I believe you have another box office hit on your hands.
Am I wrong? Let’s take a look at the top ten box office hits the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has had (as of 2016):
Marvel’s: The Avengers (2012)
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Iron Man 3 (2013)
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Spider-Man 3 (2007)
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
Iron Man (2008)
…And this is only the top 10; the list successfully goes on. These films rake in hundreds of millions of dollars each time; they have had, and continue to have, staying power. Not only has the MCU established itself as a top box office performer, it is also widely praised amongst critics and viewers alike.
Not to throw in a hint of negative, but DC has yet to pick up the trusted enjoyable steam that the MCU seems to be able to deliver with each film release.
Will Doctor Strange fair just as well? If you are new to this particular comic, let’s see if I can give a quick synopsis and hit all of the important parts to know. Ready?
Doctor Strange, birth name Stephen Strange – was born on a Nebraska farm, and has a younger sister named Debra and a younger brother named Victor. A resentful apprentice sorcerer (Baron Karl Mordo) basically knew that Stephen was destined to be at the top of the food chain via his sorcery skills. So, Mordo does some witchy stuff and pretty much curses Stephen because jealous people are a-holes. The good doctor is essentially rescued by Mordo’s master the Ancient One (more on that later). Fast forward some years, Stephen helps an injured sister (Donna) and takes an interest in medicine. Stephen gains rapid success, becomes arrogant, and of course, more terrible things happen; a car accident, nerve damage in his hands, and a rock bottom later, the doctor hears about the Ancient One who may be able to help him.
This is where I leave you as I 1) Don’t want to spoil anything huge for you, and 2) Am not sure how close the writers stayed to the comic book version of Doctor Strange.
Without further ado, let’s get into some fun facts about the upcoming film! Doctor Strange is slated to be released on: November 4, 2016.
16. Doctor Strange Has Been In Development Since 1986
Yes. You read that correctly. 1986. For some reason all I can envision right now when I think of the 80s is Marty McFly and the DeLorean. Maybe that’s because the writer of the pre-production version of this film was Bob Gale, the same writer of the Back to the Future series.
So originally, this film has been a thought for thirty years. For whatever reason the Bob Gale script fell through and by 1989, Alex Cox (Repo Man, 1984) and Stan Lee had co-written a script. Their version was almost made by Regency Films, however, Regency was owned by Warner Brothers (WB), and Marvel and WB were in dispute over merchandising.
15. Benedict Cumberbatch States The Spiritualism Of Doctor Strange Appeals To Him Most
He went on record saying: “I’m very excited about that spiritual dimension. It’s something that’s been a huge part of my life. I meditate a lot, that’s a huge tool in trying to calm myself, get away from the crazy circus of it all, have a focused mind as well as be a kinder, considerate person in the world.”
Shout out to Benedict for enjoying meditation! I have to agree with him, meditation is a very soothing way to deal with the craziness that is our daily lives.
14. There Is A Slim Chance Scarlet Witch Will Make An Appearance
If they are to keep to the comic book version, Scarlet Witch would serve under Strange as his apprentice/pupil. I honestly hope they do keep to the comic book version for this. I love Scarlet Witch. She actually ended up being one my favorite Avenger. It makes sense; she is insanely powerful, as is Strange. It also makes my inner nerd scream with joy when I see the superheroes cross over into other MCU films. It helps bring a cohesive flow to the films, making them all feel linked. I am newbie to the comic-verse, but I am sure the connection is a very good thing, and will help the Marvel movies continue to dominate the box office.
13. Morgan Freeman, Ken Watanbe, And Bill Nighy Were Considered For The Voice Of The Ancient One
Morgan Freeman has the voice. Don’t get me wrong, I think Ken Watanbe (Inception) and Bill Nighy (Pirates of the Caribbean) are also great choices, but when I think voice over work, Morgan Freeman for sure takes the lead.
In case you were not in the know, the Ancient One was born Yao in the 1430s. Also known as “the youth”, he was a peaceful farmer who came across another villager by the name of Kaluu. While the youth wanted to use magic to help the village and his people, Kaluu wanted power; he wanted to create an army. After the youth was essentially screwed over by Kaluu, he sought out the Ancient Ones to devote his life to, and attain his goal of defeating evil sorcerers and obviously became more powerful than them.
12. In The Comics, The Ancient One Is An Old Man; In The Film The Ancient One Is Played By A Woman
Speaking of the Ancient One… The director of Doctor Strange, Scott Derrickson, deliberately made this decision. He felt the Ancient One was a title rather than a person. I think this is an interesting call. I know in previous movies, or in any movie that has a very strong fan base, switching appearances, genders, etc. is almost a beacon to be burned at the stake. I totally get it, we envision these characters we love a certain way, so when a vision we have had and have grown to love gets skewed, we are bound to be emotional.
With that said, I don’t believe this decision will anger too many people. It is 2016, right? And who better to play the most powerful of all sorcerers than a woman?
11. Doctor Strange Will Be The Fourteenth Film Released By Marvel Studios
The MCU has found its footing in releasing great action packed movies (my heart holds a very special place for Joss Whedon and what he did for the Avengers… and hello, Buffy anyone?). Fourteen films. I can only imagine that many years ago, it was just a kid with a dream of creating these beings with powers and wholly not expecting it to be where it is today.
10. Doctor Strange’s Appearance Is Based On Vincent Prince
Do you know who Vincent Price is? The work he’s done that stands out the most to me is the original House on Haunted Hill (1959). Well anyway, Stan Lee and Steve Ditko (the creators of Strange) based Strange’s appearance on the Hollywood actor. In fact, the character even bears the middle name of Vincent. Pretty cool history lesson, huh?
9. Benedict Cumberbatch Made An Appearance At A Comic Book Store
Okay, so maybe not an official appearance, but he did go to a comic book store in costume and bought an actual Doctor Strange comic book. Could you imagine being the person working that day? Snapchat material for sure. I have been in a lot of comic book stores, and that by far would be one of the coolest experiences I think anyone could have.
8. Fantasia (1940) Is A Visual Influence For The Film
According to cinematographer Ben Davies (Avengers: Age of Ultron), the Disney film was influential in the direction he wanted to take Strange. He states: “It has a very psychedelic grounding, and most of the work is about other dimensions.”
Having sat through Fantasia a number of times, I am excited to see the visual effects on screen. I know with action packed superhero movies, there is a ton of CG, so what I hope to see is an equal balance of this psychedelic world and no overkill of our technological advances.
7. Benedict Cumberbatch Is The Fifth Sherlock Holmes Actor To Appear In A Marvel Feature
Okay so let’s break down a list of Holmes to the MCU:
Christopher Lee played Sherlock in Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady (1991); he was also the enemy (Miguel) in Captain America II: Death too Soon (1979)
Jeremy Brett played Sherlock in The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1984) and was also in an episode of The Incredible Hulk (1978)
Robert Downey, Jr. played Sherlock in the Guy Ritchie film series, and appeared as Tony Stark/Iron Man (which we of course already know)
Ian McKellen played Sherlock in Mr. Holmes (2015), and appeared as Erik Lensherr/Magneto in the X-Men series
I knew of 3 of the 4 (excluding Benedict Cumberbatch) actors to play both Holmes and in Marvel features. Does being a good old school detective mean you would rock being a superhero? Personally, I’m excited to see what Benedict can do. I think it’s going to be really good.
6. Doctor Strange Had Two Failed Attempts At An Adaptation
Those two films were Doctor Mordrid (1992) and The Illusionist (2006). I have never seen Mordrid, but I have seen The lllusionist, and I thoroughly enjoyed the film. I didn’t know until recently that they were adaptations at all. It seems to be a cycle of what works to what doesn’t work; but I think that’s cinematic history as a whole. I doubt that much from either of these films will make its way to the 2016 greenlit version.
5. Benedict Cumberbatch And Rachel McAdams Played Romantically Linked Characters
In different franchises, though. Benedict, as we covered earlier, played Sherlock Holmes on the modernized BBC series while Rachel McAdams played Irene Adler in the period films alongside no other than our current favorite Iron Man, Robert Downey, Jr.
Christine Palmer aka Night Nurse is one of three roommates to stem from the “Night Nurse” comics. She left her home in the Midwestern suburbs against her father’s wishes intending to make a new life without the family money. Christine ends up working for a Dr. Sutton, whose career ends in disaster. She then takes up a short lived position in a creepy mansion before returning to Metropolitan General Hospital where she first encounters some X-Men.
4. Other Actors Were In Consideration To Play Baron Karl Mordo…
…before Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) was cast to play this character, Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight Rises) and Mads Mikkelson (Hannibal TV series) were in consideration.
We touched up a little bit on Mordo earlier, so let’s refresh. He is a former student of the Ancient One, in the comics is a “supervillian”, and has a jealousy streak so to speak. However, Ejiofor was noted saying that Mordo is “very ambiguous” and “a very complex character that, really, I don’t think can be nailed down either way.” He also adds that Mordo sees a lot of skill in Strange and things get… complicated.
3. Mads Mikkelsen Is The Third Hannibal Lector To Appear In A Marvel Film
First there was Brian Cox (William Stryker in X-Men 2; 2003) and then there was Anthony Hopkins (Odin in the Thor films).
So, although Mads Mikkelsen didn’t win the role of Mordo, he still made his way into the film. He will be playing Kaecilius; one of the Masters of the Mystic Arts who has his own thoughts about the Ancient One’s intentions. He’s not technically a “bad guy”, but does believe in something other than the typical hero.
2. The Amulet Strange Wears Was Inspired By Buddhists
For the design of the Eye of Agamotto (the amulet Strange wears), creator of the doctor, Steve Dikto, drew inspiration from Budhha’s “The All Seeing Eye”. Essentially it’s a Nepali symbol to ward off evil from whoever wears it.
The Eye is one of the most powerful mystic conduits in the Earth dimension. I’m intrigued to see what this amulet can do. Since this is kind of a big deal, I can only presume that Strange will be fighting off boat loads of the witchy kind to keep it safe. For those of you who have read the comics and know, I hope the film lives up to your expectations.
1. Doctor Strange Is Chapter Two Of Phase Three In The MCU
Phase One being the first set of movies that introduce the universe in which the films are set, as well as the central characters: Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye and of course, Nick Fury. Phase One also brought us the organizations S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA. This is the same phase that focused on the Tesseract and Infinity Stones (Remember Loki and Thanos trying to steal it for themselves?)
Phase Two focuses on post-battle New York, exploiting the Avengers and bringing new characters such as Falcon, Quicksilver, Ant-Man and Vision; along with the Guardians of the Galaxy squad. In Phase Two we also learn more about the Winter Soldier and that HYDRA had been operating within S.H.I.E.L.D. (boo). Oh yeah, and let’s not forget about that punk, Ultron.
This brings us up to speed for Phase Three; which is now focusing on a post Ultron attack and the now widely divided human opinion about what superheroes are really bringing to planet Earth. In the midst of the Avengers’ fragmented team, some new characters are brought to the forefront, like: Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Wasp, and Captain Marvel. Phase Three also hints at a close to the Infinity Stones drama that started in Phase One.
Hopefully this little run down helps you understand where we are at exactly in the MCU currently with Doctor Strange set for release in just a number of months.
We want to know, are you just as excited about this upcoming film and what it will bring to the Marvel franchise?