Marvel Studios will soon be unveiling a new corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by introducing the idea of magic in Doctor Strange. Benedict Cumberbatch is set to help usher in this new era for the MCU, with his solo film set to be the first of many appearances he will make as the Sorcerer Supreme over the next several years. Doctor Strange becoming officially established in the world has been a long time coming for comic fans, which made his name drop in Captain America: The Winter Soldier that much more exciting.
Once Disney and Marvel Studios figured out a way to schedule the film around Cumberbatch's busy schedule, it was clear how much they wanted him for not just this role, but to potentially be the face of the universe in the not too distant future. With time and contract lengths potentially running low for Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man) or Chris Evans (Captain America), it sounds as though Cumberbatch could be front and center for Phase 4 and beyond.
Cumberbatch was recently interviewed by Comicbook at the Doctor Strange press event following the premiere and he was asked about the potential for his character moving forward. Strange will be one of the most powerful beings in the MCU once he is introduced, so it only seems natural for him to eventually progress into being a leader within the universe. And it appears that is exactly what fans will be getting:
There’s a lot going on [in] this story [Doctor Strange] that will lead you to understand why he’ll play a key role in the next phase. ... It’s only be the end of the film that you go, ‘Oh my god, this is the beginning.’ It’s an origin story of a superhero that’s going to be part of all of [the MCU].
Strange's role in the MCU is only getting started, as he will next be appearing in Avengers: Infinity War, but the key role described by Cumberbatch will continue well past the end of Phase 3. Part of this role appears to be starting in Infinity War, with Kevin Feige revealing that the secret group composed of Strange, Iron Man, and more known as the Illuminati may start to form. Strange serving as a member of a group comprised of the MCU's biggest and most powerful characters could pay dividends down the road and keep the character involved with events outside of his own adventures.
As for his own adventures, a sequel could potentially be one of the first films of Phase 4 - assuming Doctor Strange is a financial hit. Marvel has previously kicked off new Phases with sequels to successful properties in Iron Man 3 and Captain America: Civil War, so Doctor Strange 2 could follow suit. If it is not the first film of Phase 4, it figures to still be one of the earlier projects with director Scott Derrickson already having ideas for Strange's next quest.
Doctor Strange is also introducing the idea of multiple realities and dimensions, which could further alter the MCU as fans know it. The introduction of this is perfect according to Feige, and follows with Cumberbatch's comments about the end of the film opening up the doors to the future of the MCU. How exactly Strange factors into Phase 4 and beyond is still being kept under wraps, but fans can certainly expect much more of Marvel's newest hero moving forward.
- Doctor Strange (2016) release date: Nov 04, 2016