Benedict Cumberbatch has become one of the lynchpins of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Doctor Strange, but that is not something the actor ever saw happening. While Stephen Strange has taken over part of the MCU role left by the departure of Tony Stark, as a mentor figure to Peter Parker in Spider-Man: No Way Home, and now being an integral part of the Marvel multiverse story arc, it all came as a surprise for Cumberbatch. When first taking on the character in 2017, almost a decade into the MCU’s story, Cumberbatch saw Dr. Strange as an interesting character but never expected him to gain the prominence he has in the franchise.
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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is the fifth major movie to star Benedict Cumberbatch as the sorcerer, having followed up his debut movie with appearances in Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: No Way Home. While it is clear that there is still a lot more ahead for the character, it is all beyond anything the actor saw him developing into over the last few years. He told New Indian Express:
“I’m still surprised at how prominent he has become. I always knew there was amazing potential there because of all the aspects to the character, but I definitely had no idea that we would get to be at this point with the multiverse aspect when we started out.”
Doctor Strange 2 Has Opened The Door to the Multiverse
Marvel Studios have never succumbed to peer pressure, and that is probably why many fans have been slightly disappointed at just how much of the multiverse they have seen so far. With a number of recent shows and movies, including Loki and Spider-Man: No Way Home having provided a glimpse of what the multiverse has to offer, many fans believed that Multiverse of Madness would be nothing short of a who’s who of Marvel variants. For this reason, they were left feeling hard done by rather than enjoying the movie for what it really was: a stepping stone across a vast river.
It took over a decade for Marvel Studios to build up to Avengers: Endgame, and rather than expecting the “reset” of the scale of the universe, many expect it to continue to put out huge epic movies that just get bigger and bigger. That is not a viable option, and therefore the MCU is effectively back at the end of Phase 1 in terms of scale, introducing characters, building stories and heading towards large epic conclusions somewhere years down the line.
Doctor Strange 2 has opened a door to the multiverse that will likely be explored a little further in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, and will eventually lead to an all-out war based around the Secret Wars comic book arc. Before then though, there are many new characters to come, and clearly more adventures for Stephen Strange following his trip through the multiverse, which left the mark of the Darkhold on him.