In some respects, the transition of the Marvel Cinematic Universe into its next phase puts audiences at something of a crossroads. It could be argued that the ‘old’ titles, such as Captain America and Avengers, are now more heavily reliant on brand loyalty – having so successfully built that brand with previous movies – while the ground is being prepared for the arrival of ‘new’ titles, such as Black Panther and Captain Marvel. Ant Man was one of the first of those ‘new’ titles, and was well received earlier this year, but with that movie checked off the list, all eyes are now on Doctor Strange, which is set to begin production in November 2015.
Little has been revealed about the film, beyond the casting of Benedict Cumberbatch in the title role, Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Baron Mordo, and Rachel McAdams as an undisclosed character. We also know that Scott Derrickson (The Day The Earth Stood Still, Sinister) is directing, from a script written by Jon Spaihts (Prometheus), along with Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer (Conan The Barbarian).
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When Marvel legend Kevin Feige recently discussed the Doctor Strange project, therefore, many of comments proved to be quite revealing. First and foremost came confirmation of an origin-based plotline.
“For some reason, people sometimes talked about how we’re not doing an origin story – [that] we’re bored of origin stories. I think people are bored of origin stories they’ve seen before, or origin stories that are overly familiar. Doctor Strange has one of the best, most classic, most unique origin stories of any hero we have – so why wouldn’t we do that?”
It is heartening to know that the person calling the shots at Marvel is attuned to the fact that some superhero origin stories have been done to death, so to speak. For example, how many times do we need to see Peter Parker get bitten by a spider? There is nothing new to see there whatsoever. Having a great character debut on the big screen, however, can break new ground in terms of origin depiction.