By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggath! If you even remotely recognize this statement, you may be familiar with Marvel’s biggest practitioner of the mystic arts, Dr. Strange. Dr. Stephen Strange is currently the Sorcerer Supreme of the Marvel Universe and ruminations have been coming in hard and fast about the good doctor in relation to the Marvel movie landscape. It would seem at this point, with rumors ranging from Marvel bringing in Johnny Depp to discuss the character to Marvel studios looking at various directors to helm the project, that it’s not a question of if Strange will find himself joining the ranks of the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy, but when! Don’t know much about the Master of the Mystic arts? Well strap on your Eye of Agamotto and dig out your Wand of Watoomb from the closet, because Collider has you covered. Hit the jump for our look at Dr. Strange.
In a many ways, Stephen Strange is a lot like Tony Stark, aside from the facial hair of course. First appearing, ironically enough, in Strange Tales #110, creators Stan Lee and Steve Ditko set to create a superhero who dabbled with forces that most heroes couldn’t even dream of, as well as someone whose original stock in himself dwarfed that of the boisterous Stark. Strange started as a talented surgeon, using his hands to save lives and, most importantly to him, turn a profit. One night, in a car accident, Strange shattered his hands beyond repair (How ironic!) and retreated into a drunken stupor. One night later in a bar, he hears of an ancient mystic named, appropriately enough, the Ancient One. Believing that the Ancient One could permanently repair his hands, Strange left the bar, pawned his remaining possessions and cheesed it to Tibet in search of the man who could cure him.
After travelling up the side of a mountain and nearly dying numerous times, Strange encountered the Ancient One, who decided that Strange should be banished from his sight for his haughtiness. Upon exiting, Stephen learnt that the Ancient One’s apprentice, Mordu (who will most likely act as one of the antagonists for the movie), was planning to kill the Ancient One and become the Sorcerer Supreme. Strange attempted to warn the Ancient One of the backstabbing, but was stopped by Mordu, which caused Strange to learn the mystic arts for himself and battle the apprentice. With Mordu beaten, Dr. Strange became a pupil of the Ancient One and upon his death, was elevated to Sorcerer Supreme and protector of the world against magical threats.
By the Vapors of Valtorr!
So I bet you’re asking yourself, “Sorcerer Supreme huh? What can he do?” Let me tell you, even I don’t know that question entirely! Magic’s always kind of a tricky thing to pin down in any medium, but it’s especially confusing when it comes to the Marvel Universe. For the most part, Dr. Strange can do whatever the story dictates him to do. He can journey through space with a corporeal version of himself on the Astral Plane. He can trap his enemies using the Crimson Bands of Cytorrak. He can fire beams of magical energy while seeing the truths of the universe using the Eye of Agamatto, a mystical device Strange wears around his neck. Strange can also fly, of course, and sometimes can use some of the more dangerous items in his possession to get into a fist fight with the Hulk (see “World War Hulk”, it’s great).
At his core though, Strange is a story of a man dealing with his own hubris and, much like Iron Man, gains a huge power with which he must be held responsible. Unlike Tony Stark though, who can take off the suit whenever he wants and stop being Iron Man, Strange must be the Sorcerer Supreme 24/7 as earth is constantly assaulted by dimensional threats such as the Dread Dormammu (a ruler of another realm whose head happens to be on fire), Nightmare, and Shuma Gorath. When Dr. Strange finally makes his big screen debut, expect to see a lot of spectacle as all the magic of the Marvel Universe is put on display.
The Doctor Is In
Dr. Strange represents a bold new era of Marvel films, in so much as we haven’t really had a lot of experience looking into the magical side of the Avengers-lore. In the comics, “Thor” is actually steeped in the supernatural and most everything that takes place happens to be swarming with magic. However, as we’ve seen in the movies, Asgard is explained as being a society wherein “magic” is actually a highly evolved super science, which to the common man, makes them gods. Now, we have yet to see whether or not Dr. Strange will actually be a practitioner of actual magic or will be granted knowledge on the same kind of super science that Thor is privy to, but I’m leaning more toward the former. The Marvel Universe has a rich tapestry of both heroes and villains from which they can start calling upon with the introduction of Dr. Strange and it will be great to start seeing all that on the big screen.
So who should play the good Doctor? Well there’s a reason why people keep gravitating toward Johnny Depp as a possibility. Dr. Strange is a character who deals with things on a daily basis that we couldn’t even imagine, so he’s bound to be at least a little…quirky. To play Dr. Strange, you need someone who’s stalwart but can also come across as other-worldly and detached from the constraints of society. We’re talking about a guy who journeys to other dimensions on a nearly hourly basis here. I think that so far, Marvel Studios has had a great track record of casting appropriate actors for their roles as nearly all of them have really stepped up and taken control of their characters. Regardless of whenever he becomes a part of the Avengers universe, I’m looking forward to seeing Strange on the big screen.