Doctor Strange Trailer Breakdown: Chakra and Awe

Marvel by way of Christopher Nolan.
By  · Published on April 13th, 2016

The Inception vibes in this first teaser for Marvel’s Doctor Strange are real. The November release, from director Scott Derrickson, is full of fascinating and mind-bending imagery and a tight little introduction to the Sorcerer Supreme.

The teaser debuted earlier this evening on Jimmy Kimmel Live and will run in theaters alongside the May 2 release of Captain America: Civil War, among others. It features Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular doctor, Chiwetel Ejiofor as his frenemy Bardon Mordo and a bald Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One.

It’s a film that Marvel has been touting as a huge departure, at leas visually, from the rest of its cinematic universe. Part of a year that will transition the MCU into a new era. Civil War is going to shake up the dynamic between the characters we know while Doctor Strange introduces us to a whole new world (or more accurately, many worlds). The basics are here: Stephen Strange, a talented surgeon, wakes up from a horrific car accident to find that his world — the reality we know as our own — is one of many that exist. With the help of The Ancient One, he learns the mystical arts and a mastery of these many dimensions.

Watch the trailer below, then we’ll do a little GIF breakdown:

“You’re a man looking at the world through a keyhole.”

Here’s a shot of Strange in the hospital following his accident. His hands — a surgeon’s most prominent tools — look very gnarly.


At this point, we hear Benedict Cumberbatch’s first lines as Stephen Strange. His American accent is slightly jarring at first but ultimately works just fine. A moment later, we’re introduced to the bald, fierce Tilda Swinton, who shows him a little bit of mystical fighting. She’s outside The Matrix, that one.

We also get a shot at Mads Mikkelson’s antagonist. He’s still an unnamed character — it’s speculated that he’s either Nightmare or Dormammu, but he doesn’t exactly look like either — but he’s got a very vivid, tribal look to him, and he’s clearly a formidable sorcerer.

Here’s a look at his face.

A very brief shot of Baron Mordo.

And a little bit of Stephen Strange traveling between realms.

And some stuff that would make Christopher Nolan very happy.

And as a final parting shot for a teaser trailer that is flat out excellent, we get a little taste of the caped final version of Doctor Strange. Clearly The Ancient One obliged his request to be taught.

Doctor Strange is in theaters on November 4.

Neil Miller is the persistently-bearded Publisher of Film School Rejects, Nonfics, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the Executive Producer of the One Perfect Shot TV show (currently streaming on HBO Max) and the co-host of Trial By Content on The Ringer Podcast Network. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)