Stephen Strange

After months of rumors over who might play Stephen Strange, with names like Joaquin Phoenix and Keanu Reeves tossed out as contenders, Benedict Cumberbatch was officially confirmed as the Sorcerer Supreme in December 2014. Over a year later, we got our first look at the actor in the Doctor's costume, but until a preview comes out, fans will have to keep waiting for a taste of his performance. We don't even know if Cumberbatch will use Strange's America accent or if he'll retain his own British one. Fun fact: Cumberbatch's Sherlock co-star, Martin Freeman, has also been added to the MCU as Everett Ross in Captain America: Civil War.

Although Doctor Strange will be an origin story, Stephen Strange was first mentioned in Captain America: The Winter Soldier as one of the folks that could pose a threat to HYDRA. Marvel hasn't revealed yet when exactly in the MCU timeline Doctor Strange takes place, but given how these movies tend to follow one after another, the reasonable assumption is that it will happen after Captain America: Civil War. So even before he studied magic, Strange's reputation was big enough that he was on the terrorist organization's radar.

The Ancient One

Stephen Strange couldn't have become the Sorcerer Supreme without training under The Ancient One, and in Doctor Strange, that mysterious instructor will be played by Tilda Swinton. This casting is without a doubt the most radical departure from the source material. In the comics, The Ancient One is an elderly, Asian man, while, as you can see above, Swinton is a white woman. That being said, Doctor Strange is a story featuring magic, and with a figure like The Ancient One, their physical appearance can be adjusted if necessary. There will presumably be some explanation about how they assumes many forms or may be neither fully woman or man. Whether we get a specific reason or their gender is left ambiguous, The Ancient One (who is the latest individual to carry that title) will train Stephen Strange in the mystic arts after he comes to them originally to heal his hands. Since the comic book Ancient One continued to advise Stephen Strange in the spirit realm after he died, even if something bad happens to Swinton's Ancient One in the movie, we could still see her guide her pupil from the great beyond during the rest of the story or in a sequel.

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