Marvel has identified Benedict Cumberbatch as the leading candidate to star in “Doctor Strange.”
The actor behind genre greats Khan, Smaug and Sherlock is in final talks for the role, sources confirmed Monday.
Rumored for a July 2016 release, the upcoming Marvel project is part of the studio’s phase three roster of comic book blockbusters and will be written and directed by Scott Derrickson (“Deliver Us From Evil,” “Sinister”).
The film will bring to the screen Stephen Vincent Strange, the former neurosurgeon turned Sorcerer Supreme who is the Marvel Universe’s greatest protector against magical peril – and one of his fellow superheroes’ most sought-after advisors.
First appearing in a Stan Lee-written and Steve Ditko-drawn story in “Strange Tales” No. 110 in 1963, the brilliant magician has fought such foes as the dread Dormammu of the Dark Dimension and the dream-powered Nightmare, all while sporting a red cape with a spectacularly high collar.
He has also been seen as a member of groups including the Defenders, New Avengers and Illuminati.
Marvel has teased a possible Doctor Strange project in its recent films “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “Thor: The Dark World.” In the former, an espionage agent being interrogated by Cap, Black Widow and Falcon mentions Stephen Strange in a list of potential threats to and targets of the evil terrorist organization Hydra. And in the “Thor” sequel, Dr. Selvig’s chalkboard references the Crossroads, an interdimensional nexus that features heavily in “Doctor Strange” stories in the comics.
Cumberbatch’s casting comes after rumors that Joaquin Phoenix was being considered for the part. The English actor is no stranger to genre roles, with credits including “Star Trek Into Darkness,” “The Hobbit” films and BBC’s hit series “Sherlock.”
What do you think about the casting? Let us know in the comments.
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