With the news that Rachel McAdams has been confirmed to be portraying the female lead in the upcoming Doctor Strange movie, another heavyweight has been added to the already incredibly impressive cast roster for the film - currently featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, the intimidating Tilda Swindon as Strange's tutor - the Ancient One - and Chiwetel Ejiofor as arch-enemy Baron Mordo
It's not yet announced who McAdams will portray but a smart bet would be Clea (pictured above), Doctor Strange's pupil --> wife --> estranged wife. A powerful extra-dimensional sorceress, Clea is also the heir to the Dark Dimension and niece of the super-villain Dormammu (whom Mads Mikkleson is rumoured to be playing - another impressive addition if true).
With it looking like this is going to be the first film to really explore the occult, extra-dimensional sorcery side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Strange is shaping up to be one of their best films so far (though maybe I'm just biased given that Strange is one of my all time favourite Marvel characters).
A genius, super-human surgeon, master of magic and the Sorcerer Supreme protector of Earth, Doctor Stephen Strange is one of the most powerful humans in the Marvel universe. He deliberately sat out of the Civil War saga (which we'll see adapted next year as [Captain America: Civil War](tag:994409), albeit without him appearing) to mediate by himself at the North Pole because he knew that he was too powerful to get involved with struggles of morality - whichever side he chose would inevitably win.
He's also got a cracking moustache (all the best male heroes have facial hair - Iron Man, Green Arrow, Wolverine...) and one time saved hundreds of lives by defeating the demon Tul'uth in a game of baseball (Strange #1, 2).
Like Superman Doctor Strange has often been criticised for being overpowered. He's not quite on Supes level in terms of invulnerability and such but the laws of magic on the Marvel universe are incredibly fluid, meaning that he can perform almost any kind of offensive or defense attack he can think of. It might be a bit of a deux ex machina at times, but damn if it doesn't look cool. (Side note: If you're interested in finding out more about how Strange uses magic, check out this blog post by Christopher Bird).
Doctor Strange vs The New Avengers
During the last run of New Avengers a few years back Doctor Strange is forced to go head to head with the entire Avengers team (Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Vision, Red Hulk, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Spider-Woman, Captain Marvel, Spider-Man, Daredevil, Iron Fist, Thing, and Mockingbird). At this time he had relinquished his position as Sorcerer Supreme as penitence for messing around with some dark magics that made him go a bit loopy during World War Hulk, resulting in him not quite operating at full power as he now lacks the Eye of Agamotto.
The Avengers here were possessed by another sorcerer - Daniel Drumm - who blamed Strange for the death of his brother Brother Voodoo (Jericho Drumm), a former Sorcerer Supreme and friend of Strange.
He takes on the entire team, managing to defeat the majority of them before getting knocked down by Captain Marvel, Luke Cage and Iron Fist. But he manages to trap Daniel in the body of Luke Cage and lays down a spell with one of his most badass monologues ever - driving Daniel from Cage's body and destroying him.
This is eventually all revealed to be some kind of test to see if Strange was now capable of controlling dark magics and as a result - ta da - the Ancient One shows up to hand him back the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme.
The MCU Doctor Strange
Of course, it's not certain whether or not Doctor Strange will join up with the Avengers when he appears in the MCU. He's been a member of the New Avengers (as discussed above) and the Illuminati alongside Tony Stark (Iron Man), but this doesn't mean he necessarily has to join up with the team when he arrives on scene.
It's a new continuity after all, and after seriously downplaying the powers of Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff) in [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035) I'm a bit concerned they'll do the same with him here here. C'est la vie I suppose.
However, when Thanos comes to town with the Infinity Gauntlet the Avengers are going to need someone packing the kind of power afforded to the Sorcerer Supreme, and there's already been widespread speculation that we'll see one of the two remaining Infinity Stones making an appearance in Doctor Strange, which does make him a major player in the coming conflict.
Regardless, it would be fantastic to see him going head to head with the Mad Titan alongside the Avengers when [The Avengers: Infinity War](tag:738027) rolls around in 2018. Until then we'll just have to wait and see what the solo film has in store for the good Doctor come next year.