We've heard lots of names bandied about to play Doctor Strange in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — but Rob O. has a great suggestion: Chiwetel Ejiofor. I already believe in him as the Sorcerer Supreme, without seeing a single frame.
So, some folks have complained about a lack of diversity in the Marvel (and DC) cinematic landscapes. I don't disagree. One of my favorite choices for Batman in Batman VS Superman or whatever it's going to be called was the heavy rumor that Idris Elba could play the Dark Knight. I adore this idea. I love color-blind casting so much it's not even funny. I referenced Shido Nakamura as a great choice for The Joker before The Dark Knight cast Ledger in the role. I've always just liked the idea of taking different races and casting them as these legendary characters, not only as a way to breathe new life into the character/role, but also as a way to give a push to an actor who could easily rise to the challenges of a storied character.
There are rumors as to who is going to play the semi-legendary Dr. Strange. For those who don't know, Dr. Strange is supposedly next in line for the Marvel movie treatment. This is interesting news in that it opens up the realm of the supernatural for the Marvel Cinematic Universe the way that Ghost Rider should have (but didn't). By introducing a supernatural element into the fray, we can move beyond technological wizardry and science-induced superpowers. If Iron Man 3 had taken a traditional approach to the Mandarin, we would have gotten a bit of the supernatural involved with the ten rings (as well as some major league science fiction-esque powers), however; the Mandarin was a "great" (depending on who you talk to) bit of misdirection and the real enemy was revealed to be a science-forged baddie.
Dr. Strange, as he exists in the Marvel comic book universe, is a sorcerer, who also happens to be a practicing neurosurgeon. The concept of a surgeon with the hands of a wizard is a pretty sexy one. It reminds me a bit of the anime Blackjack, which tells the story of an unlicensed surgeon with the hands of a god. Giving Dr. Strange that approach would be fascinating, only with a strong supernatural, demon-worshipping element would be a neat way to go about the film.
Now, onto the main purpose for this post. There have been rumors of more white people playing Dr. Strange. Johnny Depp. Justin Theroux (who, of the two, would be my choice). With all the heat coming off one of the finest movies of 2013, 12 Years A Slave, why not go with someone who's not only got the acting chops, but also the intensity to bring a character like Dr. Strange to life? This is a character who battles the supernatural forces from beyond the veil while also existing as a barrier between those two worlds. He's a weathered soldier, to an extent. He's a medical doctor. He's at home in both the world of the living and the world of the damned.
Chiwetel Ejiofor is the guy for the job. An Oscar-caliber performer who's been in a bunch of movies, from Amistad to Serenity. He's clearly at-home with science fiction and grandiose, silly storytelling, but at the same time, an exceptional actor in more traditional pieces.
Ejiofor can also chew the scenery with the best of them, should Marvel decide to take a more lighthearted approach to the character and maybe fully-commit to the "swingin' 60's" vibe of the character. Ejiofor has done comedy before (Kinky Boots), too.
Most importantly, he's coming off tremendous Oscar buzz. The Marvel cinematic universe needs to cash in on Ejiofor's tremendous acting ability, sure, but also needs to cash in on the 12 Years a Slave buzz by casting what is arguably a performance for the ages. Casting Ejiofor also addresses concerns that the Marvel cinematic universe is whitewashed. While I'm sure purists will argue against Ejiofor's casting, I don't see it being that big a deal.
Dr. Strange, in the cinematic universe, existing in his own supernatural, spiritual realm, while also crossing paths with the Scarlet Witch and other Avengers over the course of Phases 2 and 3 is such an exciting prospect. We open the world up. We introduce Dormamu as a potential major villain in the post-Ultron, post-Thanos world. Maybe Dr. Strange can't fully vanquish Dormamu on his own? Maybe he needs The Avengers (and Loki) to do it?
Dr. Strange could easily rise to a leading force in that Avengers lineup. Downey Jr. would finally have an equal in terms of pure gravitas that could maybe spearhead the team in whatever post-Downey Jr. universe exists, if there is one.
The Marvel cinematic universe needs Chiwetel Ejiofor as Dr. Strange. Let's make it happen.