An egotistical, wealthy neurosurgeon-turned-sorcerer, with skill and power that knows no bounds. A British actor (and national treasure) known for his infuriating, yet somewhat loveable, characters. Forget everything that you think you know - picture an alternate universe where casting had a change of heart, shooting schedules spiralled out of control and Benedict Cumberbatch didn't get the chance to swing the Cloak of Levitation over his destined shoulders. Weird, right? This was almost the reality for Doctor Stephen Strange's cinematic debut.
"I really did think I had to kiss [Doctor Strange] goodbye" - Benedict Cumberbatch
Due to Benedict's commitment to playing Hamlet at London's Barbican Theatre conflicting with the film's production, Doctor Strange was put on the back-burner and the studio had to look elsewhere for their potential lead - all before realising that he was worth waiting for, and eventually pushing back the film's release by a few months. Here are the three major actors that were reportedly in talks to play the Master of the Mystic Arts - which would have made for an ENTIRELY different movie.
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1. Joaquin Phoenix
"I’ve met on all sorts of movies throughout the years. What seems appealing about some of them is the idea of pushing myself in a way that’s out of my comfort zone."
Joaquin, sibling of the late great River Phoenix and renowned for hit sci-fi drama Her, certainly had the experience and look to play Stephen Strange. He also worked alongside Iron Man's Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) in the film Two Lovers back in 2008 - his portrayal of Strange would have been the (perhaps ambiguous) crossover you didn't know you needed. Take a look at the clip below! Although he isn't entering the #MCU anytime soon, the three-time Oscar nominee has numerous films set for release next year.
2. Ryan Gosling
Suave, sophisticated and known for playing both romantic and gritty characters - The Big Short gives us an insight into what the actor would have looked like in the role physically as well as in terms of his acting. The characters dark hair, quick wit, precedence and clear intelligence would have been a good audition piece to play the egotistical #DoctorStrange. It would have also seen him reunited with former co-star (and ex girlfriend!) Rachel McAdams who plays Christine Palmer, Strange's love interest, in the film. Take a look at Ryan in the clip below. (Warning - strong language!)
3. Jared Leto
You heard correctly - the Joker almost had a place in the MCU. Leto has been a contender for many iconic roles in the past, though his most notable near-miss was Neo in The Matrix. For obvious reasons, the Suicide Squad star couldn't go through with becoming the Sorceror Supreme, but we can't help but wonder how it would've turned out.
Arguably the best Marvel movie of the year, it is hard to picture someone other than #BenedictCumberbatch taking on the dreaded Kaecilius and personifying the Marvel hero. His work in #Sherlock, and his portrayal of ingenious, narcissistic and cynical characters (that we can't help but love!) makes for undeniable casting. I think #Marvel made the right choice - good things come to those who wait and Doctor Strange's glowing reviews show that.
If you are yet to see Doctor Strange in all of it's mind-bending kaleidoscopic beauty, check out the trailer below:
What did you think of the movie? Did you think Benedict was ideal casting? Let us know in the comments!