Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige only has one film in production at the moment, but that didn’t stop him from presenting both of his studio’s 2016 offerings at the D23 EXPO. Feige gave the crowd an advanced look at DOCTOR STRANGE via concept art that he said will not be seen again until the “Art of” book comes out with the film’s release. The goal was to show DOCTOR STRANGE as something vastly different from anything seen thus far in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, a feat he compared to the one GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY pulled off last year.

While star Benedict Cumberbatch teased the film’s dealings with magic, mysticism, and multiple dimensions as “the usual fare,” the concept art shows DOCTOR STRANGE is anything but. This is definitely an origin story at the outset with art of Cumberbatch’s Stephen Strange as the world’s leading neurosurgeon before an accident takes away his incredible talent. He develops a new set of skills under the tutelage of The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and begins a journey unlike any ever before taken in the superhero movie genre.

Astral projections and alternate dimensions take over and the artwork shown inside Hall 23 looked like incredible, far out fun. Even the landscape of our “normal” Earth changes shape with cities bending and folding like INCEPTION, only weirder, and a wall of cars driving off into the sky with no road beneath them. Director Scott Derrickson is clearly going all-in with the concepts that make Doctor Strange such a unique character in Marvel Comics.

The source material is also being honored via Strange’s costume. As Doctor Strange conjures and fires off golden yellow energy from his hands, he wears a costume that is surprisingly faithful to his enduring comic book aesthetic. The collar has been reeled in a bit, but it’s there along with his red cape and amulet. Stephen Strange also has grey hair along his temples like you’d expect. It’s yet another punch Marvel will not be pulling in bringing the character and his mythology to the big screen.

DR Strange

Confirmed during the panel was the casting of Chiwetel Ejiofor as Karl Amadeus Mordo. The title of “Baron” wasn’t used, but it could be at a later point. There was a very quick shot of art with Ejiofor as Mordo, but it was mostly from the chest up so there wasn’t a good look at his costume. What I could see was green, though, so the color scheme looks right.

Arriving November 4, 2016, DOCTOR STRANGE is the last of seven superhero films scheduled for next year. If ever a film was in danger of falling victim to superhero fatigue, this would be it, except that DOCTOR STRANGE looks almost peerless once it gets past its origin sequence and it’s unknown exactly how that will be woven into the film anyway. Kevin Feige said Marvel hopes to “continue to expand what a comic book film is and what a Marvel Cinematic Universe film is.” Scott Derrickson, Benedict Cumberbatch, and the Marvel visual development team appear happy to oblige.

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