As promised, the teaser trailer for Marvel’s Doctor Strange film debuted Tuesday night on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live. Benedict Cumberbatch, who stars as the title character, made an appearance — though not in-studio — to reveal the first look at the latest Marvel movie superhero.

Actually, that part could have been funnier. Somewhat in character, Cumberbatch introduced himself as Dr. Stephen Strange, along with his famed titles of Sorcerer Supreme and Master of the Mystic Arts, and quickly explained that he wields the Eye of Agamotto and walks the astral plane between life and death itself. Kimmel then asked the magician if he performed at children’s parties and to make a balloon giraffe.

Catchy stuff, though it probably would have been better if he’d sat beside Kimmel to give some background on the film. But all of this was effectively an introduction for the first Doctor Strange trailer, the main reason people were tuning in or checking online soon thereafter. If you haven’t seen it, take a look:

Marvel movies tend to be brighter affairs, so this trailer starts off with a far different tone. Even relatively serious films in which the stakes are high for the heroes, like Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War, the colors pop because of characters like Captain America and Iron Man. But not here, at least not at first.

Even the Marvel Studios logo is cloaked in darkness!


Following the beats of the Dr. Strange comic book mythology, this story doesn’t look like a typical hero’s journey either. Stephen Strange is a renowned surgeon whose hands are horribly injured in an auto accident. Unable to perform surgery, he seeks purpose (and perhaps a cure for his condition) in foreign lands, and travels to Tibet. That’s where he meets The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), who shows him that whole other planes of reality exist.

This trailer is a teaser in every way, providing only brief glimpses of Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Baron Mordo and Mads Mikkelsen, who reportedly plays the villain of the piece. We don’t even see Doctor Strange in costume, unless you count the silhouette at the very end with the hero facing the signature window of the Sanctum Sanctorum. 

Mikkelsen’s character is involved with the eye-popping images in the trailer, reminiscent of Inception, in which the boundaries of reality don’t apply and can be manipulated by a skilled practitioner. Director Scott Derrickson (Sinister) apparently intends to make a mind-bender of a film. At least in certain scenes. That would be faithful to the psychedelic mindscapes artist Steve Ditko created in the original 1960s Marvel comic books.


Up is down, down is up. Why is the floor on the ceiling, man? Landscapes seemingly exist on top of one another. What makes sense? That’s what Doctor Strange is apparently trying to figure out. Previous films like Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy have taken place in different realms, but we apparently haven’t seen anything like this in a Marvel movie before, as the story delves into the supernatural, which is reason for excitement.

Doctor Strange debuts in theaters on Nov. 4.

About Ian Casselberry

Ian is a writer, editor, and podcaster. You can find his work at Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He's written for Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation.

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