Doctor Strange star Benedict Cumberbatch has surprised fans by revealing he has no idea when Doctor Strange 2 will begin production. That’s all the more surprising given the reason he’s cited; that the MCU’s future is in a state of flux.
Back in 2014, Marvel Studios announced an ambitious slate of films that would run all the way through to 2019’s Avengers 4. That announcement has left fans convinced that Marvel plays the long game, an idea apparently confirmed in January of this year when Kevin Feige revealed that Marvel is currently working on the next 20 films. For all Marvel likes to plan ahead, though, fans underestimate the flexibility that’s also a part of the studio’s approach. Jon Favreau, for example, recently noted that the post-credits scene of Iron Man was “a bit of a lark.” That’s pretty remarkable, given that post-credits scene effectively launched the entire MCU.
Still, one idea that’s clearly in the works at some point is Doctor Strange 2. The sequel was carefully set up in 2016’s Doctor Strange, which closed with Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Baron Mordo beginning to take his first steps to become a villain. In spite of that setup, though, there’s been no news since about the sequel. In a surprising statement to EW, Benedict Cumberbatch has revealed that he’s not sure when to expect the film either. Asked whether he had any idea when production would begin, Cumberbatch gave a simple answer:
“Not at the moment, no. The masterplan is continually in flux, so it would be out of order for me to speculate.”
It’s a fascinating response, not least because it gives an insight into how Cumberbatch views the MCU’s future; “The masterplan,” he notes, “is continually in flux.” As an actor working for Marvel, Cumberbatch doesn’t experience the MCU as some sort of fixed entity, with an entire decade plotted out in advance. Rather, he experiences the MCU as a fluid, ever-changing concept. No doubt that’s particularly the case at the moment; Disney has proposed the purchase of the bulk of 21st Century Fox’s film assets, which – if approved by regulators – would allow Marvel to incorporate the X-Men and the Fantastic Four into the MCU. Feige and his team will thus be even more wary than usual to plan too far ahead.
For all that’s the case, though, Cumberbatch’s comment still comes as something of a surprise. Most fans had assumed that Doctor Strange 2 would be released early on in Phase 4, and it’s not unusual to see fans pencil it in for a 2020 or 2021 release date. Production would be expected to begin within the next year or so; and yet, Cumberbatch has heard nothing. It’s actually possible Doctor Strange 2 won’t release quite so soon as fans had thought.
Whatever the future may hold for Doctor Strange 2, fans can be fairly sure of one thing; Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange will continue to return in further films. With Avengers: Infinity War assembling almost 80 characters, the MCU is becoming more interconnected than ever before. That means cameos – like the one Strange made in last year’s Thor: Ragnarok – will be easier – and more logical – than ever.
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