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Bill Nighy, Ken Watanabe, & Morgan Freeman approached for Ancient One role in Doctor Strange

December 13th, 2014 by Edwin Torres Jr 2 Comments

Benedict Cumberbatch was only just confirmed for the title role in Marvel’s Doctor Strange last week.

Now Latino Review reports that according to their sources, Bill Nighy, Ken Watanabe, and Morgan Freeman have all been approached for the role of The Ancient One is the film. No word if any others were talked to about the role of Doctor Strange’s mentor.

Nighy hasn’t appeared in a superhero film yet, but he was in I, Frankenstein and voiced a character in Astro Boy. He’s also known for Underworld, Harry Potter, and Pirates of the Caribbean. Watanabe played the figurehead Ra’s Al Ghul in Batman Begins, and was in Godzilla. Freeman of course played Lucius Fox in The Dark Knight trilogy.

The Ancient One is a former Sorceror Supreme, and traditionally depicted as Asian, as he was born in Tibet. He was at one time approached by Baron Karl Mordo, who sought training. Nearing the end of his long life he agreed, realizing he needed a successor. Although he recognized Mordo’s evil ambitions, he also sensed Mordo’s talent for sorcery, and he decided that he could possibly convert Mordo to the side of good and if not at least keep him in check.

Sometime later, a gifted but somewhat amoral surgeon Stephen Strange, sought out the Ancient One to cure his hands, which had been injured in a car accident. Strange learned that Mordo was plotting against the Ancient One. Mordo placed a spell upon Strange which prevented him from warning the Ancient One, but the Ancient One freed Strange of the spell and assured him that he was aware of Mordo’s evil nature.

Strange found a new, higher purpose in life, and became the Ancient One’s disciple. Mordo left the Ancient One’s tutelage sometime afterwards to embark on his path of evil. Mordo would become Strange’s nemesis. Dr. Strange, on the other hand, remained with the Ancient One for years, proved to be highly talented in the mystic arts, and eventually became the Ancient One’s successor as Sorcerer Supreme.

Doctor Strange is being directed by Scott Derrickson and set for November 4, 2016.

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Born and raised in NY, a self titled Nerd Jedi. He met his destiny at 5, with the snap-hiss of Luke's lightsaber in Star Wars. He's never looked back. He wields dual lightsabers, called Common Sense and Humor, and uses them in pursuit of all things Nerd. A husband and father, he still finds time for comics, video games, movies, and shows. You can follow his blog at or his Twitter @ed_pool