Have you seen Serenity? Well if you’re a fan of this site, I assume that you have. Anyway, you will surely remember what a compelling villain that Chiwetel Ejiofor made in the part of the Operative, the bloodless functionary of the galactic parliament who will do anything to protect their secrets. It’s was a star-making turn, or at least it would have been if more people had seen Serenity, but it certainly made people who did go to the trouble to watch Serenity stand up and take notice. One of those people must have been Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson, or Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige, because they’ve cast Ejiofor in an unnamed role that has now been revealed to be the villainous Baron Mordo.
Deadline broke the story today Ejiofor would be coming aboard the film as the villain Mordo. The actor’s involvement in the film as been the subject of rumor and speculation since the confirmation that Benedict Cumberbatch was cast to play the titular hero. Many thought he was going to be cast to play the Ancient One, Doctor Strange’s mentor, but now it seems all the more likely that particular honor will go to Tilda Swinton.
There’s no direct confirmation about Ejiofor’s casting and who he’s supposed to play from Marvel, but that’s not so weird in and of itself. Right now, all of Marvel’s promotional muscle is going towards the release of Ant-Man.
If Ejiofor is playing Mordo, it’s interesting casting on a number of levels, because while he is an excellent actor, he will also be playing against type considering that Mordo, in the comics, is Transylvanian. Combined with Swinton taking on the guise of the Ancient One this Strange is taking on some really interesting shades, and playing against expectations in a big way. The success of Marvel Studios has fostered a big Rolodex of interested actors, and it seems that Derrickson is recruiting the best of the best regardless of whether or not they’re gender or racially specific for the part.
If you’re unfamiliar with the comic book origins of Mordo, he’s another student of the Ancient One who tries to kill his master and steal his power, but he’s stopped by Doctor Strange who becomes the Ancient One’s prized student and the next Sorcerer Supreme. So it’s a pretty natural rivalry, right? The good student versus the failed student jealous of his colleague’s success. Not so fast though, Deadline adds that Mordo may be “an amalgamation of characters culled from Doctor Strange’s mythology.” It will be interesting to see what direction that the Strange movie will ultimately go in.
Dcotor Strange will begin shooting sometime later this year for a November 4, 2016 release date.