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Doctor Strange: Benedict Cumberbatch reveals the movie magic behind his costume

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Jay Maidment/©2016 Marvel. All Rights Reserved

Benedict Cumberbatch’s surgeon-turned-magician character in Doctor Strange (out Nov. 4) is not your usual superhero, so his costume is not your customary baddie-battling outift. “It’s all clothes,” said costume designer and Marvel movies veteran Alexandra Byrne (The Avengers, Thor) last year, when EW visited the film’s U.K. set. “From the films I’ve done before, we’ve got quite a legacy in our fabrics store of almost every type of stretch weave and fabric. And they’re sitting on the top shelf unused. Which is very exciting.”

Below, Byrne, Cumberbatch, Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson, and costume supervisor Daniel Grave (cat)walk us through the Sorcerer Supreme’s threads.

CLOAK OF LEVITATION

Doctor Strange’s Cloak of Levitation allows him to fly, and in the film it’s attached to the Sorcerer Supreme by magic. In reality, it was screwed into a harness worn by Cumberbatch. “What was difficult was going for a bathroom break,” the actor says. “You’d have to get out of it all and put it back on again. It was just arduous for everyone.”

DENIM RETHINK

A deliberate deviation from the usual superhero garb, Strange’s denim coat and pants were inspired by a Chinese jacket that Byrne purchased from a clothing dealer who had brought it back from East Asia. “It’s very different,” she says. “There’s not a stretch gusset in sight.”

EYE OF AGAMOTTO

Ancient relic the Eye of Agamotto is the source of many powers possessed by Strange, including the ability to “screw around with time,” according to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. The amulet’s design, surprisingly, “wasn’t that difficult,” says director Scott Derrickson. “It was so cool — we knew we didn’t have to improve greatly upon what was in the comics for it to be interesting for a modern audience.”

IT’S A CINCH

Why does Strange wear seven belts? “Because it looks nice,” says costume supervisor Grace. “There’s no particular plot point to that.”

Jay Maidment/©2016 Marvel. All Rights Reserved

EW is offering an advance screening of Doctor Strange on Friday, Oct. 28 at EW PopFest. Tickets are available as a bonus to the first 300 two-day VIP tickets sold, so get clicking for your chance to be one of the first people to see the film before it hits theaters. EW PopFest runs from Oct. 29-30 at The Reef in Downtown Los Angeles. For more information and to purchase tickets, go to http://ewpopfest.com/.

To read more on Doctor Strange and EW’s 50 Most Powerful Superheroes, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands Friday, or buy it here now – and subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW. 

For more on this week’s cover story, watch EW The Showavailable now here, on the new PEOPLE/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Go to PEOPLE.com/PEN, or download the free app on your Smart TV, mobile, and web devices. 

You can see a trailer for Doctor Strange below.