Everything You Need to Know About Marvel's Doctor Strange
What's His Story?
Doctor Strange was created in 1963 by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee as an experiment with a more magical, mystical kind of hero. Steve Ditko partially based Strange on an old 1930s radio broadcast called Chandu The Magician, but the Eastern mysticism that swept American during the 1960s was also a big influence. A lot of people, including The Beatles, were being introduced to things like the Bardo Thodol (the Tibetan Book of the Dead) and the concept of yogis and meditation. As for his fictional backstory, here's the official Marvel synopsis:
It's interesting that Nolan's Batman movies also had its protagonist retreat into the Himalayas to learn their superhero skills from a secret society in a hidden monastery.
What Superpowers Does He Have?
As we've seen from the trailers, Doctor Strange knows more than just neurosurgery—he knows kung-fu. And magic. We've yet to confirm the appearance of all of his magical artificts and powers, but so far the MCU's Strange will have access to his Cloak of Levitation, which allows him to fly, magical bolts of energy, astral projection, and the famous Eye of Agamotto, which, besides allowing him clairavoyance (scrying, for you D&D nerds), might actually be one of the Infinity Stones.
In his various incarnations, Strange has called upon a couple mystical entities for his magic, including ones with names like Cyttorak, Oshtur, and Watoomb. Adding to the slightly Lovecraftian undertones is his Book of the Vishanti, a grimoire that (unlike the Necronomicon) grants him knowledge of white magic.
Here's one trailer that shows Strange's powers and martial arts training in action:
Why Didn't Strange Intervene When The World Was Threatened By Ultron or Loki?
In an interview with Collider, Kevin Feige explained why the most powerful sorcerer in the cosmos and his cohort of magicians aren't jumping in to fight alien invasions and robot battles alongside other Marvel heroes:
It's always hard to balance the stakes of different heroes, especially when someone like The Flash is stopping a bank robber and someone like Strange is defending our whole dimension from evil cosmic entities. Heroes with smaller stakes end up seeming kind of irrelevant, and once you're fighting reality-eating villains, the chance for fun and humor kind of drops off.
Still, the new movie seems to focus more on one man's rehabilitation and rise to become a superhero—something considerably more concrete and familiar. Dealing with weird, fringe stuff might actually be more interesting and mind-bending that the Hulk punching Tony Stark's Hulkbuster for 6 straight minutes.
How Is Benedict Cumberbatch in the Role?
Cumberbatch is not only an extremely talented actor, he's been one of the top choices for fans from the start. In fact, the studio was so convinced he was the perfect actor for the role, they moved the entire production schedule for him, which is a very unusual move in Hollywood. And test audience supposedly love him, so hopefully we're in for another Robert Downey Jr.-level match made in heaven.
Will This Be the Weirdest Marvel Movie Yet?
From everything we've seen, Doctor Strange will be entirely different from what we've seen before. It's been described as "psychedelic" and maybe Marvel's first horror movie, with Scott Derrickson going so far as to call it "Marvel's Fantasia."
Is He Going to Be in Avengers: Infinity War?
Oh yes he is.