In just under five months, Marvel is going to take us to places we’ve never been before. We are leaving the world the MCU has given us and diving into the psychedelic realm of magic with Doctor Strange. Other than a glimpse of the Scott Derrickson-directed movie we received in the trailer, little is known about Stephen Strange’s Marvel Films debut. We were introduced to a few faces that will be showing up including Chiwetel Ejiofor as Baron Mordo, Tilda Swinton as The Ancient One, and Mads Mikkelsen as a mysterious version of Kaecilius; however, there was one familiar, Doctor Strange stalwart missing from the already considerable cast: Wong.
It appears the character will be getting a makeover for the big screen (which will surely outrage the outspoken fans who were already angered by casting decisions.). Benedict Wong will be taking over the role, and in an interview with Den of Geek, promised a side of Wong that we haven’t seen before.
“I’m certainly not going to be the tea-making manservant. We’re heading in a different direction. He’s more of a drill sergeant. There isn’t any martial arts for Wong in Doctor Strange actually, he’s more of a drill sergeant to Kamar-Taj. He’s one of the masters of sorcery.”
It seems like a perfect change for a character that has become more and more outdated as time moves on. It seems The Ancient One won’t be the one training Stephen Strange, but instead observe the training being done by Wong. Although… it will be sad not seeing Wong show off some of his martial arts skills. That might be something worth saving for the sequel, something Benedict Wong would be very willing to partake in.
“That would be nice! No, we’ll start off with the first one. I’m just happy nearly completing in Doctor Strange. I’m very excited to see what happens.”
In the comics, Wong was born into the life dedicated to protecting and serving The Ancient One.
He comes from a long line of Monks living in the Himilayian Kamar-Taj. Despite mastering martial arts, Wong would be sent by The Ancient One to become a servant of Strange. After years of service, he has become a loyal sidekick and someone who has shared many adventures with The Sorcerer Supreme. Wong is to Strange as Alfred is to Bruce Wayne.
The updated drill sergeant approach seems like a smart move from Marvel. While there will be some who will argue about changing the characters background, having Wong be a servant for Strange is clearly not a direction Marvel would be comfortable taking the character. Plus, by showing him immediately as a powerful ally to Strange, Wong can show up in future installments as a contributing ass-kicker without explanation.
Doctor Strange is directed by Scott Derrickson and stars Benedict Cumberbatch as The Sorcerer Supreme. Rachel McAdams (Christine Palmer), Mads Mikkelsen (Kaecilius), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Baron Mordo), Tilda Swinton (The Ancient One), Benedict Wong (Wong) and Michael Stuhlbarg (Nicodemus West) round out the cast. Doctor Strange is set to be released on November 3rd, 2016.