Marvel Studios today released a first official look at Benedict Cumberbatch in costume as Doctor Strange for the upcoming film. The costume seems to a huge amount of inspiration from creator Steve Ditko’s original comic book costume design, while toning things down in just the right places to make the costume look believable on screen. Let’s take a closer look to see exactly what they’ve tweaked and what they’ve kept accurate.
By the Hairy Hosts of Hoggoth
Let’s take it from the top, with Cumberbatch’s head hair and facial hair. I’d venture to say that this is the boldest comics to screen hair adaptation that Marvel Studios has pulled off yet, but it’s still a bit toned down.
Strange, like Tony Stark, had a defining moustache in the comics, but, like with Tony Stark, Marvel Studios has “modernized” the look to be a goatee instead. While I would have preferred a moustache, I do understand that Marvel doesn’t want their hero to look like Vincent Price.
Strange’s hair is usually slicked back in the comics, but they’ve chosen o tussle it a bit, avoiding any unintentional creepiness. Cumberbatch does maintain the character’s signatures streaks of grey along the side of his head.
Cloak of Levitation
Let’s take a look at the cape. This is, presumably, Strange’s Cloak of Levitation. It does pretty much exactly what you’d expect, with some other minor spells woven into it. Where the cloak usually simply allows the wearer to levitate, the current Doctor Strange comic book series shows the cloak moving freely, and being used as a kind of magic carpet.
The cloak has gone through a few modifications over the years, depending on which artist is drawing it. I’m pleasantly surprised that the film decided to go with the classic, high-collared look of the cloak, rather than Chris Bachalo’s current design, which looks more like a shawl. The collar is not as high or horned as the most popular designs, and the gold embroidery that often adorns it seems to have been kept to a minimum.
There seems to be a kind of checkerboard pattern on the inside of the cloak as well, which I believe is a new addition to the cloak’s look.
The Eye of Agamotto
The item hanging around Strange’s neck is the Eye of Agamotto, a powerful mystical artifact in the Marvel Comics universe. The amulet itself is just a casing, with the Eye hidden inside. You can see the Eye in the open design of the amulet on Cumberbatch’s costume, and it sure looks like an Infinity Stone to me. The idea that such a powerful mystical artifact would be a stone of cosmic power raises some questions about the nature of magic in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The eye is usually positioned as a clasp for the Cloak of Levitation, but it dropped down a bit on the Cumberbatch costume to look a bit more conventional.
Odds and ends.
Strange’s tunic is colored an appropriate blue, though it lacks the lightened pattern that is seen on most of Strange’s comic book designs, opting for a more layered look instead.
Strange has some serious belt action going on here as well. I don’t really have an explanation for this other than the designers thought it would probably look weird for Strange to be wearing all this mystical, flowing gear and then a plain black belt he picked up at Kohl’s, so they went with something that looks a bit more medieval.
Lastly, there’s the arcane symbol that coming from Strange’s hand. Strange’s mystical abilities have been portrayed in many different ways in the comics. This version seems to be drawing on mystical runes, though it should be noted that Cumberbatch said they haven’t actually filmed any of the scenes involving his arcane gestures. This symbol could just be something thrown together for the EW shoot, and not a final mockup.