Mads Mikkelsen Describes Doctor Strange's 'Thinking Man's' Villain

Doctor Strange Kaecilius poster featured


While he’s played many different kinds of roles in his life, Mads Mikkelsen has made a career in Hollywood playing bad guys. He plays another one with Kaecilius, the primary antagonist of Doctor Strange, the newest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Screen Rant spoke with Mikkelsen at the press day for Doctor Strange, where we talked about Kaecilius’ not-so-villainous motivations and the possibility of seeing him appear onscreen with his fellow Hannibal actor, Anthony Hopkins.

Do you ever wanna just play the good dad role?

Mads Mikkelsen: Yeah. I’ve played a lot of those as well, but back home and in Europe. Yeah, for some reason over here they do like my funny accent or whatever, and make me play the villain. And I don’t mind it at all.

A great thing about Kaecilius, actually, is I think he’s a thinking man’s villain. And he’s not wrong necessarily in his points of view.

Mads Mikkelsen: Absolutely.

He’s trying to do what he views best for the world, so when you approach that character with that in mind, what were you thinking in that process? Because he’s different, he’s a different villain than Hannibal.

Mads Mikkelsen: Obviously, he’s trying to make the world a better place, where there’s no suffering and there’s eternal life, which is a valid point. He’s worshiping something which we don’t realize what it is until the very end, and I’m not sure that he realizes until the very end what he’s actually worshiping. But until then he’s on to something.

Doctor Strange Kaecilius poster featured

Yeah, definitely. With him being a Zealot for Dormammu, how much did you research the characters of Kaecilius and Dormammu?

Mads Mikkelsen: Not a lot. I know that he was in one of the comic books, briefly. And so the Kaecilius character is free invention, it’s built on different characters that they placed into this specific one.

It seems like when Doctor Strange makes the deal with Dormammu they banish the Zealots from Earth. But it doesn’t really seem—at least, I didn’t get the impression that he was dead, or there was actually an official demise.

Mads Mikkelsen: We don’t know.

We don’t know. Do you think there’s room for Kaecilius to return in the MCU?

Mads Mikkelsen: Well that would be fun. But in terms of what I saw yesterday he would look slightly different when he comes back.

Oh really?

Mads Mikkelsen: Yeah, didn’t you have the feeling that it was not necessarily, like, the best travel in the world he was going on?

Doctor Strange (2016) - Mads Mikkelsen

Yeah, but I mean, this is the magic universe.

Mads Mikkelsen: Just put a spell on him.

Exactly. And you could come back as a Force ghost, kind of like in the Star Wars universe. Anthony Hopkins is in the Marvel universe as Odin, kind of in the magical realm. Mads Mikkelsen is in the MCU as Kaecilius. If he did come back would there be a chance we could see those two on screen together, like almost as a Hannibal/Hannibal kind of deal?

Mads Mikkelsen: I mean, there’s nothing I would love more than that, just to meet Anthony Hopkins, and even more so act with him. I think he’s fantastic. So I think we should propose that to the Marvel people.

We’re onto something here. Going forward into the MCU, what do you think is the difference between the villain of Kaecilius and Dormammu opposed to all the other villains we’ve had in the MCU? Because we’ve had Loki, and just an array of this rogues gallery.

Mads Mikkelsen: I think they’re all serving their purpose of having a mirror reflection of our hero. There’s something that our hero recognizes in the villain, and that is something he hates. And that’s his internal fight, and journey. So I think they have more in common than they have that separates them.

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NEXT: Benedict Cumberbatch Interview for Doctor Strange

Key Release Dates
  • Doctor Strange (2016) release date: Nov 04, 2016
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) release date: May 05, 2017
  • Black Panther (2018) release date: Feb 16, 2018
  • Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
  • Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
  • Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
  • The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
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