Benedict Cumberbatch has carved out a pretty strong niche as one of the MCU’s most prominent heroes in Doctor Stephen Strange. But years before he took on the role of Strange, Cumberbatch says that he turned down another role in the MCU that would have cast him as a villain.
In a recent interview with BBC Radio 1, Cumberbatch related the story of how he turned down the role of Malekith in Thor: The Dark World, which ultimately went to Christopher Eccleston. Cumberbatch, who was fresh off Star Trek Into Darkness, apparently wanted a role that was a “bit more juicy.”
“[The Doctor Strange role] It happened as an idea muted after, funnily enough, another little dance I did for another character in the MCU, a very brief character,” Cumberbatch said, referring to Malekith.” I was bold enough to say, ‘I’m really flattered to be invited to the party, but I’d rather hold out for something a bit more juicy.”
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That role was Doctor Strange, which Cumberbatch was initially hesitant about as well due to his being “a bit of a misogynist, very bound in the ’70s.” Ultimately, though, Cumberbatch was convinced to take the role, and the rest was history.
Meanwhile, Thor: The Dark World tends to get a bad rap these days. Our review at the time criticized it for having a “weak storyline and an even weaker villain,” noting that Eccleston was an excellent actor “buried under mountains of prosthetics.”
Cumberbatch, for his part, is fresh off his starring role in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which has topped $500 million in the worldwide box office. You can read lots more about it here, including our recent interview with Doctor Strange writer Michael Waldron in which he apologizes for breaking fans’ hearts.
Kat Bailey is a Senior News Editor at IGN as well as co-host of Nintendo Voice Chat. Have a tip? Send her a DM at @the_katbot.