By Clark Collis
December 28, 2015 at 05:15 PM EST
Photograph by MICHAEL MULLER/© 2015 MVLFFLLC. TM & © 2015 Marvel. All Rights Reserved

This week’s First Look issue of Entertainment Weekly offers a very early peek at Benedict Cumberbatch in Marvel’s new superhero film, Doctor Strange (out Nov. 4). How early? Well, principal photography on the film — which costars Tilda Swinton, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Mads Mikkelsen — only began in November, and director Scott Derrickson won’t wrap the movie until March. EW’s First Look cover shoot with Cumberbatch was one of the very first times the British actor tried on the costume that his character, Doctor Stephen Strange, wears after transforming from a self-centered surgeon to a world-protecting sorcerer. The Sherlock star even used the shoot as something of a research-and-development session for the gesticulations which are part of his character’s spell-casting.

“I’m still in the infancy of learning all that,” Cumberbatch tells EW. “It was like, okay, I’ve got to keep throwing these poses, these spells, these rune-casting things, everything he does physically. I’m thinking, there’s going to be a huge amount of speculation and intrigue over the positioning of that finger as opposed to it being there, or there. And I’m still working on that. We haven’t played any of those scenes yet. I felt really self-conscious. But, then, by the end, it was great. It’s like anything, you just have to experiment.”

GALLERY: 6 Exclusive Photos of Marvel’s Mystical, Magical Doctor Strange

It’s so early in the production of Doctor Strange that Marvel has yet to announce the nature of the parts being played by McAdams and Mikkelsen — until now! Check out the cover story to find out whether the pair will be playing friends or foes of Strange and to find out about the film’s psychedelic visual effects. As Cumberbatch himself says, “There’s going to be crazy s— going on.”

And there are plenty of other rabbits in our First Look top hat! From a tour of Ben Affleck’s Batcave from Batman v Superman, to a chat with returning Game of Thrones star Isaac Hempstead-Wright (a.k.a. Bran Stark), to a preview of David Bowie’s new album Blackstar, and a look at Bad Feminist author Roxane Gay’s new memoir Hunger, we’ve got you covered when it comes to all the most-anticipated films, TV shows, music, and books.

How did we fit it all in? We’d love to tell you — but good magicians never reveal their secrets.

To continue reading more on Doctor Strange,Entertainment Weekly’s First Look issue, on newsstands Tuesday, or buy it here.

Photograph by MICHAEL MULLER/© 2015 MVLFFLLC. TM & © 2015 Marvel. All Rights Reserved