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Doctor Strange's Benedict Cumberbatch Explains Why His Marvel Character Isn’t An Avenger

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Doctor Strange hit the Marvel Cinematic Universe scene in late 2016, and since then he’s been keeping busy helping out his fellow superheroes in Thor: Ragnarok, the latter two Avengers movies and Spider-Man: No Way Home. Even Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige considers him this superhero franchise’s “anchor.” However, while Benedict Cumberbatch’s character is firmly allied with various Avengers, the actor doesn’t consider Stephen Strange to be an official member of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

Benedict Cumberbatch explained his reasoning for this while chatting with KCRW about Doctor Strange’s characterization in the MCU. After describing his version of the Master of the Mystic Arts as being “fine with aligning himself with creatures and spirits and everything else that's thrown at him,” which is why he’s able to be a “slight outsider as an Avenger,” Cumberbatch said the following:

People say that you were in the Avengers, but you're not an Avenger, right? No, I'm not. I'm not at Stark Tower with Nick Fury. No, he's sort of outside of that realm, but I don't think that's necessarily a character trait. I think that is just a job title. He's there to protect the reality of the Avengers in a different way to what they have been fighting up until the point that everything collides in the last two Avengers movies, so he holds his position as an adult on the periphery of that, but I think only for so long. There's always a moment where he has to work with people and team up. And you know, we might see that in the next film; you have to wait and see.

It’s like Wong said in the first Doctor Strange movie, it’s up to him and the other sorcerers to protect our reality from the more mystical threats that the Avengers can’t handle. Granted, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange was obviously open to working alongside non-magically gifted heroes in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame when Thanos started causing trouble, but for the most part, the way he protects innocent lives is done much differently compared to what Earth’s Mightiest Heroes do. So while the Avengers can likely count on Strange to lend a hand whenever the next big bad targeting the entirety of the MCU rears their head (maybe that’ll happen in Secret Wars), Cumberbatch doesn’t see his character as a card-carrying member of the superhero team.

After spending the last half decade popping up MCU movies as either an ensemble player or supporting character, the time has finally come for Doctor Strange to lead his own movie again. That said, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will see the title character’s life once again intersecting with other corners of the MCU. Along with Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch joining the fray (the sequel may answer whether or not she’s more powerful than Strange), we’ll also meet Xochitl Gomez’s version of America Chavez. The latest Multiverse of Madness trailer also featured Patrick Stewart’s voice, which naturally prompted many to assume he’ll appear as a Professor X variant

Building on the events of Loki and Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will cast its spell in theaters on May 6. It’s one of many upcoming Marvel movies scheduled for the near future, so keep an eye on CinemaBlend for more news about what the sequel has in store.

Adam Holmes
Adam Holmes

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.