Benedict Cumberbatch is the titular Sorcerer Supreme, Tilda Swinton is the Ancient One, Chiwetel Ejiofor is Strange’s main nemesis, Baron Mordo, Rachel McAdams is playing the lead female role and Mads Mikkelson is at least rumored to be involved in some capacity. And now, as of yesterday, we could be adding another brilliant actor to this list of geniuses: Boardwalk Empire and Steve Jobs actor Michael Stuhlbarg.
The news broke on Hollywood Reporter yesterday that the actor was in talks to join the cast, though there was no mention of who he could be. Variety then reported, soon after The Reporter, that “Sources tell Variety that Stuhlbarg will play Nicodemus West, a rival scientist of Strange.”
Nicodemus West is more than just a rival “scientist” for Strange. West was a colleague of the neurosurgeon Dr. Strange, a man who held very high respect for Stephen before the accident. It was Dr. West that performed the operation on Dr. Strange’s hands after his life-changing car accident destroyed the nerves in his hands.
Feeling guilty for robbing the world of such a medical genius, West followed Strange when he went to Tibet and trained with The Ancient One soon after Dr. Strange left. He learned just enough to be heal people, then left. After accidentally killing a patient with his magic, Timely Pharmaceuticals blackmailed him to work with them. Upon discovering that Dr. Strange had found a mystical potion called “Otkid’s Elixir” that holds the power to “erase what troubles the mind of man,” West is then the one behind the robbery that leads to Dr. Strange being shot.
West is not a full on bad guy, he’s not even a powerful wizard, he’s just a guy who’s messed up a few too many times, blackmailed by a pharmaceutical company and desperate to do his best.
The possible casting of Nicodemus West, along with the rumors that Rachel McAdams will play some version of the Night Nurse just adds fuel to the fire that the film is borrowing heavily from Brian K. Vaughan’s acclaimed story, The Oath.
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He has two cats and knows all things about Doctor Strange but little else.