How Marvel Chose Art Over Earnings with Benedict Cumberbatch’s Casting in ‘Doctor Strange’


Marvel Studios made a bold move with ‘Doctor Strange’ by choosing Benedict Cumberbatch over other A-list actors. This decision wasn’t just about casting, it was about committing to the right fit for a character that would shape the future of the MCU.

Originally, Joaquin Phoenix was in talks for the role, but concerns about multi-film commitments led him to step back. At that point, the director, Scott Derrickson, realized they needed someone perfect for the role, not just a big name. He believed so strongly in Cumberbatch that he convinced Marvel to delay the film’s release from summer to fall to accommodate the actor’s schedule.

Marvel typically prioritizes box office performance, but in this case, they opted for the artistic choice. Derrickson shared in an interview with Slash Film that he went to Kevin Feige, who then spoke with Disney executives Bob Iger and Alan Horn. Thanks to their flexibility, they moved the movie’s release date to ensure Cumberbatch could join.

This shift was unusual for Marvel, a studio often seen as focusing on profits. However, this time, they prioritized the long-term impact of getting the perfect Doctor Strange over immediate financial gains. And looking at how pivotal Doctor Strange has become in the MCU, it’s clear that this was a wise choice.

We appreciate Marvel’s decision to put the integrity of the MCU and the quality of its characters first, showing that sometimes the best choice for a movie involves risks that really pay off in the end.

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