Not much is known about Marvel's upcoming Doctor Strange movie, which, when it opens in November 2016 will be the first new franchise of Marvel's phase 3, kicking off with the May release of Captain America: Civil War. What little information there is floating around came largely from Disney's D23 expo in August, where concept art for the film was first released.
The artwork has seen Strange compared to Inception and it's been described visually as "Marvel's Fantasia." Although plot details and visuals have been scarce, we know that the film has slowly been acquiring an all-star cast. Academy Award-nominee Benedict Cumberbatch will take on the role of Doctor Stephen Strange, while fellow Academy Award-nominee Chiwetel Ejiofor appears in the role of Baron Mordo. Rounding out the cast so far is Academy Award-winner Tilda Swinton, who will play The Ancient One.
Ejiofor's character Baron Mordo is a former student of the Ancient One, who has a problem with Strange. How exactly that will play out remains to be seen, but Ejiofor, who had been courted by Marvel for Strange since January, finally spoke about the film, while he was promoting the indie apocalypse drama Z for Zachariah. In what has become a tradition of only providing small details about Doctor Strange, Ejiofor had this to say:
“I am doing Doctor Strange, and I’m incredibly excited about it. That’s all I say," he said to EW during a recent interview. He went on to mention that Cumberbatch, who he co-starred with in 12 Years a Slave is, "a good friend of mine..so, it’s gonna be fun. And Tilda Swinton — I haven’t worked with her, but I’m excited to work with her. She’s brilliant.” It's exciting to hear Ejiofor acknowledge that he does indeed have a role in Doctor Strange, since the cast has been so tight-lipped until recently.
Doctor Strange's origin story is set to expand the Marvel Universe by stretching out into the magical and mystical realms of the MCU. In the same way that Ant-Man dove into the Quantum Realm and Guardians of the Galaxy showed off the MCU's extraterrestrial worlds, Strange will push even further outside of reality.
If it didn't sound trippy and mesmerizing enough, cinematographer Ben Davis called artist M.C. Escher one of the biggest influences for the film's design, as well as calling it "different to everything else that [Marvel's] done." Added to the fact that Ejiofor and Cumberbatch have previously done some tremendous work together, Doctor Strange is setting up some very high expectations for the studio. As of this summer, Ant-Man has carried the descriptor of Marvel's weirdest film to date. So what do you think? Can Marvel make the movie Doctor Strange sounds like it wants to be? Or will the Marvel formula keep it from getting too weird?
Ant-Man is now playing in theaters; Captain America: Civil War opens May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange on November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 on May 5, 2017; Spider-Man reboot on July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok on November 3, 2017; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 on May 4, 2018; Black Panther on July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel on November 2, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 on May 3, 2019; and Inhumans on July 12, 2019.