Groovy, Marvel! Doctor Strange Will Have A Dark And Psychedelic Look

Marvel Studios
Credit: Marvel Studios

Marvel’s Phase Three will be packed with new superheroes, promising to give us the biggest amounts of feels.

It will all start next year with Captain America: Civil War and then we will finally meet the Sorcerer Supreme in Doctor Strange.

We know very few details on this movie, adding to the whole mystic vibe of it. We know Benedict Cumberbatch will be Stephen Strange, Tilda Swinton will play the Ancient One (can I get a ‘hell yeah’?), and Chiwetel Ejiofor is part of the cast as well. Scott Derrickson is the one in charge of making the mystical arts happen with a script by Thomas Dean Donnelly, Joshua Oppenheimer, and Jon Spaihts.

Production is set to start in November for a November 4, 2016 release. As we get closer, we will start getting a few details here and there (bless).

Thanks to director of photography Ben Davis we now have an idea of how the movie will be like visually speaking. Doctor Strange comics have the craziest, most psychedelic panels I’ve seen. They are a true visual delight. This vibe is big part of the mysticism of the character, so it would be fair to have this aesthetic for the movie.

Ben Davis gets this perfectly, and he is no stranger to the Marvel universe: he was in charge of Age of Ultron and all the beauty in Guardians of the Galaxy. He truly gets what this is all about.

Speaking at a BAFTA Masterclass in London, Davis shared a bit about the visual style for Doctor Strange, saying it will be influenced by the images of 20th century artist M.C Escher and will stay true to the comics’ psychedelic nature.

“It has a very psychedelic grounding, and it’s not your typical Marvel action movie. Most of the work within it is about other dimensions. And I described it, I think, when I was talking to Marvel as Marvel’s Fantasia, in a way, because it’s so sort of out there and different to everything else that they’ve done”, Davis shared.

Allow me to have a small fangirl breakdown over this: “Marvel’s Fantasia”. If Davis’ work in Guardians was breathtaking, I don’t think my photography-loving-heart will be ready for even more beauty in Doctor Strange! Also, Scott Derrickson has superb music taste, and if we can have that in the movie, then yes, Marvel’s Fantasia!

Back to Davis, he also confirmed it will indeed by a “very dark movie”. Double bless.

“There’s a lot of pre-visualization, and there’s a lot of work which is very hard – you look at it and you see the imagery that they’ve created for it and you think, ‘well how the hell do we shoot that?!’ because it’s all sort of Escher stuff. It’s all very out there. I can’t really say much more about it, I’m afraid. But I think it’ll be really interesting, and it’s a very dark movie, I’m pleased to say. DP’s always love the word ‘dark’. The trouble is that most producers don’t like dark. Mostly you get into DI [Digital Intermediate process] and people don’t seem to like dark anymore!”, Davis explained.

I am a sucker for cinematography, Marvel and Doctor Strange. Reading all that Davis had to say about the visual style for Stephen Strange’s introduction to the Marvel Cinematic Universe just made me more anxious and excited for this movie.

With Davis as DP and Derrickson as director, we can go on happily knowing Strange is in the best hands.

Doctor Strange will be released on November 4, 2016.

Adrienne Tyler

Audiovisual communication student, focusing on filmmaking. Writer-at-large at 4YE and full-time fangirl.

Marvel is her main thing, Gary Oldman is God and Martin Scorsese is her favourite uncle.

Coffee makes her world go round. So does Edgar Wright.

Find her on twitter as @AdrienneTyler !