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Doctor Strange 2 Star Benedict Wong Recalls His Longtime Friendship With Benedict Cumberbatch - Exclusive

Thanks to the sprawling narrative of the MCU, many of the film saga's actors have had the opportunity to work together again. That's a good thing when it comes to building friendships, and the bonus is that it also lets the actors build on-screen chemistry to make those relationships feel real and engage their audiences.

Two actors who've benefited from starring together in more than one MCU film are Benedict Cumberbatch and Benedict Wong, who first embodied the sorcerers Doctor Stephen Strange and Wong in 2016's "Doctor Strange." Since that time, the duo has worked together in "Avengers: Infinity War," "Avengers: Endgame," and "Spider-Man: No Way Home." Separately, Cumberbatch reprised Dr. Strange for "Thor: Ragnarok," and Wong appeared in "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings," while each recorded dialogue for the animated series "What If...?"

Now, hot on the heels of the most recent "Spider-Man" chapter, the duo is back for their own adventure in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness." In the new film, Strange and Wong meet America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), a teen who has the power to hop between universes, but she has no clue how she's able to do it. To learn the source of her powers and face off against a mysterious enemy, America transports Strange and Wong into the multiverse — only to discover the unlikely foe is Wanda Maximoff, aka Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen). Traumatized by the events of "WandaVision," Wanda-Scarlet has turned down a dark path and wants to extract the girl's rare superpowers to make them her own.

Naturally, there are lighter moments in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," which allow for Cumberbatch and Wong to bounce dialogue off each other like they're old buddies. As it turns out, the duo's history goes further back than the first "Doctor Strange" movie six years ago.

Wong and Cumberbatch's friendship pre-dates Cumberbatch's Sherlock days

In an exclusive interview, Benedict Wong shared with Looper that part of his and Benedict Cumberbatch's on-screen chemistry stems from their off-screen friendship, which dates back more than a dozen years — before Cumberbatch started winning acclaim for his work in a TV adaptation of a classic literary character.

"I've known Benedict since back in the pre-'Sherlock' days, and during his theater days, if anyone ever got a chance to see him up close — we all marveled at his talents very early on until he's entered into the stratosphere," Wong recalled. "And it's been wonderful, actually, that we've managed to cultivate this chalk and cheese relationship for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This Strange and Wong pairing is something I'm proud of."

Directed by Sam Raimi, and also starring Rachel McAdams and Chiwetel Ejiofor, "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" is now in theaters.