Doctor Strange goes down a dark path in the animated Marvel Studios original series What If...?, according to the first details revealed in a new report. The Master of the Mystic Arts, played in live-action by Benedict Cumberbatch in the Doctor Strange and Avengers films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, might draw forbidden power from the Dark Dimension when he appears in the animated series from head writer A.C. Bradley and producer Kevin Feige. According to The Illuminerdi, the Stephen Strange in What If...? is a Doctor Strange who "found magic after the death of his true love which led him down a darker path with dark and dangerous magic in an attempt to change his past."
Previously revealed glimpses from the episode show Strange unleashing blasts of energy near a woman who may be Dr. Christine Palmer, Strange's romantic interest played by Rachel McAdams in 2016's Doctor Strange, and a heroic version of the sorcerer in battle with a darker version of himself.
What If...? puts a twist on the canonical films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, taking characters like Black Panther (voice of Chadwick Boseman), Peggy Carter (voice of Hayley Atwell), and Loki (voice of Tom Hiddleston) down different paths from their live-action counterparts.
"I do joke that I'm writing very expensive fan fiction," Bradley recently told Total Film of the 10-episode first season that promises "more than a few surprising MCU cameos." According to Bradley, audiences will feel like they're "watching one of the movies" within 30 seconds of watching the animated series streaming on Disney+.
The previously announced cast of voice actors reprising their roles from the Marvel Studios movies include the following: Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan), Thanos (Josh Brolin), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Nebula (Karen Gillan), Clint Barton/Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), Dum Dum Duggan (Neal McDonough), Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper), Kraglin (Sean Gunn), Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), Kurt (David Dastmalchian), Dr. Abraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci), Korg (Taika Waititi), Arnim Zola (Toby Jones), Korath (Djimon Hounsou), Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum), Yondu (Michael Rooker), and Taserface (Chris Sullivan).
Cumberbatch next reprises his role opposite Tom Holland in Spider-Man: No Way Home, in theaters on December 17, and returns alongside WandaVision's Elizabeth Olsen in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on March 25, 2022.
Marvel's What If...? is expected to premiere this August on Disney+.
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