The Marvel Cinematic Universe will get a bit more mystical with the introduction of the Sorcerer Supreme in Doctor Strange. Slated for release in 2016, the film will be the second entry in the studio’s Phase 3, following Captain America: Civil War. Scott Derrickson (Sinister) is directing from a script currently being re-written by Jon Spaihts (Prometheus), filming will begin in May.
Last week the studio officially announced actor Benedict Cumberbatch would star as Stephen Strange – the brilliant neurologist who, after an accident, seeks aid in the unknown. At the moment he’s the only member of the cast revealed, but Daniel Bruhl – who Marvel has cast in Captain America 3 – is rumored to have a villainous role to play in Doctor Strange.
And soon there will be more casting news for Doctor Strange, according to the latest scoop from Latino Review. Their sources report that Marvel has approached three actors for the role of The Ancient One – Strange’s mentor and guide in the mystic arts – and they’re all heavy hitters when it comes to ‘wisdom-oozing elders’: Morgan Freeman, Ken Watanabe, and Bill Nighy.
The role of The Ancient One is very likely an integral one in Doctor Strange (both in terms of plot and the film’s overall strength), as he looms large in the character’s origin. In the film, his role will be crucial for selling this new, more magical side of the MCU to audiences, and will need an actor that’s instantly believable as the keeper of secrets both ancient and mysterious.
All three of the actors rumored for the shortlist are clearly strong choices, so it seems the decision comes down to which will work best with Cumberbatch’s Strange. Freeman played a mentor most recently in The LEGO Movie, and he’s already been a part of a comic book movie franchise with Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy. Plus, he’s given plenty of guidance as God himself – twice.
In the comics, The Ancient One is said to come from Tibet, making Watanabe the closest fit for the traditionally Asian role. He would also be convincing while training Strange to master the mystical arts (after all, he managed to convince audiences that Tom Cruise could master the art of war in The Last Samurai).
Yet of these three actors, it’s Billy Nighy who sounds like the most intriguing possibility, due to just how unlikely a choice he seems. Nighy has appeared in several major blockbusters and big franchises – Underworld, Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter – but hasn’t yet played a role in a modern superhero movie. Doctor Strange would be a great start, and his version of The Ancient One would undoubtedly be a unique one; a potentially intriguing mix with Cumberbatch’s most-likely-intense Strange.
While any of these three actors would be a great addition to Marvel’s Doctor Strange, who do you think is the most likely choice for The Ancient One? Do you have a better suggestion? Let us hear from you in the comments below!
Doctor Strange hits theaters on November 4, 2016.