DOCTOR STRANGE WIll Travel To The Astral Plane

Expect it to get weird.

This isn't so much news as it is confirmation of what we hoped - Doctor Strange will be opening up new territories in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, most specifically the Astral Plane. Talking to the Wall Street Journal, Cumberbatch said:

"I don’t think it’s a risk because of Marvel. Marvel is a stable of bringing out ordinary comic characters and turning them into screen-like gods. It’s very different, it’s an Astral Plane. There’s a huge new element to this Marvel universe that’s going to be employed in building this story and this character. But you know, I’m really excited about it, about working with Scott [Derrickson] whose imagination is endless, and all the boys and girls at Marvel who know what they’re doing."

I don't know how you make a Doctor Strange movie without going into the Astral Plane, but I like hearing it from the source. In Marvel Comics The Astral Plane is a dimension that can only be visited psychically; Strange will often sit in his study, meditating, while his mind is engaged in massive battles in the Astral Plane. The stakes are just as high there as in the real world, but it's a completely different sort of environment. The Astral Plane will hopefully mean the end of Doctor Strange won't be 'stuff crashing into buildings'... unless they go Inception with it and make the Astral Plane like the dream world, but Christ I hope not. In the comics The Astral Plane is a weird, trippy looking place that could be unlike anything we've ever seen in a mainstream movie. Think of that bit at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy when Star-Lord sees his mom and the world fades away into some strange space dimension - that is what the Astral Plane looks like. 

Doctor Strange could also be very unique in the MCU for another reason. Says Cumberbatch: 

"It’s quite a way off but I’m very excited about that spiritual dimension, obviously. It’s something that’s been a huge part of my life."

As it is the life of director Scott Derrickson, who is a man of faith (the Christian faith specifically). This doesn't guarantee that Doctor Strange will approach this material in a unique way, but it certainly helps. Hearing Cumberbatch say that definitely explains a bit of his decision-making process on taking this role. Will an exploration of spirituality work in the context of a superheroic mystic movie? I don't know, but I definitely am interested in finding out.