Benedict Cumberbatch Will Spend Part of Doctor Strange in the Astral Plane

Benedict Cumberbatch has been rather busy portraying Alan Turing to properly give any intel on his casting as Marvel’s Doctor Strange. Now, the Wall Street Journal has gotten him to talk a teeny bit about getting into character to play the Supreme Sorcerer, with some hints to the movie’s more magical elements and how they play into the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole.

First off, the WSJ asked Cumberbatch if he thought playing Doctor Strange would be a “risk” so soon after his Oscar buzz-garnering turn as Alan Turing… perhaps forgetting that Cumberbatch has spent years sliding between roles like Sherlock Holmes and Smaug, Frankenstein/the Creature and Richard III. Cumberbatch responded:

I don’t think it’s a risk because of Marvel. Marvel is a stable of bringing out ordinary comic characters and turning them into screen-like gods. It’s very different, it’s an Astral Plane. There’s a huge new element to this Marvel universe that’s going to be employed in building this story and this character. But you know, I’m really excited about it, about working with Scott [Derrickson] whose imagination is endless, and all the boys and girls at Marvel who know what they’re doing. I’ve got a few things to get under my belt first.

That includes shooting the Sherlock Christmas special (yesss) and reading up on all of the old Doctor Strange comics. But what about that “huge new element”? We’re assuming he’s talking about magic, especially with his mention of the Astral Plane. Since Doctor Strange seems to be the only MCU character who can practice astral projection, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Astral Plane becomes a bit of a narrative deus ex machina: Strange zips all around filling in the Guardians of the Galaxy on the Avengers’ doings and vice versa, and making sure everyone knows about Thanos’ growing jewelry collection.

The WSJ also asked if the movie would see Stephen Strange travel to the Himalayas to learn magic from the Ancient One, but Cumberbatch wouldn’t even give a hint:

Ahh… you’ll have to wait and see. I’m not going to be eked out on any spoilers or reveals now. It’s quite a way off but I’m very excited about that spiritual dimension, obviously. It’s something that’s been a huge part of my life.

According to a rumor from a few months ago, Doctor Strange will not be an origin story and will start with Stephen Strange already established as the Sorcerer Supreme. So, there may not even be a Himalayas training sequence to spoil.

Doctor Strange comes out November 4, 2016—plenty of time for more tidbits from Cumberbatch and (hopefully soon) some concrete plot details.


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