Benedict Cumberbatch is best known for his role as Doctor Strange in various films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, before he donned Doctor Strange’s cape, he was offered a different, more villainous role in the MCU.
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Speaking on BBC Radio 1 (Movie based on comics), Cumberbatch revealed that he was indeed offered – and subsequently turned down – the role of the dark elf Malekith in the 2013 film. Thor: The Dark World. Although he was «really flattered by the invitation to the party», Cumberbatch ultimately turned down the opportunity because he had just played Khan in Star Trek: Into Darknessand didn’t want to go back to being another bad guy.
«I was brave enough to say, ‘I prefer something spicier,'» Cumberbatch said. «I didn’t really participate in the conversation until he came back to me through [representatives] what they were interested in.
It was a smart move for Cumberbatch, as Thor: The Dark World it was ultimately largely panned by critics and fans alike, and is often cited as one of the worst films in the MCU. While Cumberbatch was successful in pursuing a bigger role, he was still a bit apprehensive about taking the risk of playing Doctor Strange. According to the actor, Strange’s past actions and characterizations in the early days of comics nearly prevented him from joining the film.
«I was kind of reading the comics and I was like ‘cheers’ because he’s pretty old-fashioned, a bit of a misogynist, very attached to the ’70s,» Cumberbatch said. “I thought, ‘This is a little cornball. I’m not sure if this is a great MCU [role]. I don’t understand. They said, “No, it will be today. It would be a very modern person. Yes, with some of these qualities, but a modern person must have those qualities in which he thinks he is a business, because he must have this arrogance.
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Despite his hesitation, Cumberbatch eventually took on the role and to say it worked would be an understatement. His latest take on Doctor Strange appeared in the recently released Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madnessa film that has already made over $500 million at the box office and is likely to continue climbing the charts and earning much more.