cards close to the chest, this far ahead of the film’s release.
What we know so far is that Benedict Cumberbatch will play Stephen Strange; Tilda Swinton will be in charge of portraying the Ancient One (Strange’s mentor), Chiwetel Ejiofor will play Strange’s enemy Baron Mordo, and Rachel McAdams is on board in a still undisclosed role (rumored to be Night Nurse). With production starting this month, it’s only natural that the last round of casting news should begin trickling in.
According to Variety, acclaimed character actor Michael Stuhlbarg is in talks to join the cast of Doctor Strange in an undisclosed role. This would mark Stuhlbarg’s debut in the world of superheroes and comic book movies.
Stuhlbarg is best known for his drama roles in movies and TV series, such as Larry Gopnik in the Coen brothers’ A Serious Man (for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy) and as Arnold Rothstein in Boardwalk Empire. His recent works include the Bobby Fischer memoir Pawn Sacrifice, Danny Boyle’s critically acclaimed Steve Jobs (where he plays Apple engineer Andy Hertzfeld), and the biographical drama Trumbo, starring alongside Bryan Cranston and Diane Lane.
We await confirmation that Stuhlbarg has officially joined the Doctor Strange movie cast, though the speculation about his role has already started – with Variety‘s sources claiming that he will play Dr. Nicodemus West, a long time admirer of Stephen Strange – and the surgeon who performs the surgery that saves Strange’s hands after a terrible accident, but which leaves him with severe nerve damage. Nicodemus, in the Marvel comic books, has uncompleted training in the mystic arts by the Ancient One, giving him limited mastery of spells and magic.
It would make sense for Stuhlbarg to play Dr. West, seeing as the Doctor Strange film – directed by Scott Derrickson (Sinister) from a revised script by Jon Spaihts (Prometheus) – is confirmed to be an origin story for the eponymous Doctor, and should thus cover the injury that leads him on his path to becoming a master of the mystical arts in the first place. Again, shooting on the film starts this month, so it’s only a matter of time before we get an official statement on the matter from Marvel Studios.
Captain America: Civil War will release on May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 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.