Benedict Cumberbatch is “in talks” to play Steven Strange in Marvel’s Dr. Strange. I’d seen Facebook posts from the official Marvel page about some event they had planned in Los Angeles this week. I brushed it off as an early screening of extended footage from Avengers: Age of Ultron, but now it seems likely that the official announcement will be part of whatever else they have planned.
This is solid casting, although you have to wonder what happened to Marvel’s plans to put an A-lister in the role of an admittedly C-list character. Joaquin Phoenix was at least an Oscar nominee, famous enough for his Letterman appearance to have become and thing (and a movie). Cumberbatch is no slouch, but his biggest films are an unlovable Star Trek reboot/sequel and voice-over work as Smaug in the Hobbit sequels. Sherlock is massively huge in the UK and I think he has the wind as his back going into this, but anyone telling you this was Marvel’s first choice would be ignoring the long and winding road that led to this decision.
The great thing about this casting is that we may have two modern-day Sherlock actors in the Marvel cinematic universe and they’re quite likely to bump heads, if only for a scene or two. I’m guessing if that happens, Downey gets the last word, although we’ll all know who the real champ is.