With Scott Derrickson confirming that Doctor Strange has wrapped and heads into the great Quantum Realm that is post-production ahead of its November release, the Internet has been captivated by one question relating to it more than any other.
Who the bloody hell is Mads Mikkelsen actually playing?
We already knew he was a bad guy, even without any hint of what he was going to look like and it probably wasn't a terrible over-reach to have assumed that the first look at the character might offer some concrete hints. But even now, with New York shots of the fabulous Danish actor now out in the wild, we're probably no closer to determining which classic Strange villain he's playing.
That is of course assuming that he's not playing someone entirely new, but that would surely be a mistake, when most of Doctor Strange's fanbase will be die-hard fans. Despite having Benedict Cumberbatch and the strength of the MCU brand behind it, the film is still a difficult mainstream sell (see also, Ant-Man), and won't compete with the likes of Cap, Iron Man or the Avengers. So it's probably safe to assume Derrickson will cater to established fans and go classic.
So far, the front-runner rumours for who this sparkly eyed baddy are suggest either Nightmare or Kaluu. The former is probably the more interesting choice, since he's basically the Marvel version of FreddyKrueger and opens the possibility of a magic realist Inception-like comic book movie.
But it's more likely that someone like Kaluu would fit the bill. With Strange's origin story seeing him trained by The Ancient One, it would make sense that he would clash with an equivalent master and his apprentice. Think Star Wars. Or Karate Kid. "Pain does not exist in this dojo!"
"Mads character is a sorcerer who breaks off into his own sect. believes that the Ancient One is just protecting her own power base and that the world may be better off if we were to allow some of these other things through."
In terms of powers, you have to suspect he's similarly magically endowed as Doctor Strange, and the pictures that have leaked so far seem to suggest that he's either capable of optic blasts or he really, really needs some eye drops.
Who do you think MadsMikkelsen is playing in Doctor Strange? Share your theories below in the comments thread.