Our long national (universal? Marvel Cinematic Universal?) nightmare is finally over, as the MCU has finally locked down a glittery, magical superstar to play their disgraced daughter/sorcerer prince on the big screen. And, little surprise here, it’s Benedict Cumberbatch, who has been rumored for the part for some weeks now.
Well, he was rumored for the part after seemingly everyone else in Hollywood was rumored for it, too.
Back in the summer of 2013, Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who has already appeared in the DC universe, and might still pop up in their Vertigo outcropping as Sandman) was rumored for the role. Nearly a year later, Joaquin Phoenix appeared to be the frontrunner, with plenty of outlets and fans buzzing that Marvel would announce his casting during their Comic-Con presentation in July. That didn’t happen (and then it really didn’t happen). Since then, a veritable cornucopia of names have been loosely attached to the role, from Ethan Hawke to Jared Leto to Matthew McConaughey to Oscar Isaac. Eventually, Cumberbatch emerged as the frontrunner—which, as Hollywood’s current favorite It guy, appears to be his God-given right—though it’s taken some time for his attachment to become official. Honestly, we had nearly forgotten that the guy hadn’t signed on already.
Marvel announced the news in uncharacteristically subdued fashion—there were no screaming fans here, no rattling Comic-Con eaves, not even a star-packed appearance at a charming Los Angeles theater—just a press release posted on Marvel.com. Can’t you just feel the excitement radiating off of this thing?
The release shares (perhaps mystically, it is hard to tell when it comes to these things):
“Benedict Cumberbatch has entered the world of the mystic arts.
The actor will star in Marvel’s Doctor Strange, scheduled to hit theaters November 4, 2016. The film, directed by Scott Derrickson with Jon Spaihts writing the screenplay, will follow the story of neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange who, after a horrific car accident, discovers the hidden world of magic and alternate dimensions.
‘Stephen Strange’s story requires an actor capable of great depth and sincerity,’ said Producer Kevin Feige. ‘In 2016, Benedict will show audiences what makes Doctor Strange such a unique and compelling character.’
With Doctor Strange, Cumberbatch is just the latest actor to join the bold Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, introducing new heroes and continuing the adventures of fan favorites across multiple films.”
The details of Cumberbatch’s contract—including which other MCU films he might appear in—were not disclosed, but Marvel stars are traditionally signed to multi-picture deals, so he’ll likely pop up (perhaps in a post-credits scene?) before his debut. A good bet? We will see him at some point, or he’ll least be alluded to, in Captain America: Civil War, which opens in May of 2016. After that? The sky is the limit! Maybe he’ll go to space for Guardians Of The Galaxy 2, or perhaps his magical abilities will prove necessary in Black Panther or Captain Marvel. If nothing else, he’s got some serious Tumblr magic to sprinkle over the MCU.