Benedict Cumberbatch is Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange!

After a well-publicized casting call that saw plenty of actors tied to the part, Marvel appears to have officially selected their Sorcerer Supreme for the Marvel Cinematic Universe! Sherlock star, Benedict Cumberbatch has now started final negotiations for the part, with the news being broken by official Hollywood source, Deadline.

Doctor Strange - Comics ArtMarvel appears to be waiting for Cumberbatch to officially ink his multi-film contract before making their own official announcement, though given that other credible Hollywood sources have corroborated the story, it appears that he’s unlikely to walk away in the 11th hour. Cumberbatch is apparently trying to negotiate around his commitments to the upcoming fourth season of Sherlock, though that shouldn’t be too much of a hurdle, given that The BBC ultimately accommodated Cumberbatch’s co-star, Martin Freeman, along with Cumberbatch himself, to film the latter two installments of the Hobbit movie trilogy.

Cumberbatch’s name was well-known to be on the short-list of actors that Marvel was considering for the coveted role. Joaquin Phoenix was the studio’s first choice, though negotiations with Phoenix broke down, forcing Marvel to revise their plans for the character. Jared Leto, Ryan Gosling and Tom Hardy were also being considered for the role of Doctor Strange, with the latter two ironically also being courted for DC’s competing 2016 movie, Suicide Squad. It would appear then that Gosling and Hardy are now freed up for DC, should those rumblings be true.

In the Marvel comics, Doctor Strange begins as Stephen Strange, a highly gifted, albeit arrogant neurosurgeon that winds up in a car accident, which damages the nerves in his hands, and prevents him from ever operating again. Squandering his leftover funds and winding up a black market doctor, Strange’s good side comes out when he saves the life of The Ancient One, a powerful being that unlocks Strange’s potential by teaching him the mystic arts, and appointing him Earth’s protector against supernatural and magical threats. On top of a mastery of all forms of magic and a genius intellect, Doctor Strange boasts incredible martial arts talents as well, and is one of the most powerful of the Marvel superheroes.Doctor Strange - Comic Debut

While he was jokingly name-dropped in Spider-Man 2 as a name that was “taken” when the Daily Bugle debates what to dub the movie’s villain, Doctor Octopus, Doctor Strange’s first official mention in the shared Marvel Cinematic Universe came in this past April’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, where “Stephen Strange” is declared to be a clear and present danger to the movie’s villains, alongside Hulk host, Bruce Banner.

Scott Derrickson will direct Doctor Strange for Marvel Studios, with Jon Spaihts scripting. The movie doesn’t yet have a release date, but is currently believed to be the mystery Marvel Studios movie holding the release date of July 8th, 2016. Marvel has yet to confirm.

Keep spellbinding Eggplante for all news and updates on Doctor Strange, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe at large.