Wait, Doctor Strange Is A Supernatural Martial Arts Movie?

Marvel loves playing around in different genres. Of course, the studio makes superhero movies. But Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a 1970s spy thriller. Guardians of the Galaxy was as much a space Western as Star Wars was. And Ant-Man was a heist movie. So what genre will Scott Derrickson's Doctor Strange fit into? You might think supernatural science-fiction, but you would be wrong.

We were lucky enough to visit the set of Doctor Strange earlier this year, where director Scott Derrickson talked at length about his upcoming origin story for damaged neurosurgeon Stephen Strange aka the Sorcerer Supreme. We have been breaking down several angles with regards to the upcoming film, but this it caught us off guard. When Derrickson explained the types of movies that are influencing his vision of Doctor Strange, the filmmaker told us:

There's definitely a martial arts influence on the movie, because that is the action that I like, for starters. It is also, martial arts is the kind of action that does tie in well to the supernatural. That is a whole sub-genre within martial arts cinema, the supernatural martial arts movie, particularly within Asian cinema. I felt like, when it came to fighting in the movie, that just made sense, to certainly to go in that direction and stay away from weapons, gunfire, and things like that and to avoid having fighting be the casting of bolts of light.

Well, NOW you have my attention, Mr. Derrickson. The director, whose credits include The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Sinister, is going to lift from supernatural martial arts movies when constructing Doctor Strange? How gonzo might that look? To a certain extent, this makes sense. After a crippling automotive injury, Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) embarks on a quest to heal his hands, which puts him under the tutelage of The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) in the Kamar-Taj in Nepal. As we can seen in the photo above, Strange trains in what looks like martial arts. And in the trailer screened in San Diego for Comic-Con, there's plenty of visual cues to supernatural martial arts, which has us salivating over what Derrickson might have in store for audiences.

It's exciting when Marvel allows a new filmmaker to enter the MCU and take over the format of an origin story and fashion it around an unexpected and unpredictable genre. Doctor Strange expects to explore even deeper the magical aspects that were touched on briefly in Ant-Man. This one has the potential to blow people's minds, and Derrickson's comments about the films that will influence Doctor Strange have us chomping at the bit for November 4, when the movie opens everywhere.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.