Doctor Strange isn’t even out yet, but excitement is reaching fever pitch across the internet. Thanks to the rave reviews which followed the 15 minute IMAX preview, it seems that we are in for the trippiest and most colorful Marvel movie yet.
But what will ultimately come of his inclusion in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? How will the other heroes react to Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), and what alliances will he forge? Marvel Boss Kevin Feige has hinted at a particular partnership that we may soon see, and how Strange could shape events that are yet to occur...
“...Is He Ready?”
His movie hasn't screened in theaters, though that hasn’t stopped Marvel from drawing up big plans for Doctor Strange. The good doctor may simply be one thread in the grand interconnected tapestry, but Feige has assured Entertainment Weekly that Cumberbatch’s Sorcerer will have:
“... a very, very important role in the [Marvel] Cinematic Universe going forward... [he will be in] many upcoming films, including the next Avengers films.”
Intriguing stuff, eh? There has already been plenty of discussion about how Strange will bring, ahem, strangeness to the MCU. In the comics, he is known for travelling through astonishing alternate realities, and dimensions both daft and dangerous. It’s therefore been assumed by many fans that, if his debut goes to plan, Strange will pave the way for all of the above in the wider MCU. Hope are high for multi-verse stories like the Spider-Verse event, or even crossovers with established superheroes whose rights are held by other studios.
The chances of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) meeting Storm (Alexandra Shipp) grow higher by the day...
Collecting Earth’s Mightiest Heroes
It's quite startling how much of an impact Strange has had on the MCU already. Feige has even hinted that the way in which Scarlet Witch’s (Elisabeth Olsen) powers are depicted will be changed because of Strange’s arrival.
Isn’t it exciting to consider that soon enough, Wanda and the Avengers will be meeting the Sorcerer Supreme on screen?! What will each of them make of the arrogant surgeon-turned-magician? According to Feige, there’s one particular encounter that he’s looking forward to the most: Stephen Strange’s first meeting with Tony Stark(Robert Downey Jr)!
“...We were backstage together at an event... long before Benedict was officially cast as Doctor Strange ... But I remember looking at Robert and Benedict... I was just sitting there quietly thinking, One day they’re both going to have goatees and be in one of our movies!”
It’s great to see just how enthusiastic Feige is about the films that he’s making, isn’t it? Some fans may scoff and say that it’s obvious that Stark and Strange are crossing paths in the MCU. After all, both Downey Jr. and Cumberbatch have confirmed that they will be appearing in Avengers: Infinity War. But just how might their meet up go down?
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“I Don’t Play Well With Others.”
At this point, we can only speculate about how Strange will fit into Infinity War. Apart from the pervading rumor that Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) will be the movie's focal point, there is very little in the way of plot minutiae. But there are several movies, and a lot of graphic novels to base our guesses upon.
My guess is that there could be a bit of friction between Stark and Strange, initially at least. So far magic has not played a large role in the MCU. Thor and the Asgardians have been portrayed as technologically advanced beings, eschewing the more fantastical elements of their comic book counterparts. Even though Stark has witnessed a lot of crazy shenanigans since the first Avengers movie, he is still a cynical sort of fellow at heart, so I think we could expect some form of ribbing, like the kind that he doled out to Thor and Loki (Tom Hiddleston). But don’t think that the Sorcerer Supreme will take it lying down!
Prior to becoming a master of the mystic arts, Strange was known for his arrogance; although he developed into a more humble person, he is still depicted as being strong-willed and determined. It’s doubtful that he would take kindly to many jokes, given that he usually has a fairly serious demeanor; indeed, jovial characters such as Spider-Man have frequently commented on his lack of humor in the comics. Strange may be serious, but he still can let loose his own brand of biting wit from time to time. We can already see glimmers of it in the trailers:
In short, as it was with the Avengers, we’re probably going to see a bit of conflict between the two men before they resolve their differences - they better be quick, since they have a Mad Titan to fight!
I find it very interesting that Kevin Feige name checked these two characters; the infamous producer is usually very discreet concerning details about upcoming Marvel movies. Is he simply talking about Infinity War? Or is planning something else with the character further down the line? If so, there is something exciting which could be realized onscreen.
The Rise of “Facial Hair Bros”?
To quote the movie Casablanca: “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” Indeed, as fellow superheroes, they both have selfish pasts, but Stark and Strange have bonded over their parallel moral codes. The comics frequently defined each character by their deep respect for each other’s innovation and intelligence. Tony even gave them the "Awesome Facial Hair Bros" moniker due to their similar styles of mustaches and goatees. Robert Downey Jr and Benedict Cumberbatch are undoubtedly two of the most charismatic and fan-favorite actors operating at the moment. Surely as this partnership is ripe for our cinemas?
Given that the “Science Bros” are separated now, with Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) set to make his mark upon Asgard and beyond in Thor: Ragnarok, is there a chance that we could see Stark and Strange team up in a similar way, post-Infinity War?
Though the details of his contract remain unclear, it’s evident that Cumberbatch’s Strange is going to be involved in the MCU for “many” more films to come. Downey Jr’s Stark is another matter since his film agreement is due to expire within the next few years. However, he has expressed an interest in further Iron Man movies, so there is still the possibility that he will renegotiate his deal. There’s still hope yet!
What Could They Do Together After 'Infinity War'?
So we've got a great on-screen partnership, but where would we see it realized? Infinity War is where the characters are going to meet, but it's probably going to be too hectic for Stark and Strange to get to know one another. It stands to reason that their team-up could occur sometime afterwards in Phase 4; what could they get up to? Let's have a look at the most likely scenarios...
Taking Down the Mandarin?
As it is the case with Spider-Man in the above comic, many other costumed characters such as Iron Man have consulted with Doctor Strange if something supernatural crops up in their adventuring.
If Iron Man 4 ever happens, there’s a strong chance that it could feature the true Mandarin as the villain, since the "true" version was revealed to be very real and very active in the Marvel One Shot All Hail the King.
Traditionally, the Mandarin gains his powers from the ten alien rings that he wears, often enhancing their abilities through magical means. Stark is not renowned for his use of sorcery, so it is likely that he would consult with an expert such as Strange, so that the good doctor can assist him in his battle.
Alternatively, we could simply see them become partnered in an epic adventure across dimensions. Sound too far-fetched? Well in recent years, Stark became a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, so the possibility of seeing him journey far afield to save the universe isn’t reaching too much.
We didn’t expect the Hulk to be gallivanting alongside Thor any time soon, but here we are, excitedly waiting to see Ragnarok! Tony Stark and Stephen Strange off on a sass-filled, whirlwind adventure? Yes please!
Rise of the Illuminati?
However, it is perhaps most likely that we'll see them as members of the Illuminati in the wake of Infinity War...no not like that! Put away the tinfoil hats! In the comics, the Illuminati were a group consisting of the most powerful figures in each part of the superhero community.
Its members included Namor, Mr Fantastic, Black Bolt, Professor X and – you guessed it – Doctor Strange and Iron Man. They often met to discuss the threats that plagued their community, and strived to prevent conflict between them or between the Earth and outside forces. Most interestingly though, Mr Fantastic distributed the Infinity Gems between each member of the team so that they could never be brought together and used again.
Whilst several of these characters are owned by other studios, the whole of the MCU has been built around the connection of the Infinity Stones. Therefore, it seems very likely that a variation of this team could be formed on our cinema screens and safeguard the stones...heck, even Benedict Cumberbatch is keen on the idea. But let's not forget, all of this depends on whether or not Thanos is defeated!
Doctor Strange may be a riskier movie for Marvel, since it features a less recognizable character, as well as more outlandish elements. Whether it will succeed or not remains to be seen, but it’s clear that Cumberbatch’s Strange has a promising future in the MCU. And how good would it be if he was to team up with Iron Man in a solo film? It would definitely be a fantastic addition to the ever-growing Marvel Cinematic Universe. Surely, seeing such combined talent and awesomeness on-screen would be off the charts!
Do you want to see a Doctor Strange/Iron Man team up movie?
[Source: Entertainment Weekly]