Next May, Captain America: Civil War kicks off Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, bringing back a bunch of familiar faces - Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, Falcon, Bucky, etc. Following in November is Doctor Strange, and as its name suggests, the film will move the MCU away from familiar territory filled with the Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and introduce something stranger - Marvel's mystical realm.
The titular Doctor Stephen Strange will be played by Benedict Cumberbatch, Strange's mentor, The Ancient One by Tilda Swinton, and Chiwetel Ejiofor will play the film's villain and Strange's nemesis, Baron Mordo. All that's needed now to round out the primary cast is an actress to play Strange's love interest, as it'd be very unlike a superhero film - and especially a Marvel movie - to be without one.
Earlier this month we reported on rumors that Marvel was looking to Rachel McAdams for Doctor Strange's unspecified female lead and the actress remains a frontrunner for the role. Recently, McAdams has been making the rounds on the interview circuit to promote her work in Southpaw and True Detective season 2, but any interview is a chance to ask whether or not she's in talks for Doctor Strange.
Speaking with Den of Geek, McAdams dodged their inquiry into whether or not she's "getting involved" with Marvel, saying:
"I don’t have much to say about it right now. There’s not really anything to comment on. But, if there is, I’ll let you know."
Yet, when she spoke with the L.A. Times, she seemed more clear about there having been talks with Marvel about appearing in Doctor Strange, but says:
"...it's still super-early days, and I don't know where that's gonna go, if it's gonna go anywhere at all."
Obviously, McAdams is a pro at this game of obfuscation that all actors considered for roles in a major franchise are so adept at. But with filming on Doctor Strange expected to begin this fall, whether it's McAdams or not, we'll know who's appearing opposite Cumberbatch shortly. And perhaps, once the actress is confirmed, we'll also learn the identity of her role.
As of now there's been no official word on just who McAdams or whomever they cast would be playing. The most obvious choice for a female lead opposite Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange is Clea, mistress of the Dark Dimension as well as Strange's pupil and lover. She is a character with very strong connections to the mystic arts, being non-human herself and the niece of Dormammu, a perennial foe of Strange's.
Yet, her introduction may involve a larger leap into the magical realm and the Dark Dimension specifically than Marvel would be willing to take for their first Doctor Strange film. A sequel appearance may be more likely for Clea, leaving it to a less significant character to play Strange's love interest at first. Then again, Marvel could also remove the more mystical elements of Clea's character and make her merely human, allowing for Strange to be her gateway to the magic arts (and better fit within the Marvel model for female partners to their male heroes).
What do think of Rachel McAdams as either Clea or another love interest of Doctor Strange? If the role is indeed Clea, will she retain her non-human heritage within the MCU? Let us hear from you in the comments below!
Captain America: Civil War – May 6, 2016; Doctor Strange– November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man reboot – July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Black Panther – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – November 2, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019.