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Marvel Studios is remarkably good about giving us just enough information to give us no information at all. This morning we got our first glimpse at Benedict Cumberbatch in his costume for the title role, which is cool, but ultimately he looks pretty much the way you would have guessed. Now they’ve given us a bit more information about who Mads Mikkelsen will be playing, which gives us very little real information and also takes what information we did have and turns it on its head.
According to a new story, Mads Mikkelsen will be playing the primary villain in the Doctor Strange film. This is interesting information because we thought we already knew who the main villain of the film was going to be and it wasn’t Mikkelsen. Regardless, the big guys over at Marvel have given us the skinny on who the former Hannibal star will be playing. Producer Stephen Broussard has specifically used the words "main villain," while studio head Kevin Feige has gone into a small bit of detail about who the character is.
Mads’ character is a sorcerer who breaks off into his own sect. [He] believes that the Ancient One is just protecting her own power base and that the world may be better off if we were to allow some of these other things through.
They’ve stopped short of giving us the character’s name and based on Broussard’s comments to Entertainment Weekly it appears that they’re going to try and keep the character’s name a secret right up until the film’s release. We had a number of guesses as to who Mikkelsen might be playing, but based on the description we may need to come up with a few more.
The thing is, one of the few things that we’d already had confirmed prior to this news was that Chiwetel Ejiofor was in the movie playing Baron Mordo, probably the most famous of Doctor Strange’s enemies. We pretty much assumed that Mordo would be the main villain of the piece, but apparently that’s not the case. That, at least, explains why the few pictures from the set that we have of Ejiofor show him and Benedict Cumberbatch looking more like friends than enemies. Perhaps Mordo and Strange will not be enemies at all in the upcoming movie. Perhaps Mordo is just being set up here in order to take on a larger role in a future film.
There is another possibility that should be considered. This could be an Iron Man 3 style swerve. Maybe Mikkelsen will turn out to be the "real" Baron Mordo, or perhaps the character with that name won’t be a villain at all, at least within the MCU. It’s a possibility to at least consider. While most of what Marvel Studios has done has lined up well with the comics, there is some precedent for major changes as well.
So, who do you think Mads Mikkelsen will be playing Doctor Strange? Let’s start working our way through the Marvel rogues gallery.