D23: Marvel Gives The First Hints Of DOCTOR STRANGE

Concept art reveals a weirder entry in the MCU saga.

While Doctor Strange hasn't even started filming yet (that's November), Kevin Feige didn't come to Disney's D23 Fan Expo empty handed: beyond a video of Benedict Cumberbatch saying hi (in which he accidentally did the Vulcan salute before saying "Wrong crowd!"), Feige showed off early concept art for Scott Derrickson's film.

It was very quick, and much of the art flashed by in a blink, but what we were shown gave the impression that Doctor Strange will be an origin story after all, starting off with Stephen Strange in a penthouse office as the world's greatest nuerosurgeon. Then a terrible car wreck destroys his hands and his livelihood, and Strange goes off seeking healing everywhere he can, eventually seeking out the mystical. The concept art showed off an ancient-looking Asian city, with a square full of what appeared to be kung fu monks. It wasn't easy to make out everything that was happening, although there certainly seemed to be a frame in which an Aboriginal mystic is punching through someone - Strange? It was certainly cool. 

The concept art version of Strange was Benedict Cumberbatch with grey temples and what looked like a Van Dyke. Concept art Strange has an enormous flowing red cape, but it doesn't have the dramatic collar that comic book Strange has. His outfit is not a standardized superhero suit, and not even the standardized 'this is a leather outfit that is sort of like a superhero suit' thing (which speaks to Kevin Feige's remarks at D23 about wanting Doctor Strange to expand what an MCU movie can be). It looks like good old cloth, and it's blue-ish and he has, hanging low from his neck, what looked to me like an amulet that could be the Eye of Agamotto. He looked cool, and could be easily and immediately identified as Strange. 

The other aspect of the concept art was a showcase of other-dimensional landscapes. It looked as though the color schemes of Earth and other dimensions would be quite different, with the other dimensions having more saturated appearances. One piece of art had Strange standing in a Ditko-esque weird universe, not unlike what we saw at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy. Other art gave the impression of buildings transforming in Inception-like ways and of destroyed landscapes. 

Then there was the floating car stuff. A number of pieces of art showcased cars floating in what appears to be New York City, and figures hopping between them. What made the floating car art intriguing - for the seconds in which I could see it - is that the cars appeared to be in formation, indicating a high degree of control. One piece had cars floating up in a stream, lined up and three or four side by side. 

The very final bit we saw was concept footage of someone's hands glowing and then firing energy blasts, very haduken-style. It was cool, and indicated that there's gonna be at least some wham-bam stuff in the movie. I'm sure that the energy blasts and floating cars are all third act stuff. 

I liked what I saw, even though it was so brief. I apologize for any mistakes here - I'm reporting what I perceived, and who knows if I got every detail right! I'm also leaving things out, like a quick look at Chiwetel Ejiofor as Baron Mordo, but it was very fast and he seemed to just be wearing some sort of Eastern outfit. There was also a glimpse of a fight in what appeared to be the Sanctum Sanctorum, judging by the famous window glimpsed in the background. Overall the impression was good, and except for the floating cars (I'm sort of worried that the finale is going to fall back on very tired city in peril stuff) the concept art looked nothing like we've ever seen in the MCU before.