An upcoming Doctor Strange movie has got its director, Scott Derrickson, which means casting announcements are sure to follow. Our staff share their picks of who should play the Sorcerer Supreme in his big-screen debut.
Ardo’s Pick #1:
Despite being my number one pick for Black Panther, I think Chiwetel Ejiofor would make a great Doctor Strange. I first saw him in Joss Whedon’s Serenity as the film’s villain and was instantly hooked. I advocated tirelessly (i.e., through Twitter) to have him play the next Doctor Who, and fell in love with his performance in 12 Years A Slave. He can easily pull off the egotistical neurosurgeon with no problem and it would be great to see him in a Marvel film. He’s three years younger than what they’re going for at 37 (Marvel is looking for someone in their 40s) but I think they’d make an exception for such a talented actor.
Catie’s Pick #1:
Best known as Mohinder on Heroes, Sendhil Ramamurthy is perfect for portraying Stephen Strange’s journey from haughty, douchebag surgeon, to desperate wanderer, and to eventually mastering the dark arts while wearing a very fancy cape. It’s pretty much a given that the movie will have to center around Strange’s origin story, as the general public (and, I’d bet, a number of comic fans) don’t know just how he became the premier magic user in the Marvel Universe. I think Sendhil would be able to handle a big lead role, and at 40 he’s right in the age range that they’re looking for. It’d be especially nice to see a South Asian actor portray a character whose story centers around finding a mysterious monastery high up in the Himalayas, and you can’t deny that Sendhil Mamamurthy wouldn’t look good in Stephen’s fancy magical outfit.
Ardo’s Pick #2:
I haven’t seen Elyes Gabel in much other than his small role in World War Z, where he played a scientist. He’s also in an upcoming show, Scorpion, where he plays a genius. He’s the unlikeliest of choices given his age (31), his TV commitments (Scorpion) and his lack of movie experience—especially as a leading man. I still like the idea though.
Catie’s Pick #2:
Where goes Stephen Strange, so goes Wong. Good Stephen Strange stories like Doctor Strange Season One show that their relationship is the emotional center for the character, and he’s a must-have in any movie. Hopefully they’ll find a screenwriter talented enough to keep that strong friendship and mutual admiration and avoid the awkward master-servant Orientalist creepiness the comics can occasionally indulge in. My pick is Huang Xiaoming, who has the acting chops and the necessary martial arts background to pull it off. Plus, Marvel has been expanding into the Chinese cinema market, and casting a popular Chinese actor in a prominent role would definitely up the movie’s profile there.