Sure, Robert Downey Jr.’s performance and presence as Tony Stark is considered by many to be one of the most quintessential and memorable aspects of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But he’s far from alone in that respect. Chris Evans' Captain America, Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, and Tom Holland’s Spider-Man easily rank right up there with the Iron Avenger. However, it’s someone else who has fallen into place as the center of the MCU, in a role which would be nearly impossible to see anyone else play: Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange.
The character will come back next in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but most audiences recently saw him patch up his nearly universe-ending botch in Spider-Man: No Way Home. He has played a key role in the wider universe ever since his introduction back in 2016, and the moment he entered the scene, the significance of his portrayal was not lost on the masses.
Before the role of the sorcerer was even cast, Cumberbatch was used in many a fancast; something Marvel Studios, and the actor himself, clearly agreed with. Now, it would be strange to have an MCU without the famous actor and the hero he brings to life.
The actor has now received a special honor for his part in the biggest cohesive cinematic universe to date following his first few years of magical service.
Doctor Strange Gets Honored
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is an iconic sidewalk that holds the names of some of the most famous actors to ever grace the screen. Now, one more name in engraved in its concrete: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness star Benedict Cumberbatch.
In attendance was Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, who had a speech prepared for the Sorcerer Supreme hopeful, which was captured on stream thanks to Variety.
Feige started off by reminiscing about visiting the famous sidewalk and how “it’s always special to come witness someone get their star:”
“This is awesome, this is incredible, this is um, an iconic street to have literally put in stone your legacy. I love the Walk of Fame, it has meant so much to me over my whole life coming here as a tourist and to see you get this is heartwarming and really means a lot. It’s always special to come witness somebody get their star and you might say, one might say that there’s a little bit of magic to watch these sidewalk ceremonies, and of course that’s particularly appropriate considering who we’re honoring here today.”
He continued on to point out how Benedict has played “so many roles,” including the likes of Hamlet, Sherlock Holmes, and Khan from Star Trek. However, the Marvel boss put extra emphasis on how the famous actor is “the first, the best, the greatest, and the only Doctor Stephen Strange.”
“There are so many roles you’ve played Benedict, that have made you worthy of this prestigious honor. You were an amazing Hamlet. You were an incredible Sherlock Holmes. You were the second best Khan ever, ever. You were brilliant in all the iconic roles, but to us and to millions around the globe, you deserve this honor for being the first, the best, the greatest and the only Doctor Stephen Strange.”
Feige expressed how Benedict Cumberbatch has become “the anchor of the Marvel Cinematic Universe” due to his "tremendous" vision for where he could take Doctor Strange as a character:
“Benedict has turned this character into an icon, appearing in a historic three of the top six films of all time. It’s been quite a journey. I remember our very first meeting was set up as a general, and we wanted to pitch him this great character, and before we could, he said ‘So tell me about Doctor Strange,’ because you knew. Because somewhere you knew what this could be and you’ve always seen the tremendous potential in this character. Because of that, you’ve become the anchor of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the only actor capable of guiding us through the madness of the Multiverse.”
The famous producer finished by “speak[ing] on behalf of the world and particularly of Marvel Studios,” congratulating Cumberbatch and telling him “we love you...thank you:”
“And of course, it’s not just the roles on-screen that make you so remarkable. It’s the roles off-screen as well: husband, father, creative collaborator, partner, actor with the busiest schedule in the world who gives our physical production team heartburn trying to make the dates work, and friend. Thank you sir, for your extraordinary contributions to the MCU and to the industry from Shakespeare to Roddenberry, from 221B Baker Street to 177A Bleeker Street, you have secured a well-deserved place in history with this star. And I know I speak on behalf of the world and particularly of Marvel Studios, I say congratulations and we love you. Thank you."
The Anchor of the MCU
With Iron Man out of commission and Steve Rogers off the table for now, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Stephen Strange certainly seems like one of the most important and prominent figures in the MCU. After all, he’s still responsible for safeguarding all of reality, even if he isn’t the Sorcerer Supreme proper.
His upcoming film, Multiverse of Madness, certainly seems like it will be giving him a run for his money in that regard. Not only does he have Gargantos and a fragile Multiverse to deal with, but there's also a Scarlet Witch who seems to be losing it.
Given the ever-expanding nature of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Strange obviously isn’t the only immensely important character in the grand scheme of things. With so many different elements at play, there will likely never again be a time where that position can be claimed by one person.
That is, unless it's Jonathan Majors’ Kang the Conqueror, who would likely give the title to himself.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits theaters on May 6.