The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to be box-office gold, but the Disney franchise has been in a transitional period after 2019’s “Avengers: Endgame” marked the departure of many of Marvel’s biggest actors, including Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man and Chris Evans as Captain America.
Subsequent films including “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” continued to draw massive returns, but many fans feel Marvel does not have a singular star to serve as the franchise’s leader. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige disagrees.
Feige passed the torch to Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange this week while speaking at Cumberbatch’s Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony, (via Variety), praising Cumberbatch’s role in the MCU and emphasizing the actor’s importance to Marvel’s future.
“Benedict has turned this character into an icon, appearing in a historic three of the top six films of all time. It’s been quite a journey,” Feige said. “I remember our very first meeting was set up as a general, and we wanted to pitch him this great character, and before we could, he said ‘So tell me about Doctor Strange,’ because [Cumberbatch] knew. Because somewhere you knew what this could be and you’ve always seen the tremendous potential in this character. Because of that, you’ve become the anchor of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the only actor capable of guiding us through the madness of the Multiverse.”
In addition to explaining the value of Doctor Strange to the Marvel universe and complimenting Cumberbatch’s unique ability to play the character, Feige also spoke positively about the experience of working with Cumberbatch.
“And of course, it’s not just the roles on-screen that make you so remarkable. It’s the roles off screen as well: husband, father, creative collaborator, partner, actor with the busiest schedule in the world who gives our physical production team heartburn trying to make the dates work, and friend,” he said. “Thank you sir, for your extraordinary contributions to the MCU and to the industry.”
Cumberbatch will next be seen in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” which hits theaters May 6. Judging by Feige’s words, that will be far from the last time fans see him don his Doctor Strange cape.