HOW DID HE GET POPULAR?
The ’60s were a good time for mind-expansion, what can I say.
Doctor Strange was a well-crafted pulp in Strange Tales that tapped into the cultural zeitgeist of psychedelics and Eastern mysticism, a good deal of which was – and is more obviously now – culturally insensitive.
From there, the rest was Stan Lee magic, conjuring a tale of humbling an arrogant man who learned compassion the hard way. That same wrestling with identity (like Spidey’s power & responsibility vs. his selfishness, Iron Man’s alcoholism, etc.) is the Marvel secret sauce for enduring characters.
WHO ARE HIS ALLIES?
The Ancient One
Over his 500-year lifetime, The Ancient One has combated unimaginable occult forces, earning him the title of Sorcerer Supreme. He now resides in a monastery in Kamar-Taj high in the Himalayas. There, he trains those who seek him in the ways of the mystic arts, ever searching for his replacement. Who is, eventually, Doctor Strange. Spoilers.
In the movie, Tilda Swinton will play the Ancient One, which vanquishes Orientalism worries. By whitewashing.
A monk of Kamar-Taj who trained under the Ancient One since birth, Wong is a martial arts master who now faithfully serves Doctor Strange, defending his body while his spirit is away. He has served the Avengers a few times in the Avengers Mansion, and while he’s typically not an adventurer, he knows a few spells in case of emergencies.
It’s unconfirmed at this time, but Scott Adkins seems like he’ll be playing Wong. He’s also white, so that couldn’t possibly be controversial.
A young woman from the Dark Dimension, home of Doctor Strange’s nemesis, Clea is a budding practitioner of magic as well, and studies to defend her home from evil. She’s also deeply in love with Doctor Strange.
Nobody knows who Amy Landecker was cast to play, but all our money’s on Clea. Let’s hope she can rock a white wig.