While not yet officially titled and dated we’ve known for a long time that Marvel Studios had Doctor Strange in mind for Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it’s finally becoming a reality. Just two weeks ago Scott Derrickson (Sinister) confirmed trade reports that he will be directing the next new Marvel Studios character film, and helping usher in the mystical side of the Marvel Comics universe into the film franchise.

Four years ago Marvel brought in Thomas Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer to write the screenplay for a Doctor Strange movie but it wasn’t until after The Avengers that Marvel Studios president of production Kevin Feige confirmed that we’d finally meet Ant-Man and Doctor Strange in Phase 3, after The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Strange represents a passion project for the producer and one he’s repeatedly expressed confidence in over the years.

With Derrickson aboard, the script will be getting revised and Marvel is bringing in Jon Spaihts to be the new writer. Spaihts got his big break writing 2011’s The Darkest Hour then landed the monumental task of penning the first drafts of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus (here’s how he got the gig), before it was handed to Damon Lindelof. Spaihts isn’t new to the Disney family either, having been tapped previously to pen the screenplay for The Black Hole.

According to Deadline who broke the news, Marvel is fast-tracking this project and we all know what that means. We’ve been saying it for a while. With a director attached, a new writer on board and at actors in talks with Marvel Studios for the lead role (we can confirm one of them ourselves), it’s a safe bet that Doctor Strange is taking the next available release slot Marvel has claimed. Expect to see Doctor Strange release July 6, 2016 and expect it to become official next month at San Diego Comic-Con. The three names currently reported to be in talks for the lead role include Benedict Cumberbatch, Jared Leto and Tom Hardy.

And for those curious about the direction of Doctor Strange, Scott Derrickson spoke with JoBlo and explained that Doctor Stephen Vincent Strange is his favorite Marvel character and that he pushed hard to be the one to helm the project.

“I wanted it really bad. More than any other project that I’ve gone after, I felt compelled to do everything in my power to get on that project. Genuinely felt like I was the right guy to do it.”

He continued, talking about the reception online to him landing the gig and how it’s finally the right time to make Doctor Strange, the Master of the Mystic Arts, a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“I think the nicest surprise for me, the most unexpected surprise, is the positive reaction. Both to me getting the film – I guess I expected the detractors, and they just haven’t been there, it’s all been quite positive. More than that, it’s just the general enthusiasm for Doctor Strange. I think people who know the comic world and the Marvel universe, they all feel the same way I do, which is, “This is the Marvel movie we’re all ready to see now.” This movie needs to exist. The outpouring of excitement that people have shown is the thing I’ve been most pleasantly surprised.”

For those curious about Doctor Strange and want to know about his origins and how he can help deliver a new and unique Marvel movie experience, check out the 2007 animated Doctor Strange feature written by Greg Johnson and Craig Kyle – the latter of whom produced the Thor movies and is helping write Thor 3. It’s on Netflix right now and it’s absolutely worth watching.

More: The Timing & Magic Behind Marvel’s Doctor Strange Movie

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!

Sources: Deadline, JoBlo