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Marvel's long awaited venture into the mystic world of magic finally seems within our grasp as Doctor Strange is set to join the Cinematic Universe in November. The good doctor, portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch, has already shown us that he's definitely got the look of our favorite sorcerer. And hopefully we can all agree that this is going to be an incredible venture for Marvel as we will see the magic and supernatural forces on display. Doctor Strange is one of the most famous magic users in all of comics, and with his rise to fame he has become one of Marvel's most popular characters, period.
Once an arrogant and selfish surgeon, Stephen Strange lost the use of his hands in a car accident and went on a trip to Tibet to seek a mystical way to heal himself. Through his adventure, he quickly became caught up in the world of magic. Soon after he was mentored by the powerful Ancient One, and after leaving he went on to become the Sorcerer Supreme and resides in his Sanctum Sanctorum, which is mystically hidden in New York City. With that in mind, let's look at a few things that you may not know about the good Doctor.
8. There is a 'Doctor Strange' graphic novel that you can't read.
Steve Ditko is often associated with being the primary illustrator for Doctor Strange, and, in fact, Stan Lee even admits that the good doctor was Ditko's idea and that Lee just backed him in creating it since they needed more characters. And over the years, Ditko was paramount in the Doctor Strange stories, yet there is a graphic novel that will never be read. Apparently Ditko wrote and illustrated an entire Doctor Strange graphic novel for his personal collection and never had it published, let alone viewed by the masses.
7. He's (technically) appeared in a live-action film before.
In 1978, a straight-to-television film was created starring Peter Hooten as Stephen Strange. The movie entitled Dr. Strange was aired on CBS in hopes that it would spawn a television series. The backdoor pilot didn't quite get off the ground at CBS, even though the network had already picked up shows based on The Incredible Hulk and Spider-Man. We all just kind of block this idea from our heads because it was just that bad.
6. Stephen Strange hasn't always been the Sorcerer Supreme
By definition, according to Marvel, the Sorcerer Supreme is a magical being who "is a practitioner of the mystic or magic arts who has greater skills than all others or commands a greater portion of the ambient magical energies than any other organism on a given world or dimension." And, although that is quite a mouthful, there have been quite a few to hold the title of Sorcerer Supreme over the millennia, including Merlin himself. Although most recently the role has been held by Doctor Voodoo (Jericho Drumm) twice: from 1992-1995 and again in 2009 before Strange reclaimed the title. In alternate universes, the Sorcerer Supreme has even been Tony Stark and Victor Von Doom.
5. Stan Lee wasn't convinced 'Dr. Strange' would last.
Ironically enough, Stan Lee is often given the credit for creating Dr. Strange while Steve Ditko is given credit for the visual style of the world he's surrounded by. Yet in 1963, Lee wrote a letter to Dr. Jerry Bails, a super-fan at the time. In the letter he wrote:
"Well, we have a new character in the works for STRANGE TALES (just a 5-page filler named DR. STRANGE--) Steve Ditko is gonna draw him. Sort of a black magic theme. The first story is nothing great, but perhaps we can make something of him-- 'twas Steve's idea, and I figgered we'd give it a chance, although again, we had to rush the first one too much.
So, the idea came from Ditko, and Lee just 'figgered' that they'd run with it.
4. Benedict Cumberbatch almost didn't get the role of Doctor Strange.
There were countless actors on the short list for portraying Stephen Strange, including Jared Leto, Justin Theroux, Jon Hamm, Ewan McGregor, Johnny Depp and even Jake Gyllenhaal. Although one actor in particular was THIS CLOSE to becoming the Sorcerer Supreme: Joaquin Phoenix. He spent more than three months actively negotiating for the role with Marvel Studios before eventually deciding against it.
3. He fell in love with the niece of his mystical enemy.
One of Dr. Strange's longest running antagonists was actually the enemy of his mentor, the Ancient One, before his death. After the Ancient One died, Stephen Strange took on the fight with the demon of the Dark Dimension, Dormammu. While Dormammu was trapped in the Dark Dimension, he met and was helped by a beautiful mystic. Strange went to face with the demon and defeated him, Strange them bargained for his life, Earth, and the life of the mystic who turned out to be Dormammu's niece, Clea. The two eventually married.
2. His powers have been 'nerfed' in recent stories.
In his hay-day, Dr. Strange was one of the most powerful beings in all of Marvel comics. Yes, that includes cosmic entities and all the abstract beings in the universe. In the "classic" iteration of Dr. Strange, prior to the '80s, he could easily hold his own against an Infinity Gauntlet wielding Adam Warlock, and he even regularly faced off against the Living Tribunal. The most recent version of Dr. Strange has become much less 'all-powerful' as he has been defeated recently by a band of Hand Ninjas.
1. He is often confused with other 'Strange' characters.
What would a superhero be without some name confusion? Technically in the Marvel Universe, Stephen Strange was not the first character to go by the moniker Doctor Strange, as there was a short lived villain that went by the same name prior to Stephen taking the name years later. Yet, that is not the only common mix-up relating to poor old Stephen. Over the years, several other characters have popped up and caused some name-swapping, including Doc Strange (Nedor Comics), Dr. Strangelove (Stanley Kubrick), Hugo Strange (Batman villain) and even Doctor Strangefate (Amalgam Comics).