The Marvel Cinematic Universe will continue its expansion with Phase 3, starting in May with Captain America: Civil War and continuing in November with the introduction of the Sorcerer Supreme in Doctor Strange. The latter will also contribute to the expanding cosmic side of the MCU, which started last year with Guardians of the Galaxy.
Doctor Strange has already started filming and it is expected to finish in March, so it’s only fair that we start getting more details on Marvel’s darkest story up to date. The first official look at Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange has seen the light, and now even more images and details have been released.
EW‘s latest issue not only has Benedict Cumberbatch in full Stephen Strange costume on the cover, but inside its pages are more details on the Sorcerer Supreme’s debut on the MCU.
Aside from the costume – which remains faithful to the one from the comic books but without looking cartoonish – one of Strange’s signature details are his spell-casting hand gestures. Cumberbatch opened up about this particular characteristic, saying “These gestures are ways of creating the magic. It’s a beautiful thing, it’s balletic, it’s very dynamic. And once the boys in the backroom get to work on it, there’s going to be crazy s–t going on.”
One thing is the spell-casting physicality, which consists mainly on very specific hand gesturing, and another is all the physical work that comes with a universe based on magic and mystic arts. As Cumberbatch puts it, “There’s all sorts of craziness. Falling, flying, jumping, fighting, punching, getting punched. It’s really rough and tumble.”
Among the images released by EW are some pieces of concept art, in which we get a glimpse at the Chamber of Relics, the psychedelic aesthetic of the movie, and a key moment in Strange’s story. First, the Chamber of Relics. Speculation around this piece of concept art has already begun, with some saying Marvel Studios has renamed the Sanctum Sanctorum – but in reality, the Chamber of Relics is most likely part of the Sanctorum. In it we can see Strange’s cape as well as other mystical artefacts.
When it comes to the aesthetic of the movie, Doctor Strange director of photography Ben Davis has said that the film will remain faithful to the comic books’ psychedelic vibe, promising an explosion of colours in what could be described as a visual trip. One of the pieces of art shared by EW gives us an idea of what we can expect (see below), in visual terms, from this project.
Kevin Feige, Marvel Studios president, shared the following.
“When this comic appeared in the early ’60s, it really informed, in a way that is pretty amazing, a lot of the psychedelic ’60s as we know it. I don’t know that they were doing anything weird in the bullpen in Marvel, but certainly the stuff they were doing inspired all those people who were doing mind-expansion experiments at the time. So, that’s inherent to the property. And that’s our mission statement for the visual effects on this movie.”
Doctor Strange will explore Stephen Strange’s journey from the beginning, meaning that we will get to see the accident that shattered his hands and gave way to his journey through the mystic arts. Marvel was very specific as to what they wanted for this movie and the actor to portray Stephen Strange – more so because the role demands not only a lot of physical work, but also emotional depth. Per Feige:
“[Benedict Cumberbatch] was someone that we were very interested in for a very long time. But he kept getting more popular, and more popular, and he kept getting busier, and busier, and it looked like the timing wasn’t going to work. So we looked at some other actors for a while and ultimately decided, ‘We have to try and make it work with Benedict and with his schedule’”.
Doctor Strange is a new field for director Scott Derrickson, best known for his work in the horror genre with movies such as The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Sinister, but so far he has proven to be the best choice to helm this project. First and foremost, Derrickson is a Doctor Strange fan himself, and shares he is “perpetually awestruck that I’m getting to make this movie.” He added: “I keep waiting for the knock on the door when somebody says, ‘This movie’s too weird, we can’t make this’.”
Fans can rest peacefully knowing that Doctor Strange is in the best hands, both behind and in front of the camera. Judging by these photos and pieces of concept art, it looks like Marvel is keeping as many details from the comic books as they can, but without them looking like they come from, well, a comic book.
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.
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