Last week, videos from the Dr. Strange set leaked out, giving eagle eyed fans their first look at Mads Mikkelsen's mysterious character. While Marvel has confirmed the Hannibal actor will be the primary antagonist of the upcoming Marvel movie as opposed to Chiwetel Ejiofor's Baron Mordo, the studio hasn't revealed who Mikkelsen is playing. All Marvel will say is that Mikkelsen was a former disciple of the Ancient One who turned evil and now wants to unleash an unknown threat upon the Marvel Universe.
Luckily, these videos might provide some clues, as Mikkelsen's shown wearing some very unusual, stony makeup around his eyes. While a bit of makeup isn't much to go off of, it's enough for some idle speculation, so here's a few guesses as to who Mikkelsen might be playing:
If Mikkelsen is trying to unleash terrors from another dimension, it's possible that his character is serving as the host of Dormammu, the tyrant leader of the Dark Dimension. Dormammu is arguably Strange's best known supervillain, having threatened the world countless times since Strange first became the Ancient One's disciple. Dormammu's best known trait is his flaming head, which could explain why the skin around Mikkelsen's eyes are so flaky and red. Could Dormammu's true form be burning through a human disguise? However, if Marvel is planning on turning Doctor Strange into their next big movie franchise, it wouldn't make much sense to use the sorcerer's biggest villain in the first film. It's much more likely Marvel is holding Dormammu (and his unstoppable army of Mindless Ones) for a much grander story.prevnext
Another potential otherworldly threat Mikkelsen could play is Nightmare, the demonic ruler of the Dream Dimension. While Nightmare's powers are inconsequential in the real world, he's nearly all-powerful in his own dimension, which people enter whenever they fall asleep. Nightmare will often lure people into an eternal sleep in order to increase his powers, and Mikkelsen's presence in New York City could be part of a plan to lull the entire city into a nightmare. Mikkelsen even resembles the comic version of Nightmare, with gaunt skin and wispy eyes. However, if Mikkelsen is playing (or playing host to) Nightmare, that doesn't really explain the burnt away skin around the eyes, and Nightmare has never really possessed a human host in the comics.prevnext
Doctor Strange's executive producer Stephen Broussard mentioned in December that fans hadn't guessed the identity of Mads Mikkelsen's character, even though Doctor Strange's rogues gallery is a bit lacking. But what if Mikkelsen isn't playing a character typically associated as being a villain, like the former Avenger Doctor Druid? An early Stan Lee and Jack Kirby creation, most fans consider Druid to be a second-rate version of Doctor Strange, even though he predates Doctor Strange's creation by several years. In the comics, the Ancient One trained Druid in secret in case Doctor Strange ever faltered in his path to becoming the Sorcerer Supreme. Druid eventually joined the Avengers as their resident magician, but he quit the team after the supervillain Terminatrix briefly turned him evil. Druid's flirtation with the dark side became a recurring theme, as he eventually succumbed to the thrall of dark magic and turned on his allies. Although Druid died during the 1990s, he recently returned to life as part of Marvel's All New, All Different initiative, which could hint that he'll have a bigger role to play in the nearish future. Could his comic book return be a precursor to his role as Doctor Strange's villain?prevnext
Another "left field" choice is the Grey Gargoyle, a Thor villain with the power to turn enemies into stone. The Grey Gargoyle has the ability to temporarily transform matter into stone, and can gain superhuman strength by transforming his own body into stone. While the Grey Gargoyle's powers aren't magic based, he's had several run-ins with the supernatural world. In Fear Itself, the Grey Gargoyle's powers were enhanced by an Asgardian hammer to the point that he could transform an entire city into stone. Grey Gargoyle would explain the brittle quality of Mikkelsen's character's skin, although the character has never had any strong ties to Strange before. Still, Grey Gargoyle does fit as the sort of supervillain Marvel likes to use in its movies: well known to the Marvel faithful, but still obscure enough that Marvel can morph the character's origins and motivations to meet their movie's need.prevnext
One of Dr. Strange's more obscure enemies/allies, Kaluu is the best match to what little we know about Mikkelsen's character. A former friend of the Ancient One, Kaluu fell under the influence of the Darkhold, an ancient book containing dark magic. After conquering their homeland, Kaluu turned on the Ancient One, paralyzing him until the sorcerer summoned a pestilence that wiped out Kaluu's army and sent him fleeing to another dimension. Kaluu later returned to battle the Ancient One and Doctor Strange, but later assisted Strange in his battle against the Elder God Shuma-Gorath. Like Mikkelsen's mystery character, Kaluu is an ally turned enemy of the Ancient One and has fallen under the sway of dark magic. As one of the most powerful practitioners of dark magic on the planet, Kaluu would be a dangerous threat to a still green Dr. Strange.prev