From 2008 to 2019, the Marvel Cinematic Universe revolved around Robert Downey Jr. Iron Man kicked off the MCU, Tony Stark was the unofficial leader of the Avengers, and even after Tony was killed in Avengers: Endgame (spoiler?), so much of Spider-Man: Far From Home felt like it was all the characters asking, “Where’s Iron Man?”
But now that RDJ has moved on to making Dolittle 2, or whatever, Benedict Cumberbatch has become the new “anchor” of the MCU.
That’s according to Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige, who gave a speech at Cumberbatch’s Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony on Tuesday. “I remember our very first meeting was set up as a general, and we wanted to pitch him this great character,” he said, “and before we could, he said, ‘So tell me about Doctor Strange,’ because you knew. Because somewhere you knew what this could be and you’ve always seen the tremendous potential in this character. Because of that, you’ve become the anchor of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the only actor capable of guiding us through the madness of the Multiverse.” He also congratulated Cumberbatch on appearing in “a historic three of the top six films of all time,” those being Avengers: Endgame, Avengers: Infinity War, and Spider-Man: No Way Home.
The big difference between Downey and Cumberbatch is that while the former basically only appeared in Marvel movies for a decade, give or take a random The Judge or Sherlock Holmes sequel, Cumberbatch continues to star in smaller budget films, like The Electrical Life of Louis Wain and The Power of the Dog, which earned him his first Oscar nomination. His next two movies are Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, written and directed by Wes Anderson.