by Joshua Starnes, CMRO Editor

With lensing on Marvel’s next major effort, DOCTOR STRANGE, expected to start in the late summer/early fall – basically the second CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR wraps – major cast announcements are coming fast and heavy on the film. And while I had always pegged him as the best possible choice for Black Panther, Deadline is reporting today that 12 YEARS A SLAVE actor Chiwetel Ejiofor is in final negotiations to play Baron Mordo opposite Benedict Cumberbatch’s Stephen Strange in the film.

Though Marvel has made no comment Deadline says it is nearly a done deal. The report also indicates that the Scott Derrickson helmed film will be taking some liberties with classic Strange mythology. Just as the Ancient One will now be played by Tilda Swinton rather than an aged Chinese man, Ejiofor’s Mordo will not be the straight up antagonist he has been in classic Doctor Strange tradition but will rather be a combination of multiple characters with a slightly different background while the primary villain is still likely to be Dormammu. The report suggests a character somewhat like Mickey Rourke’s Anton Vanko from IRON MAN 2 who was an amalgamation of the original Crimson Dynamo and Whiplash.

It may be that the series is setting up Mordo to eventually become the primary antagonist after initially presenting him as an ally or at least neutral party. In comic’s continuity Mordo, who first appeared alongside Strange as his original nemesis in Strange Tales #110. He was quickly cast aside in favor of Dormammu, becoming something of a servant to the greater villain, but it may be that Marvel is taking a reverse approach in the film series. It was revealed in Strange’s origin in Strange Tales #115 that he and Mordo had been pupils of the Ancient One together and while in the original story he is antagonistic to Strange from the get-go and quickly turned to evil, later versions of shown the two working together as students for some time before his betrayal when it became clear that Strange would be picked to become the next Sorcerer Supreme. Marvel’s known for playing a long game in its film choices, time will tell.

Which is all well and good, but what we really want to know is when is Marvel going to let George R. R. Martin write the DOCTOR STRANGE comic he’s always wanted to do?