At the top of the month Marvel Studios began shooting Doctor Strange on location in Kathmandu, Nepal, allowing for unofficial photos to reveal our first look at a rugged, heavily bearded Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange and Chiwetel Ejiofor dressed up as Baron Mordo. Since then production has moved to London's Pinewood Studios where Marvel previously shot Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor: The Dark World, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Avengers: Age of Ultron.
With the primary cast all set, and a few recent additions, Marvel and director Scott Derrickson are currently onto principal photography for Doctor Strange with the official announcement of the start of production coming today from Disney. The news comes alongside the official cast list and details on what other locations around the globe where Doctor Strange will shoot scenes.
In addition to London and Nepal, Doctor Strange will also have sequences produced in Hong Kong and New York, the latter of which Marvel Comics readers will associate as the home of Doctor Stephen Strange's Sanctum Santorum residence. This special place at 177A Bleecker Street was also the headquarters of the original Defenders which of course is the name being adapted for Marvel's Netflix heroes who are beginning to form now that Daredevil and Jessica Jones have both aired on the streaming service. There are rumors one of the upcoming Netflix heroes, Iron Fist, may crossover with Doctor Strange so it's possible - and this is just speculation at this point - that the New York set could show up in a few years for certain Marvel TV heroes. That'd be a welcome way to bridge the gap between certain TV heroes and what's going on on the film side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
As for the casting side of Doctor Strange, there are no surprises here but confirmations on what we already know. Joining Cumberbatch and Ejiofor are Rachel McAdams (rumored to play a version of Night Nurse), Michael Stuhlbarg (potentially playing Dr. Nicodemus West), Mads Mikkelsen (as a villain - potentially as Dormammu), and Tilda Swinton (as the Ancient One, mentor of Strange). And here's the official Doctor Strange synopsis:
Doctor Strange follows the story of neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange who, after a horrific car accident, discovers the hidden world of magic and alternate dimensions.
The film's production crew is comprised of familiar names including Ben Davis as director of photography, Charles Wood as production designer, and costume designer Alexandra Byrne - all of whom worked on Avengers: Age of Ultron and Guardians of the Galaxy. The film will be edited by Wyatt Smith (Into the Woods, Thor: The Dark World) and Sabrina Plisco (Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, Charlotte’s Web). Most interestingly, given Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn's words about the unique visual style Doctor Strange will bring to the MCU is the revelation that Guardians of the Galaxy visuals effects supervisor Stephane Ceretti will be working on Doctor Strange as well.
Today's announcement also confirms that Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will conclude after "nine films" and "four years" which, if we count the two-part Avengers: Infinity War as one film, then Inhumans in 2019 is the start of Phase 4 which will be followed up by announced projects already set with release dates in 2020.
Doctor Strange, starring 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.