We had a glimpse of the beginnings of the Sorcerer Supreme during last Tuesday’s unveiling of the first official teaser of Disney and Marvel’s Doctor Strange. Being a teaser in itself, it shows us a glimpse of how the enigmatic Stephen Vincent Strange struggled to find purpose and meaning after his world, his ‘reality’ collapsed before him during a tragic accident that shattered his promising career as a top notch neurosurgeon. In case you’re not one of the 7 million souls who have seen it already, here’s the official teaser.
Even before the teaser’s release, we already had a feel of how Doctor Strange (portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch) will be portrayed on the big screen. The promotional concept art that was earlier released is in itself a psychedelic mix of light and darkness, reflective of Strange’s inner turmoil. The film also stands out as Marvel’s first attempt to dive into magic and mysticism in the context of its cinematic universe in contrast to science and gods reigning in Phase 1 and 2.
At the helm of Doctor Strange is Director Scott Derrickson – who is known for his works in horror films such as Sinister, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Hellraiser: Inferno and 2014’s demonic detective thriller Deliver Us From Evil. Perhaps even more interesting than having a director on board that specializes in horror movies, is the fact that Derrickson himself is a devout Christian. As Jesse Carey of Relevant Magazine pointed out, “Not only is Derrickson currently one of the most influential directors in the horror genre, he’s also a devout Christian who isn’t afraid to incorporate deeper spiritual messages into his films.”
Earlier in 2015, Derrickson already hinted through his Tweeter account that Doctor Strange will not just be a feast for the senses as we see the Sorcerer Supreme wields his most powerful spells, but more of a journey of self-discovery as he strives to overcome his personal doubts, struggles, and unbelief.
"Who has a harder fight than he who is striving to overcome himself?" -Thomas A. Kempis pic.twitter.com/kTPvJvPnj4
— Scott Derrickson (@scottderrickson) November 5, 2015
I know what it is to sink to the depth; to be on bended knee before God, screaming for deliverance – Doctor Strange pic.twitter.com/YOJXqjw5gK
— Scott Derrickson (@scottderrickson) October 29, 2015
This was made very clear in the film’s official teaser when Strange boldly declared, “I don’t believe in fairy tales about chakras or energy or the power of belief,” only to be broken later by an overwhelming sense of helplessness and ignorance that lead him to beg the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), “Teach me!” Director Derrickson made an excellent call of emphasizing in the teaser the struggles that Strange has to go through before he emerges in the end as the Sorcerer Supreme donned with the Cloak of Levitation.
As Carey accurately pointed out, “What has helped make Derrickson so influential is that he seems to understand—and illuminate—that what makes darkness so compelling isn’t just the scares or thrills it offers; but that at the end of the day, it actually has the potential to point audiences toward the light.”
More than just showcasing the power of sorcery and the magical arts, perhaps this is what audiences will eventually appreciate in Disney and Marvel’s Doctor Strange as soon as it hits US theaters on November 4, 2016.
Doctor Strange, starring Benedict Cumberbatch (Black Mass, The Imitation Game), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave, The Martian), Rachel McAdams (Southpaw, Sherlock Holmes) and Michael Stuhlbarg (Steve Jobs, A Serious Man) with Mads Mikkelsen (Clash of the Titans, Casino Royale) and Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton, The Grand Budapest Hotel). The film is directed by Scott Derrickson (Sinister, The Exorcism of Emily Rose) and produced by Kevin Feige with Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Charles Newirth, Stephen Broussard and Stan Lee serving as executive producers.