'Doctor Strange' Director Reveals the Actor Behind Villain Dormammu

Nick Schager
·Writer
Doctor Strange encounters the Dark Dimension (Disney/Marvel)
Doctor Strange encounters the Dark Dimension (Disney/Marvel)

Marvel Studios’ winning streak continued last weekend with the debut of Doctor Strange, which in less than a week of release has already earned a staggering $91 million in the U.S., and $331.9 million globally. Obviously, moviegoers were hungry for a magical, mystical adventure featuring the comic-book giant’s Sorcerer Supreme-in-training. And now, director Scott Derrickson has revealed some secrets about the blockbuster — including the surprising actor who voiced the saga’s universe-devouring villain, Dormammu.

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In a wide-ranging interview with Empire, Derrickson dropped a dozen revelations about his contribution to the MCU, and the most surprising of all is that it’s Doctor Strange himself, Benedict Cumberbatch, who provided the facial motion-capture and voice (blended with another actor’s, to make his participation less clear) for Strange’s intergalactic adversary:

“The reason for that was threefold. One, Benedict suggested it. [Two], the awesomeness of his voice — he was Smaug, of course. [Three,] he understood exactly who Dormammu was. He’s the ultimate cosmic narcissist. There was something great about the mirrored relationship between the two of them.”

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That’s not the only bombshell Derrickson drops in his latest chat. He discloses that both James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) shot scenes for Doctor Strange — specifically, the Stan Lee cameo and the Thor post-credits stinger, respectively (something Yahoo Movies’ Marcus Errico reported a few days ago; see What ‘Doctor Strange’ Means to the Future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe). Furthermore, he says that Nightmare was almost the film’s villain, until Marvel bigwig Kevin Feige (who’s dubbed the MCU’s “head writer”) decided that explaining that bad guy’s Dream Dimension would make the storyline too complicated.

And most tantalizing of all? In a throwaway line about a new patient in Strange’s hospital who’s been struck by lightning, Doctor Strange may have sown the seeds for Marvel’s upcoming Captain Marvel starring Brie Larson. On that topic, which Errico also addressed in his article last weekend, Derrickson remains coy, stating:

“All I can is…maybe. That one, you’re going to have to wait and see…”

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Fans will undoubtedly continue hunting for such Easter eggs in Doctor Strange, which is now playing in theaters across the country. Click over to Empire to read Derrickson’s entire Doctor Strange interview.

‘Doctor Strange’ director Scott Derrickson talks ‘unshootable’ final fight scene: