Benedict Cumberbatch is undoubtedly one of the MCU’s biggest current stars. As Doctor Strange, the (former) Sorceror Supreme, we’ve become very familiar with him over several movies, including some of the highest-grossing movies of all time with Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, and Spider-Man: No Way Home. It’s hard to see anyone else filling the cape at this point. But apparently, Cumberbatch turned down a role from Marvel before Strange and it seems like he made the right choice.
In a recent interview with BBC Radio 1, Benedict Cumberbatch told the story of how he was initially offered the role of Malekith in Thor: The Dark World. If you’re not super familiar with that character, you couldn’t really be blamed. Thor: The Dark World is rated as one of the worst movies to come out of the MCU and Malekith was a largely forgettable part of it. The movie has a 66% from critics and a 75% from audiences on Rotten Tomatoes.
While that’s not terrible, it’s definitely not up to MCU standards. It wasn’t really the fault of Christopher Eccleston, who took on the role, as he was covered in layers of makeup and didn’t have much of a script or motivation to work from. It’s likely that Benedict Cumberbatch might not have fared much better. The Thor franchise ended up going in the right direction, but Malekith was not along for that ride.
Fortunately for us and for Benedict Cumberbatch, he politely declined the role and decided to hold out for something further down the line. This decision would work out quite well for him, as we’ve seen. Funnily enough, Cumberbatch was hesitant to take that role as well, saying Strange was “a bit of a misogynist, very bound in the ’70s.” It seems like Marvel showed him that the character would be different from that, as he ended up accepting the role. Not only did he get his own solo movie, but he is often featured in team-ups or as a supporting character in other movies. He even appeared in the animated Disney+ series to voice Strange in What If…? It’s pretty clear that Benedict Cumberbatch has got a lot more mileage out of the MCU than he would have if he accepted the role of Malekith. We will likely get plenty more appearances from Doctor Strange in the future, so the choice Cumberbatch made all those years ago seems like it will continue paying dividends.
Benedict Cumberbatch’s most recent foray as Doctor Strange is currently in theaters. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness sees Strange opening up the door to the multiverse. The movie is directed by Sam Raimi with a script from Michael Waldron and co-stars Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams, Xochitl Gomez, and more. The movie has already surpassed $500 million at the box office with more to come. If you want to catch up with Doctor Strange and the MCU at large, make sure to check out Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in theaters.