Marvel Studios’ Phase 3 began earlier this year with the highly successful Captain America: Civil War and will continue in November with the introduction of the Sorcerer Supreme in Doctor Strange. Phase 3 will go on with the exploration of the cosmic side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (which has already begun with Guardians of the Galaxy and was teased in Ant-Man) and Doctor Strange will take the audience to dimensions that have not been explored yet.
The visual style for this movie has been described by those involved as “Marvel’s Fantasia” and the trailers, concept art, and images released by the studio have given us a glimpse at those mind-bending visuals that await. However, there’s material that only a few lucky ones had a chance to see, and that’s the footage that was shown at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, which not only left fans speechless but also Strange himself, Benedict Cumberbatch.
In an interview with Empire, Cumberbatch spoke about his reaction to seeing the footage, which was packed with incredible visual effects reminiscent of those trippy Doctor Strange comic panels fans are familiar with.
"Some bits made me think, ‘Wow. God. That’s what I’m part of’. You have conceptual art that they show you, but you only really realize what you’re part of at the end of the process. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the effects while we were shooting, because a lot of them were real elements, whether it was sets that make a room minuscule, or the costume designs."
While Cumberbatch has played a variety of characters, not only on the big screen but also on stage and television (most notably his role as Sherlock Holmes in the BBC’s Sherlock), Stephen Strange is remarkably different from them. Cumberbatch went on to explain what drew him to play a mystical superhero like Strange, stating that “the lure as an actor is the script, the director, Kevin [Feige], and talking about how to make a character written in the '60s and '70s relevant now.” He added that this version of Stephen Strange is “slightly less arrogant. Arrogant, but also humorous.”
The visual effects that the movie aims to bring are not the only elements that fans have been eagerly waiting to see: there are details such as Strange’s costume and even his residence, the Sanctum Sanctorum, that spark the audience's curiosity. There’s a particular moment in the second trailer where Strange whips his signature red cloak (the Cloak of Levitation), which quickly became a top moment from the trailer. Cumberbatch shared that it was “wonderful to see that moment get a cheer. He’s really earned it by then”.
Doctor Strange is one of Marvel’s most anticipated releases not only for its visual style but because it will bring one of Marvel Comics’ most interesting characters to the big screen as part of an already established universe. If Cumberbatch was stunned by that footage, we can only image what awaits for the fans when the movie comes out.
Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; Untitled Avengers – May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.