The Marvel Cinematic Universe is knee-deep into Phase 4, and the focus now has shifted from its original pantheon of grounded heroes, like Captain America (Chris Evans) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), to instead embrace the weirder and more out-there characters such as Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), who explore different streams of reality, magic, and mysticism.
After the massive success of “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” no movie embodies this new paradigm better than the upcoming “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” coming to theaters just a few months from now.
As a sequel to the 2016 movie that introduced the titular sorcerer to the world, the movie will take a deeper plunge into the space and time continuum than Marvel ever has before, while furthering threads that have been explored not just in the last “Spider-Man” movie, but also Disney+ shows like “Loki” and “WandaVision.”
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Clearly, the movie is something of a linchpin for Phase 4 as a whole — but recent comments made by Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige have made the weight of this newest Doctor Strange adventure even more apparent.
Feige called Doctor Strange the “anchor” of the MCU
Recently, Benedict Cumberbatch — famous not just for his Marvel character, but also for roles in properties like “The Imitation Game” and “Power of the Dog” — was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The event was livestreamed by Variety, and the star was presented to the actor by two major cinematic figures who have worked with him in the past — J.J. Abrams and Kevin Feige.
Momentous as the occasion was, what stole the spotlight for Marvel fans was, arguably, Feige’s praise of Cumberbatch’s Strange — where he revealed that it was the actor, not Marvel, who first pitched himself for the role of the iconic Marvel magic user.
“I remember our very first meeting was set up as a general, and we wanted to pitch him this great character, and before we could, he said ‘So tell me about Doctor Strange,’ because [Benedict] knew,” Feige said. “Because somewhere [Benedict] knew what this could be and [he’s] always seen the tremendous potential in this character.”
Intriguing as this is, Feige went even further in highlighting Cumberbatch’s importance not just to the MCU’s past, but also the franchise’s future, stating that, “You’ve become the anchor of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the only actor capable of guiding us through the madness of the multiverse.”
High praise, indeed. And with Feige’s faith in Cumberbatch’s strength as Doctor Strange, the expectations from the upcoming movie have only increased. “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” arrives in theaters on May 6.