Marvel’s Doctor Strange is slated to begin production late this year, but so far the movie is operating on a relatively low key. This is Kevin Feige’s pet project, with extra scrutiny on its security as they go about casting, so take this with a grain of salt, but the latest rumor is that Rachel McAdams has been offered the female lead opposite Benedict Cumberbatch. There are zero details offered, but every few weeks throughout the summer we’ve learned new casting tidbits for Strange, so at least it’s on schedule. And Rachel McAdams certainly fits into the classy vibe of this project so far.
Lainey and I have been talking recently about how McAdams is the only worthwhile part of True Detective season two, and how she stands to gain the most from being seen in a new light, playing against her sweet persona. As Lainey put it, she never “hit the next level”, but a big role in a Marvel movie can make a career (see also: Hiddleston, Tom; Evans, Chris; Atwell, Hayley), and while Marvel contracts are notoriously long and complicated, Doctor Strange currently doesn’t have a sequel scheduled, and besides potential cameo appearances, the time commitment isn’t likely to be as arduous as someone within the main Avengers cast. It’s kind of the perfect compromise—all of the exposure, half the commitment.
As for who McAdams could be playing, my money is on Clea Strange, the most recognizable of Doctor Strange’s love interests. Clea’s a badass, though, related to Strange’s arch-nemesis and a powerful sorceress in her own right. Various comic book runs have given her different amounts of agency, but in more recent issues she’s a capable woman who often has her own adventures separate from Strange. Doctor Strange won’t be a straight origin story, so there’s a chance, if the female lead is Clea, that we meet her fully formed and already outstripping Strange in power and ability. She’s a space princess who can use magic—she’s way more interesting than her dickhead human lover. I’d be kind of into Rachel McAdams as Clea, not having any time for Cumberbatch as Strange.