Kevin Feige Calls Doctor Strange's Benedict Cumberbatch the "Anchor" of the MCU

The first official hero that audiences met in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man, who would be a key component of the entire franchise over the next decade, though with Tony Stark having died in Avengers: Endgame, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige recently noted how Doctor Strange Benedict Cumberbatch has become the anchor of the series. With these comments having been made at Cumberbatch's Walk of Fame ceremony and with Feige noting it was Cumberbatch who was the anchor of the franchise as opposed to specifically his character, it would seem that the actor has taken leadership behind the scenes to help unite the ever-growing and expansive series.

"It's been quite a journey, I remember our very first meeting. ... We wanted to pitch him this great character, and before we could he said, 'So tell me about Doctor Strange,' because somewhere you knew what this could be," Feige shared at the ceremony, per PEOPLE. "You've always seen the tremendous potential in this character and because of 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."

Since Stark's death in Endgame, projects like Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Eternals have introduced audiences to new characters, while Black Widow took place before that fatal conflict with Thanos. Strange played a pivotal role in Spider-Man: No Way Home, helping introduce the concept of the Multiverse, which will be a significant component of the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

While the Infinity Stones were a key component of the overall trajectory for the first three phases of the MCU, it's possible that the Multiverse could be the guiding force of the MCU's future.

"To us and to millions around the globe, you deserve this honor for being the first, the best, the greatest, and the only Doctor Stephen Strange," Feige expressed. "Benedict has turned this character into an icon, appearing in a historic three of the top six films of all time."

As proven in No Way Home, the concept of the Multiverse makes a number of unexpected narrative threads possible, with it being possible that Strange's powers could be the key to the entire future of the franchise on screens both big and small.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is expected to land in theaters on May 6th.

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