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Doctor Strange Director Reveals Inspiration Behind ‘Otherworldly’ New Marvel Villain

2 minute read

Though not much is yet known about Mads Mikkelsen’s villain in Marvel’s upcoming Doctor Strange, the mysterious Kaecilius apparently takes after some pretty famous bad guys.

During a recent interview with IGN, director Scott Derrickson spoke about how he drew inspiration for the character from the evil forces at work in The Lord of the Rings, noting that Mikkelsen is really only a secondary threat to Benedict Cumberbatch’s Strange.

What we wanted was a character that was rooted in the real…so that there could be an intimate relatability between Strange and his adversary. But who was empowered by something else. By something otherworldly…I always loved the Sauron-Saruman idea in Lord of the Rings, even though you never see Sauron except I think in the prologue. I think that’s the only time you ever see him in that trilogy, but what a presence and what a power. And we do more than that with this other dimensional power. But I like that idea. So that Strange wasn’t combating something huge and fantastical all the way through the movie that had no human relatability.

Derrickson also revealed that his vision for Kaecilius was centered on the character’s motives rather than the havoc he would wreak, drawing comparisons to Seven’s John Doe and The Dark Knight’s Joker.

My favorite thing about him is he is a man of ideas. And that’s to me what always is compelling about villains, you know. I am much more interested in how they think than in what they even do…Same thing with the Joker in The Dark Knight. The watertight logic of his anarchistic philosophy in that hospital bedside table scene with Harvey Dent is awesome. You know, so I’m not saying our villain is as great as John Doe or the Joker, as Heath Ledger’s Joker, but he is a man of ideas and to me that’s what makes villains compelling.

Doctor Strange will debut in theaters Nov. 4.

Read more at IGN.com.

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Write to Megan McCluskey at megan.mccluskey@time.com