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Benedict Cumberbatch in talks to play Doctor Strange

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Benedict Cumberbatch
Samir Hussein/Getty Images

The search for Marvel’s Doctor Strange has been long and winding, but it seems to have landed on a Doctor who will make the Internet extremely happy. Sources confirm reports that Benedict Cumberbatch is in talks to take on the role of Stephen Strange, the selfish and superficial neurosurgeon who recovers from car-crash injuries to become the Sorcerer Supreme, the planet’s mystical defender.

Scott Derrickson is directing the standalone Doctor Strange movie, which already has a release date of July 8, 2016. Cumberbatch is an attractive choice to play the magical superhero, but he wasn’t the first name to surface for the role. Jared Leto, Justin Theroux, and Tom Hardy all bubbled to the surface of previous media reports, and Marvel engaged in serious talks with Joaquin Phoenix, who reportedly backed out because of the substantial multi-picture commitment that Marvel expects from its superheroes.

Created by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee in 1963, Doctor Strange realized his powers only after a horrible car accident severely damaged his hands and thus robbed him of his profession. Humbled, he became a better man but never gave up hope of a miracle cure that would restore his ability. His search for an answer led him to Tibet, where he encountered the Ancient One, a sorcerer who offered to teach him the secrets to mystical powers.

Strange could be the perfect bridge between the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy universes, and he has long been a personal priority for Marvel chief Kevin Feige as he plots the company’s Phase Three. “He’s got a great origin story, for the most part, and that world of pure magic, we haven’t done yet,” Feige told EW‘s Anthony Breznican in 2013. “There’s a whole supernatural/magic alternate dimension going on in the Marvel comics that we haven’t ever touched on. So I think that’s exciting.”

Cumberbatch, who’s already a huge star from his turn as TV’s Sherlock Holmes, could only have helped his case with his recent role in The Imitation Game, in which he plays the brilliant but extremely prickly WWII math genius, Alan Turing. The 38-year-old Cumberbatch often plays characters who emanate superior intelligence and Doctor Strange, who got name-checked in the recent Captain America sequel, seems like the type of character that would fit Cumberbatch like a glove.

So yes, with Cumberbatch joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is entirely possible that he will at some point engage in mortal combat with Tom Hiddleston’s Loki… causing the Internet to literally break.