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Yesterday, Empire released images of their November issue’s covers. Both feature Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, the film’s eponymous surgeon-turned-magician. The magazine will cover the new film, along with information on Rogue One, Jack Reacher, and Gene Wilder.
The first image, the newsstand cover, features Doctor Strange alone in front of a round window. In his hand, he creates a mandala made of light.
Overall, a decently composed image, and nothing new or surprising.
The subscriber-exclusive second cover, however, includes other characters. Chiwetel Ejiofor as Karl Mordo, Tilda Swinton as the controversial Ancient One, and Benedict Wong as Wong flank Cumberbatch’s strange. This image evokes a team feeling, something the MCU needs after Captain America: Civil War broke many MCU relationships. This would work way better, however, if Mordo wasn’t best known as a villain in Strange’s rogue’s gallery.
Tilda Swinton, too, cuts an interesting figure in the bright yellow of the Ancient One. Putting aside the controversy surrounding her role, yellow generally does not feature in costuming in this way. Yellow has not dominated a costume since 2011, when X-Men: First Class evoked the comic’s roots when creating superhero outfits.
With Doctor Strange hitting theaters Nov. 4, 2016, we’ll see if star power and the MCU hype machine can mitigate damage done by public critique of controversial casting choices.