Earlier this year the Earth-based members of the Marvel Cinematic Universe gang got together for a big brawl in Captain America: Civil War, but Marvel Studios' latter release of 2016 will introduce a new face to the crowd - and start to weave some magic into the MCU. Doctor Strange, directed by Scott Derrickson and starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role, is set for release in November, and marks the first time that the Sorcerer Supreme will be seen on the big screen.
Also starring Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tilda Swinton and Mads Mikkelsen, Doctor Strange stirred interest earlier this year when the first trailer showed off some mind-bending special effects and teased a compelling character drama, as skilled surgeon Doctor Stephen Strange turns to the world of magic after a brutal car accident cripples his hands and his career in a single moment.
As part of a Comic-Con preview issue, Entertainment Weekly has shared a new piece of Doctor Strange concept art from Marvel's Head of Visual Development, Ryan Meinerding. Check out the image below, along with a higher resolution version from the magazine (via CBR).
Getting the combination of choreography and special effects just right for depictions of magic on the big screen can be a challenge (it's something that this year's Warcraft excelled at), but it's a challenge that Doctor Strange will need to overcome in order to stake out a place for Cumberbatch's character in the hearts of MCU fans. What we've seen so far is very promising: the artwork shows Doctor Strange's powers manifested as yellow light that can take the form of runes, and we've also had some intriguing glimpses of the Astral Plane, a level of existence that only magical or psychic beings can access.
When asked how his character in Doctor Strange compares to the character he's perhaps best known for - Sherlock Holmes in BBC's Sherlock - Cumberbatch told EW that his fans will be in for something quite different:
"The two men are intelligent [and] that’s it. Stephen Strange is a lover, he’s a materialist, he’s arrogant, but he’s got a great sense of humor. There are smatterings of the same colors that Sherlock has, but he’s not on the spectrum."
Around Doctor Strange's neck in the image above is, of course, the Eye of Agamotto, a powerful magical artifact that gifts its user with an array of abilities. Given how many of the McGuffins in the MCU have turned out to be vessels for an Infinity Stone, many are wondering if this will be the case with the Eye of Agamotto as well. Fortunately, we'll only have to wait a few more months at most to find out.
Captain America: Civil War is in theaters now. 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 Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel– March 8, 2019; Avengers: Infinity War Part 2– May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.