When Doctor Strange hits theaters in November, it is going to usher in some major changes for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Much like Guardians of the Galaxy opened up the MCU to new worlds beyond Earth, Doctor Strange will open it up to entirely new universes. Not only that, but it will introduce magic to Marvel's films. Magic is, after all, Doctor Strange's specialty.
With the trailers for Doctor Strange showing the Doctor leaving his own body and traveling through realities as if he were popping into the kitchen for a snack, it's obvious that the magic with which he is dealing is very powerful magic indeed. But is it the magic that makes him a superhero, or something else?
According Doctor Strange star Benedict Cumberbatch, it's something else. In an interview with EW, which also included some new images from the movie (as seen below), Cumberbatch said that rather than his power coming from his abilities or his magical artifacts, he sees it as coming from his inner strength:
"This man reaches the very bottom and then more. You think, How much more can this guy take? He’s broken, he gets up again, he’s broken — and that’s really what makes him a superhero. A lot of people have asked me, ‘What makes him a superhero?’ That’s really the answer I should have given. It’s not the Cloak of Levitation. It’s not the Eye of Agamotto. It’s about his staying power. It’s a marathon and not a sprint. The guy endures so much."
The trailers we've seen so far hint at the adversity Strange has to overcome on his path toward becoming a hero. Injured in a car crash, the gifted surgeon loses the use of his hands and thus his ability to perform surgery. It's in recovering from that trauma that Strange starts to encounter the world of magic, including a powerful tutor in Tilda Swinton's Ancient One. Swinton herself has said that the movie "is going to pull some s*** out no one’s ever seen before," but much of the responsibility for keeping that s*** in check falls squarely on Strange's shoulders.
Doctor Strange is one of the most powerful superheroes in Marvel comics, and will likely continue to be so in the MCU. He has the power to, for instance, teleport a large number of superheroes to distant worlds to fight the threat imposed by Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, making him a valuable addition to the roster. Before he gets to that point, though, his first solo movie will show the journey he takes on the road to being Marvel's most powerful magician.
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; Avengers 4 – May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.