While Marvel Studios runs down the clock searching for a director to fill the void left behind by Edgar Wright’s departure from Ant-Man – a film that was supposed to begin shooting right around now – they’re also already on the hunt for another franchise star. Joining Ant-Man in Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be Doctor Strange, a movie that found a director in Scott Derrickson (Sinister) this week despite not having a release date.

Given that Marvel has locked down a summer date in July 2016 and will undoubtedly have a pair of features in 2017, the easy assumption is to say that that master of mysticism will have his big screen debut in 2016, two months after Captain America 3. We’ll find out for certain this July at San Diego Comic-Con, where Marvel Studios president of production Kevin Feige tends to make major announcements, and this year we can expect to find out the full Phase 3 slate.

We can also expect to see the first footage for The Avengers: Age of Ultron, and if they’re especially ambitious, maybe they’ll bring out some actors for their upcoming movies- maybe even Doctor Strange himself. We’ve known for sometime that Marvel was in talks and looking at a few actors for the part, and according to Deadline, two of the names Marvel is looking are are Tom Hardy and Benedict Cumberbatch.

If the decision were to come down to just these two names you can count on Cumberbatch being the top choice. He’s ripe for the picking when it comes to the mightily coveted comic book superhero role (and the lengthy multi-picture contract that comes with it) and he brings a unique charm and quirkiness (see: Sherlock) that would add flavor to The Avengers. There’s also the fact that Hardy has a big potential franchises in development in Mad Max and Ubisoft’s Splinter Cell and he still has fans impersonating his Bane voice from The Dark Knight Rises.

Fan-Made Poster Feat. Benedict Cumberbatch

Cumberbatch has been a common staple among fan wishlists for Marvel movie castings (including our own for Doctor Strange) and he even visited Marvel HQ last year and appeared on their podcast. He was a frequently rumored and reported name of interest for Disney’s Star Wars: Episode VII but maybe that was for Disney’s Marvel branch instead?

More: The First ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Review

Scott Derrickson will direct Doctor Strange from a screenplay by Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer. No release date has been set.

Guardians of the Galaxy opens August 1, 2014The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on July 17, 2015, Captain America 3 on May 6 2016, and unannounced films for July 8 2016 and May 5 2017.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes for your Marvel movie and TV news!

Source: Deadline

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