I have seen a lot of speculation on who will be the villain for the new Doctor Strange movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch. We know Mads Mikkelsen is playing the villain and we've seen some photos of the character from the set. Which doesn't mean that is how he will look on the screen. Well, the look as you can see to the right is very unique but doesn't necessarily match up to a specific villain. Plus the odds are that it's going to be digitally enhanced. So we can probably assume very little from the image.
The teaser trailer shows him walking along the through a building and basically reshaping reality. He's also most likely behind the Escher-esque versions of New York we get to see folding over each other. Then again, that might also be an acid-style trip Strange is sent on by the Ancient One. So again, not a lot to go on except he seems powerful.
Now Strange doesn't have the biggest list of rogues. The first names that always pops to mind is either Baron Mordo or Dormammu. We know that Mordo is in the movie being played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, so it's not him. And most people seems to think, and I happen to agree, that Dormammu is too big of a concept for the first movie. Marvel has to introduce Strange, tell his origin, establish magic and how it work, etc. So the villain needs to be someone who helps do those things and presents a danger without overwhelming the film.
Strange also has a lot of non-humanoid enemies like Shuma-gorath and Xemnu, but I think will avoid big monsters for now, at least as the main villain.
Now the popular opinion on line is that he's going to be playing Nightmare. And that is a possibility. The character is powerful and has faced off with Strange on numerous occasions. But my problem with him is that he exists only in the dream realm. He does nothing to help establish a world of magic and one of the things Marvel likes to do is ground their films in as much reality as they can as they are showing us the fantastic. So I can't see them spending a big chunk of the movie showing us how Strange becomes the Sorcerer Supreme and then the rest of the time with him battling a villain off in the world of dreams. I think we'll find that the villain is someone that can exist in the physical world… unless of course the film makers change the way Nightmare works.
And no, I don't think it's going to be someone new because director Scott Derrickson has said that he is surprised no one has guessed who the villain is… which means it's someone who already exists in the Marvel Universe.
Now, I've spent more time saying who I don't think it is, but don't despair. I'm getting to who I think it is. My theory, and I could ABSOLUTELY be wrong, but looking at this from a writer's point of view. Mikkelsen is wearing an outfit similar to Strange and Mordo, like perhaps he was training with them at some point. And that there are more people who take on a similar look to him. So it's possible that someone is working through the body of Mikkelsen. And there is a villain that Doctor Strange has fought who at time disguises himself as person trusted by his intended victim. Someone who also has the ability to create illusions and hallucinations. And someone who has the ability to travel between dimensions.
I'm talking about D'Spayre, the fear sucking demon created by the Dweller-in-Darkness, who creates illusions and hallucinations to cause fear in his victims so he can then feed off the negative emotions. He also has the ability to fire magical blasts of energy. So visually he would be a cool character.
But let's take this a bit further. One of D'Spayre's big story lines involved the Cosmic Cube and the death of Captain America. He tried to use the Cosmic Cube to enhance his ability and create massive fear and grief after the assassination of Cap.
Now move that into the MCU where the Cosmic Cube is called the Tesseract and is actually the Space Gem. And we know that there are two infinity gems still missing… Soul and Time. And in the comics Civil War ends with the death of Captain America. So what if Captain America: Civil War ends with the same death (or something close) that causes the world to grieve for a fallen hero. And D'Spayre decides to use that opportunity to increase that grief using the Soul Gem? That sounds like something Doctor Strange might look into.
So there it is, my theory. Mads Mikkelsen is playing the human host to the entity D'Spayre who is using an infinity stone to help destroy the world and Earth's Sorcerer Supreme must stand against him.