We’ve just gotten confirmation that Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal, Casino Royale) is going to be playing the main villain in Marvel’s upcoming film Doctor Strange. This is great news as Mikkelsen is one of the best bad guy actors around, but it does beg the question: who is he playing? We know that Chiwetel Ejiofor is playing eventual baddie Baron Mordo, so who does that leave Mikkelsen with? Let’s look at five possibilities.
If I was a betting man, I’d put my money on Mikkelsen playing Nightmare. Like his namesake, Nightmare is the ruler of a dream dimension that humans travel to when they sleep. Nightmare isn’t above capturing humans or devising evil plots to extend his power. If Doctor Strange is going to be as fantasy-driven as Marvel has made it out to be, Nightmare seems like a good way to draw people in without overloading them with weirdness. The concept of a nightmare-based villain is already ingrained into our popular consciousness thanks to the likes of Freddy Krueger. It doesn’t hurt that Mikkelsen already looks grim-faced enough for the character. Like I said, I’m going with this one as your best bet.
Often seen as Doctor Strange’s greatest nemesis, The Dread One Dormammu is one of the Marvel universe’s most powerful villains. He is the Lord of the Dark Dimension and forever seeks dominion over all of creation. I’d love to see Mikkelsen play Dormammu, but he seems like the kind of big bad that will be saved for the sequel. This is even more likely since Baron Mordo is a servant of Dormammu, so while we may get some teases of the Dread One, I wouldn’t hold my breath on him being Stephen Strange’s first foil.
I can only hope that we will one day see Shuma-Gorath brought to the screen, and if Mads Mikkelsen is the one to do it, I’ll do joyful backflips. Shuma-Gorath is heavily inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s Old Ones; a tentacled beast with an all-seeing eye, Shuma-Gorath is the Lord of Chaos. He originally tried to return to our dimension through Strange’s mentor, The Ancient One, and Strange was forced to kill him in order to stop this. Could that be how Tilda Swinton’s mystic benefactor departs from the first movie? Shuma-Gorath is a shapeshifter, so he could easily masquerade in human form if he so desired. I’m okay with that as long as we get plenty of insane Lovecraftian monster stuff with Mads Mikkelsen’s inimitable voice booming out of it.
Dragon of the Moon
Easily the most left-field choice out there, it would still be amazing to see Mads Mikkelsen breathe life into one of the most diabolical being in the Marvel stable. The Dragon of the Moon is an insidious and practically immortal creature, often influencing and corrupting others to its will. He could very well come into play since the Dragon is the being that made Thanos murdered the majority of the people on his home planet of Titan. The Dragon, much like Dormammu, is virtually indestructible and seems like too immense a foe for Strange’s initial outing. Still, I can definitely hear Mikkelsen being the voice of a dragon.
I’m sure Marvel will be ignoring the two Nicolas Cage Ghost Rider films, but since they have re-obtained the rights to those characters, they can definitely draw from them for Doctor Strange. Mephisto is pretty much Marvel’s version of Satan, and is another colossal enemy for a first go-around. Also, it’s really tough to depict a devil-like character without riling some feathers. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love nothing more than for Mads Mikkelsen to be Marvel’s own Ol’ Scratch, but seeing as they are going for families as much as they are fans, doing a Lucifer stand-in seems a little too risky. But, Doctor Strange is a risky film.