News of Joaquin Phoenix (perhaps) taking on the role Doctor Strange is spreading like wildfire, and Marvel is looking past Thor, Captain America, and “Avengers 2″ to the good Doctor! But who is Doctor Strange? If you’re not a die-hard comics reader, Moviefone has everything you need to know about Marvel’s Master of the Mystic Arts.
Who is Doctor Strange? Stephen Strange is a skilled but arrogant neurosurgeon who is only driven by money. A car accident cripples his hands, leaving him unable to work. Desperately seeking a cure for his handicap, he travels the world seeking out alternative remedies, until he finds himself in the Himalayas, under the care of a mystic old man, known as the Ancient One. After saving the Ancient One’s life, Strange becomes his pupil and learns humility, wisdom… and a little thing called magic.
Throughout the years, Strange wields a growing arsenal of magic powers, putting him into conflict with demons, gods, and witches in this dimension and the next. Along the way, he is aided by Wong, his martial arts practicing sidekick, and Clea, a sorceress and love interest.
Who is the villain? At the risk of certain death by sneaking into top-secret Disney meetings, we can safely speculate that the “Strange” movie will feature up to three villains. The first is Baron Mordo, the first spell-casting disciple of the Ancient One who plots to kill his mentor with black magic. Mordo serves the dread Dormammu, a flaming-head-ed tyrant of the Dark Dimension. Then there are the Mindless Ones, big rocky, humanoids that do the bidding of whoever summons them.
If we could make a rough “Lord of the Rings” analogy: The Mindless Ones = Orcs, Baron Mordo = Saruman, and Dormammu = Sauron.
What is the movie about? Don’t get too ahead of yourself with visions of Strange tangling with the most fantastical creatures of the Marvel Universe. Expect an origin story, as Strange learns to control his new powers. This movie will also serve as one of the tentpoles of Phase 3, the wave of Marvel movies that will follow “Avengers 2″ and hope to expand upon the adventures of Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and Chris Hemsworth. We’ll be treated to new characters, new genres, and perhaps a team of new Avengers.
What should I read? Check out the gallery below for a crash-course in everything Doctor Strange, from his magical first appearance to his current adventures.
Gallery | Dr. Strange Comics To Read
- Doctor Strange, Vol. 1 (Marvel Masterworks)
Where it all began, featuring the writing of the legendary Stan Lee and the surreal, psychedelic art of Steve Ditko.
- Essential Doctor Strange
If you’re little more budget-conscious, this black-and-white collection gathers a massive tome of early Strange stories.
- Doctor Strange: Beginnings and Endings
This modern mini-series, written by screenwriter J. Michael Straczynski (“World War Z”) actually started out as the script for a big-screen movie, and was re-formatted for comics.
- Dr. Strange: Season One
A modern graphic novel that looks at the adventure that happens just after the origin story.
- Dr. Strange Vs. Dracula: The Montesi Formula
Gee, I dunno, what’s it about?
- Dr. Strange: Strange Tales
This collection of ’80s tales features Strange dabbling in black magic to battle an array of crazy mystical monsters.
- Dr. Strange & Dr. Doom: Triumph & Torment
Possibly the best “Dr. Strange” story ever, his graphic novel sees the hero being forced to team with the classic bad guy and venturing into Hell to rescue the soul of Doom’s dearly departed mother. Features art from “Hellboy” creator Mike Mignola.
- Doctor Strange: The Oath
The best recent “Strange” story sees the Marvel hero embracing the doctor part of his name to save the life of his loyal sidekick.
- Doctor Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme (DVD | Blu-ray)
Hey look at that, a movie! This direct-to-DVD animated movie feature should get you caught up if you don’t have time to read comic books.
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Article photo courtesy Marvel