Marvel's newest film Doctor Strange will be out in theatres in less than two months, but it largely remains wrapped in mystery.
Although director Scott Derrickson and Marvel Studios executive Kevin Feige have both dropped details here and there, most of the plot, several cast members, and how the movie ties into the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe is still a mystery.
What we do know is that Doctor Strange will be an origin movie and will introduce viewers to the magic side of Marvel.
We also know that the movie will involve alternate universes and possibly give the next big clue about the elusive Infinity Stones sought by Thanos and other cosmic powers.
Here's a rundown of everything we know about Doctor Strange so far. With the possible exception of the "rumors" slide, this feature will steer clear of possible spoilers, so don't be afraid to dive right in!
The Core Cast
Obviously, the star of Doctor Strange is Benedict Cumberbatch, best known for his roles in Sherlock, The Hobbit, and Star Trek Into Darkness.
Cumberbatch plays the title character, a brilliant but arrogant surgeon whose hands are injured in a car accident. After exhausting all traditional methods, Strange embarks on a journey that crosses into the magical realm.
Strange will learn magic from three teachers: the Ancient One (played by Tilda Swinton), Wong (played by Benedict Wong) and Baron Mordo (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor). The Ancient One was Strange's mentor in the comics, but was an elderly Tibetan man instead of a middle-aged white woman. Marvel Studios cast Swinton in the role due to concerns over stereotyping, and instead made the Ancient One a "title" held by many people instead of a single person.
Both Wong and Baron Mordo also underwent major changes for the movie. Wong was Strange's manservant in the comics, but will act as Strange's "drill sergeant" during his mystic studies in the movie. Baron Mordo's role in the movie is a little more vague. While Mordo is one of Strange's enemies in the comics, he's portrayed as another one of Strange's mentors and is even shown fighting alongside him at one point. Derrickson has hinted that Strange and Mordo have a complex relationship, so we might see the beginning of Mordo's turn to darkness in the movie.
Not all of the movie's cast has ties to the magic world. Rachel McAdams is the female lead of Doctor Strange and will play lesser known Marvel character Christine Palmer. Palmer was one of the stars of Night Nurse, a Marvel comic from the 1970s. While Palmer was a nurse in the comics, she'll be one of Strange's former surgical colleagues.
Magic in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
Doctor Strange will be the Marvel Cinematic Universe's first real introduction to magic.
While Thor and The Avengers explained the mystical elements of Asgard as complex super-science, Doctor Strange's magic is just that...magic.
In a recent interview Derrickson said he was proud that magic was just magic in the film. "We're not trying to explain it away, and give it scientific understandability," Derrickson told CinemaBlend. "It's magic, and that's what good magic does."
We know that several important elements of Marvel's magic will crossover into the movie, including the Astral Plane, a spiritual realm that Strange's spirit can travel through, albeit at the cost of leaving his body vulnerable. Marvel has also teased that Marvel will explore alternate dimensions in the movie, which could include the realms occupied by many of Strange's enemies.
Promo images has also shown several of Strange's classic magical tools, including the Cloak of Levitation and the Eye of Agamotto. The Cloak of Levitation will help Strange fly, while the Eye is described as a tool that manipulates probabilities and time.
What we don't know is whether any of Strange's classic incantations will make appearances in the film. Strange used to use spells powered by ancient deities like Cytorrak, Hoggoth, and the Vishanti. We haven't seen any evidence of that in the trailers so far, so that aspect of Marvel's magic might not have made the cut in the movie.
We knew that Mads Mikkelsen would be playing the villain of Doctor Strange, but his character's identity remained under wraps for months.
Thanks to a leaked toy, we learned over the summer that Mikkelsen would portray Kaecilius, one of Strange's more obscure villains. In the comics, Kaecilius was a lackey for Baron Mordo, acting as his voice and occasionally fighting Strange on Mordo's behalf.
We don't know much about Kaecilius's movitvations, other than he broke away from the other Masters of the Mystic Arts to form a rival group of Zealots. Derrickson has hinted that Kaecilius might have help from beyond. In an interview at ComicCon, Derrickson said that Kaecilius was a way for the movie to introduce characters from other dimensions, a tease that Kaecilius might have help from the Dread Dormammu or one of Strange's other extra-dimensional foes.
Hints in the Prelude Comics
Over the summer, Marvel released several Doctor Strange Prelude comics set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The comics revealed that the Ancient One led an organization called the Masters of the Mystic Art, which trains students how to use magic and protects the planet from various magical threats. The Masters are based out of Kamar-Taj, a remote city in the Himalayas, but also use the Sanctum Sanctorum in New York to store certain mystical artifacts.
The comic also revealed several members of the Masters of the Mystic Arts, in addition to Wong, Mordo, and the Ancient One. Tina Minoru and Daniel Drumm were also shown in the comics. Minoru is the mother of Nico Minoru, one of the teens who will appear in the upcoming Hulu show Runaways, while Daniel Drumm is the brother of Brother Voodoo.
In the comics, Drumm was killed by a magical opponent but returns as a ghost who helps Voodoo during his magical battles. We'll see if Drumm appears in Doctor Strange, and whether he survives the experience.
We've seen a variety of rumors about Doctor Strange, although many of them seem far-fetched at best. One popular rumor is that Doctor Strange will actually be set during the "Phase I" movies in the earliest days of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This would explain why Jasper Sitwell mentions Strange as a potential threat that Hydra would need to eliminate.
Another plausible rumor is that Doctor Strange will pass through the Quantum Realm seen in Ant-Man. The Quantum Realm (also known as the Microverse) is an alternate dimension accessible only when a person shrinks down to sub-atomic sizes. There's different rules about time and space in the Quantum Realm than in the normal world, and it's believed that Janet Van Dyne became trapped there when she shrunk down during a mission for SHIELD in the 1960s. Feige has teased a connection between the Quantum Realm and the worlds seen in Doctor Strange, although it's unclear if Strange will actually pass through that realm or not.
The other big rumor is that Doctor Strange will introduce the Time Stone into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Time Stone is the Infinity Stone that control and manipulate time, which sounds awfully similar to what the Eye of Agamotto does in the movie. The Time Stone would be the fifth Infinity Stone introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, leaving only the Soul Stone as the last undiscovered Infinity Stone for Thanos to find.