This summer Marvel Studios is taking it's biggest risk yet with the outer space action-comedy Guardians of the Galaxy. During Phase 3 of their cinematic universe Marvel will be churning out even more risky movies with Ant-Man and Doctor Strange.
Doctor Strange is the creation of comic legend Stan Lee, first appearing in the Marvel comic book Strange Tales in July 1963. The character is an esteemed neurosurgeon who becomes the mystical being known as the Sorcerer Supreme. Doctor Strange is known for his, well, strange adventures.
A live action movie has been teased for what seems like forever at Marvel. The first tangible sign a movie was actually happening was a name drop in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. After official word from Marvel Studios the movie really got rolling. Scott Derrickson, known for The Day the Earth Stood Still remake and Sinister, was hired to helm the film. Shortly thereafter Prometheus scribe Jon Spaihts was hired to pen the movie. Those two names will hardly get many fanboys excited so Marvel must get a truly awe inspiring actor to anchor this film. Marvel has a shortlist of these three:
Thirty Seconds to Mars front man and recent Academy Award winner Jared Leto is on the top of Marvel's shortlist for Doctor Strange. However just as the Director and Screenwriter inspire no excitement, neither would this casting choice. Leto is a fine actor, but he is not right for the role. Doctor Strange is a wise, commanding figure, a role Leto does not primarily play. His casting wouldn't incite "Batfleck" backlash, but it wouldn't be the most celebrated choice.
Benedict Cumberbatch, known for playing Sherlock, Smaug, and Khan, is no stranger to these types of movies. His name alone would be a big draw to these movies. He is one of the three actors on Marvel's shortlist and seems, at least to me, as the best fit. His role in Sherlock is basically like Doctor Strange sans magic. Cumberbatch is known to be on a lot of fan wishlists for a lot of roles and would certainly add excitement to the movie. Marvel and him seem to be on good terms too. He visited Marvel's HQ last year and even appeared on their podcast. If Marvel were to announce his name at Comic-Con this year you can expect a hefty amount of applause.
Hardy, while not the worst casting choice on Marvel's shortlist, is the strangest one. Comic book movie fans will recognize Hardy from The Dark Knight Rises where he portrayed Bane. He wouldn't be the first person to appear in a DC and a Marvel movie, but his portrayal of Bane is still fresh in most people's minds. Hardy also could be tied up in potential franchises like Mad Max and Ubisoft’s Splinter Cell.
As of right now the casting choice could go any way. The earliest we are likely to hear an official casting announcement is Comic-Con. Until then us Marvel fans can only patiently wait.