How Benedict Cumberbatch Almost Lost His Doctor Strange Role
Doctor Strange is nearly ready to blast his way into theaters, but the good doctor has arrived on the cover of Empire Magazine's latest issue first. Well, two covers to be exact. Doctor Strange will indeed be on full display in the publication's latest issue and there will be two different covers featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as The Sorcerer Supreme. But as it turns out, it almost didn't happen this way. If things had of worked out just a little bit differently, we could be looking at a completely different Doctor Strange.
Empire recently revealed their two exclusive Doctor Strange covers, which will be featured on the latest issue of Empire Magazine that hits stands next week. Both covers prominently feature Benedict Cumberbatch, as has most of the marketing material for Doctor Strange. Given that he is a massive star and the centerpiece of the movie, that isn't at all surprising. That being said, Empire also revealed that the Sherlock star almost didn't get the role in Doctor Strange. According to director Scott Derrickson, he was "the only actor we seriously considered," but there were some speed bumps.
Marvel originally wanted a summer 2016 release date, but Benedict Cumberbatch was scheduled to play Hamlet in London, which conflicted with that. But Derrickson said that the actor wasn't willing to give up the play, saying "I can't bail out of Hamlet. I've given my word." So director Scott Derrickson was forced to look at some other actors, which is reportedly when Joaquin Phoenix, Jared Leto and Ryan Gosling were considered. But Kevin Feige insisted that "it's going to be Benedict," and that is exactly how it went down. Here is what the actor had to say about it.
"I really did think I had to kiss it goodbye. If you can't jump on board when the ride's going past, that's usually it, so the hugest compliment they paid me was to come back to me. It motivated me to try to fulfill their faith in me."
Since the role ultimately did go to Benedict Cumberbatch, he is the one who is featured on the new Empire Magazine covers. The first of the two covers features Doctor Strange all by his lonesome in the Sanctum Sanctorum. He is featured doing some sorcery and looking all kinds of intense, which seems fitting for The Sorcerer Supreme. The text on the cover also teases that Doctor Strange will be "Marvel's weirdest movie ever," which definitely gels with everything we have seen and heard about the movie up to this point.
The Second cover also features Benedict Cumberbatch in his full Doctor Strange get up, but he has some company on this one. The second Empire Magazine cover also features Chiwetel Ejiofor as Baron Karl Mordo, Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One and Benedict Wong as Wong. While the first cover will be available for anyone to grab on a newsstand near you, the second cover featuring the entire magical gang is exclusive to Empire Magazine subscribers, so if you want to get your hands on it, you need to make sure your subscription is up to date.
While we haven't seen the movie yet, based on the trailers we have seen it appears that if nothing else, Benedict Cumberbatch really nailed the role. So, it is a good thing Marvel was able to make it work. Doctor Strange is set to hit theaters in the U.K. on October 25 and in the U.S on November 4. Be sure to check out the new Empire Magazine Doctor Strange covers for yourself below.