Ranking the 3 Amazing Actors Marvel's Considering as Doctor Strange's Mentor

Doctor Strange will likely be one of Marvel's most ambitious phase three projects. With fan-favorite Benedict Cumberbatch on board as the Sorcerer Supreme himself, and a level of magic and the supernatural that's once again going to test just how far this movie universe will stretch, it's slated to be a huge undertaking.

Reportedly, there's just one major role left to fill, that of Strange's teacher, the Ancient One. In the comics, this character is the mentor of both Doctor Strange, and Strange's nemesis Baron Mordo.

After sustaining serious injuries in a car crash, Strange travels to Tibet to seek out the Ancient One, in the hopes of finding a way to heal himself. The Ancient One ends up teaching Strange his magic-ey ways, eventually passing on the title of Sorcerer Supreme.

If rumors prove to be true, Marvel is eyeing some huge names for the part.

Here are the 3 actors rumored to be on the studio's shortlist, ranked in order of increasing Ancient One-y-ness.

1. Bill Nighy

Bill Nighy is arguably the oddest choice on the list, but he's certainly not without a few points in his favor. He's spent his career going back and forth between big, dumb blockbusters and smaller movies where he often picks up a few awards for his acting.

He played the leader of the vampires in the Underworld series, and while those movies aren't a particularly good representation of his acting abilities, it is sort of a similar type of supporting role. And if Marvel wants something a little more intense, Nighy hammed it up quite nicely as Davy Jones in the Pirates of the Caribbean series.

There's certainly nothing wrong with Nighy in this role, he's charismatic, poised, and has great screen presence. The only reason I ranked him at the tail end of this list is because the other two choices are just so damn good.

2. Ken Watanabe

Ken Watanabe is an actor with a huge amount of gravitas, and has already proven that he can play the part of a mentor character. After all, his breakout role to Western audiences was The Last Samurai, and where he was arguably a huge reason why that movie worked at all.

Even though he's spent most of his career working in Japan, he's also a recognizable international star who's been cast in some of Hollywood's biggest blockbuster, and is arguably a much more familiar face than Bill Nighy.

And while Watanabe is not Tibetan, casting an Asian actor in the role would avoid some of the criticism that Marvel received after the whole Mandarin thing. There are precious few Asian characters in the Marvel movie-verse right now, so it certainly wouldn't hurt to consider that as a factor in this decision.

The one thing working against him (potentially) is the fact that he's already played a very similar role in Batman Begins, where he acted as Ra's al Ghul's decoy in the League of Shadows. It wasn't a huge part, but the monastery scenes where Bruce Wayne is being trained seem very similar to the situation that Stephen Strange will find himself in.

Then again, maybe not, and if Marvel thinks they can make it work, Watanabe would be an excellent choice.

3. Morgan Freeman

Yes, the voice of god himself has been contacted by Marvel about potentially taking the role. Freeman has already established himself to be capable of being the voice of reason in just about any movie, and he just recently played another wise, old mentor in The LEGO Movie.

Plus, he's clearly not averse to comic book material, as he's starred in all three of Christopher Nolan's Batman movies, as well as Wanted.

Freeman also manages to find chemistry with just about everyone he works with, and I think it'd be a killer combination to see him paired up with Benedict Cumberbatch. Maybe it's my inner fan-boy talking, but with the two of them having some of Hollywood's most distinctive voices, I think that'd be one hell of a scene.

I think Freeman is a natural shoe-in for the role, and while his star power isn't necessary for the film to succeed (Guardians proved that), it certainly can't hurt and Marvel knows that.

If the studio can get Morgan Freeman, I think they should. But if not, I could definitely see Ken Watanabe or even Bill Nighy in the role.

Ryan Matsunaga's picture
Ryan is the head blogger at 8CN. He really likes pancakes. You can follow him on Twitter @RyanMatsu
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