Rachel McAdams in Doctor Strange

When Rachel McAdams was first involved and announced, there was this sort of assumption that if you’re having a female lead in a Doctor Strange movie that it would be Clea. You’ve gone with a much more grounded character. Can you talk about the decision to leave that character for a future adventure?

Kevin Feige: We wanted a grounded character. We wanted a character that was a connection to Strange’s life in New York City, in the normal world. Somebody that could be his anchor to the real world, to his present in the beginning of the film, and by the time he re-encounters her, wearing that, someone who can comment on his transformation as a character. This cast as you all know is shockingly amazing, and Rachel, who’s finished 99% of her role – perfect timing so she can spend time at the Academy Awards now, we planned it like that – is great and can bring again a grounded reality to the character of Strange at the beginning of the film and of course as she encounters some odd and strange and other-worldly when he, encounters her late in the movie, you believe it. You believe that her reaction to what she is seeing like, say, an astral form or somebody that she used to know as an arrogant surgeon. Her reaction is funny but you also buy it.

At the end of Ant-Man, one of the end scenes, Hope van Dyne sees the Wasp suit, and says ‘about damn time’ which I think a lot of fans felt the same way. What’s going to make this character different from the litany of superhero girlfriends that have come before? There were super-powered girlfriends for Doctor Strange, but you’re going with the human.  What makes her different?

Kevin Feige: The super-powered girlfriend for Strange wasn’t in the first issue. There’s a lot of backstory required for her, which is one of the reason we didn’t go that way. There’s so much to set up in this. I think it’s always a huge mistake when you throw the kitchen sink and everything in the first movie. I don’t think it’s a mistake to put every great idea into the first movie, because I’ve always said there won’t be a second movie if you go ‘we’ll hold back these ideas for another one. Oh no, you’ve ruined the first one’. So we put in all the great ideas that can be brought into the film in the service of introducing the world to an audience who’s never heard of it and doesn’t know it from a hole in the wall. And we thought that an inter-dimensional girlfriend that’s the daughter of an inter-dimensional demon-esque creature was a step too far in introducing this world.

Additional Doctor Strange Scenes - Benedict Cumberbatch

I’m really interested in how Stephen Strange changes. Not just becoming a magic user but from that arrogant neurosurgeon. Does his arrogance alter as he goes through this journey or is he still arrogant but with immense magical powers?

Kevin Feige: We’ve talked about that in comparison to Tony Stark, who is an arrogant, witty fellow at the beginning of the movie who sells weapons and then as an arrogant, witty fellow at the end of the movie who doesn’t sell weapons, who channels his wit and his intelligence into something else but is kind of the same guy. Strange’s transformation is much complete than that. He really does begin to recognize the way he was acting earlier and the reasons he was acting like that earlier are things that he identifies and attempts to correct over the course of the movie. So he is, he is very much a different guy at the end of the film at the beginning, not just because he wears a cool outfit instead of scrubs.

is the eye of agamotto an infinity gem in doctor strange?

There are a few Infinity Stones we haven’t seen yet. Might one of them be important to this movie?

Kevin Feige: If you’re tracking such things, perhaps. But we don’t get into it in this movie because, again, we’ve got…

Shall we look at an eye of Agamotto?

Kevin Feige: It’s closed. You can look at it as long as you want. But again, there’s a lot to take in in this movie, there are a lot of new concepts, there are a lot of new characters, there’s a lot of new mythologies that we didn’t to clutter up by telling you about other MacGuffins.

In terms of this film’s role in Phase 3 or the greater MCU, is this film’s role because it’s the first Doctor Strange movie is to introduce magic and the character or does it need to lay groundwork for Infinity War?

Kevin Feige: All the above. All the above. Most obviously it’ll introduce a new character who will be in play in the universe, but once you have gotten an audience to buy into a new concept then it’s fun to keep, to play-off, or spin-off that concept down the line.

Doctor Strange and Iron Man

How aware is Strange of what is happening in the MCU currently?

Kevin Feige: It doesn’t come up much in this film. One would imagine that anyone living in New York was aware of what had occurred in various instances. But like in our real life, people go about their daily business, their job, and his job is to be the best neurosurgeon and to take the best cases and to get the most attention and to get the most accolades and that’s what he’s focussed on until his accident. So he doesn’t spend a lot of time talking or thinking about The Avengers.

What is Strange’s role in the MCU? In the comics, he’s always been something of a fringe character, who pops in when he’s needed. In the MCU, we’ve really enjoyed just watching these characters hangout. Is Strange going to be the kind of character who would pop up in an end-credits sequence listening to Tony Stark babble or is he character that’s only going to be involved when things are bad?

Kevin Feige: I don’t think he does a lot of hanging out, necessarily. No, he usually gets involved when – as I said, he’s not going to intervene in the bodega crime down the street. But as things get bigger and as threats get bigger he can serve a very good purpose and can make his presence known.

Is Spider-Man going to swing by the Sanctum Sanctorum for advice about something in school? Is he going to be that involved in the MCU? Or is he only going to pop in again in Infinity War?

Kevin Feige: Time will tell. Time will tell.

Doctor Strange Trailer breakdown 13

What genre is this?

Kevin Feige: Well, you should ask Scott, I think it does tap into a supernatural type of genre that is not horror. People say ‘Scott’s movies are kind of scary, is this a horror movie?’ Of course, it’s not a horror movie. But what Scott has done so well in the best of his films is have one foot completely in the real world and one foot in this whatever supernatural subgenre he was playing with. I do think we’ve looked at this film not with any direct genre comparison but as a play on the supernatural genre. Certainly more so than we’ve done in the past, which is what makes his journey from person that doesn’t wear a cape to person who does wear a cape – cloak, much more unique than we’ve seen in the past.

Also, you should also talk to Alex. Alex has designed, I think, more red capes than anyone else. I swear, and you can look at it, you can look at the inside of that too. It’s always my fear that you put a red cape on somebody and – I thought people would think Thor was Superman for the longest time. She designed the original Thor cape. The red cape that goes over the shoulder of Thor, the folds on the back. This cloak – the asymmetry to it, the design, the specificity of it – is astounding. When you are designing something that is quite extreme in the comics and you see that collar is not shy around his neck there, you want to do justice to it but you also want it – there’s a reason these characters feel unique in the comics as well – you want to bring that to life. She’s done that in an amazing way. The cloak, unlike Thor’s cape or Superman’s cape or Vision’s cape, as you may recall from the comics, I wouldn’t say has sentience, but is not just a piece of fabric. It helps Strange out in ways that other character’s clothing has not.

Doctor Strange Trailer breakdown 17

Will this movie defy expectations? That’s something you guys always have to do now. For example, Ant-Man, we’re going to do the finale in a bedroom. And maybe not specific to the ending, how does this movie – aside from obviously the supernatural and the magic – maybe in more of a straight story way?

Kevin Feige: Well, without spoiling things, it’s hard to say. I do think that as I said before the canvas of action sequences and the way in which the sequences unfurl will be very unique and will be different than any movie we’ve made before, and that’s what makes it interesting, what makes it special, and what makes it worth pursuing, and worth bringing to life for the first time. We do not want to repeat ourselves or do what’s been done before necessarily, and when you have a track record now you can either do that and keep, this seems to work and let’s keep doing this – which some people accuse us of no matter what, because I don’t think they pay attention, but really what we do is say, ‘Okay, we have a studio that trusts us and let’s us do what we want for the most part with the creative. We have audiences that seem to be embracing whether they’ve heard of the characters or not. Let’s use that to make as interesting and different and unique a story as possible and not just stay with the same thing.’ And this movie is certainly the embodiment of that.

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