Most of Marvel Studios' recent movies has been shot on sound stages in the UK, with exceptions such as the upcoming Ant-Man (which is currently in production in Atlanta, Georgia). The studio's Doctor Strange comic book film adaptation will not be a similar exception, as Marvel is reported to be on the verge of striking a deal for the project - with Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Sinister) onboard as director - to begin filming in Pinewood-Shepperton by mid-2015, with the final target being a July 2016 release date that's been reserved by Marvel for an "untitled movie."
Marvel Studios hasn't officially scheduled Doctor Strange for arrival on July 8th, 2016 just yet, but according to Screen Daily - and as we've suspected for a while now - that is very much the intended window for release. The site reports that Marvel is in "advanced negotiations" for Derrickson's superhero flick to shoot in the UK, with crews already being assembled to move into Shepperton by either late 2014 or early 2015, in order to make a tentative May 2015 production start date.
Derrickson's Marvel film - currently being rewritten by Jon Spaihts (The Darkest Hour, Prometheus) - will introduce the neurosurgeon-turned Sorcerer Supreme, Stephen Vincent Strange to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The movie is going to open up the mystical side of the MCU - much as Guardians of the Galaxy did for the cosmos of Marvel's film-verse this year - following the "Age of Miracles" being ushered in with the addition of the characters Quicksilver and Scarlett Witch to the MCU. (Their proper introduction will happen in Avengers: Age of Ultron next year, after their end-credits cameo in Captain America: The Winter Soldier this past spring.)
Oscar-nominee Joaquin Phoenix was said to be in "final talks" to play Mr. Strange a couple weeks back, but the word from insiders since then is that he's been hesitant to actually sign on for a couple reasons - namely, his discomfort about working on a green screen-heavy blockbuster and having to sign a multi-picture deal. Given the tentative production timeline, a casting decision for the lead in Doctor Strange should be made and officially announced before 2014 draws to a close (maybe even as soon as the current month of September is done).
It's certainly possible that Phoenix will strike a deal to play Doctor Strange, if only so he can participate in what should be the first Marvel Studio film to dip its toe into the pool of the supernatural horror genre. Captain America 3, which is the other Marvel Studio project due to arrive in 2016, is headed deeper into the political thriller territory that The Winter Soldier explored, but it's Doctor Strange that could really break new ground - and further establish the sustainability of the superhero genre for the years ahead.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron hits U.S. theaters on May 1st, 2015, followed by Ant-Man on July 17th, 2015, Captain America 3 on May 6th, 2016, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on July 28th, 2017, and unannounced films for July 8th, 2016 (probably Doctor Strange) and May 5th, 2017, November 3rd, 2017, May 4th, 2018, July 6th, 2018, November 2nd, 2018 and May 3rd, 2019.
Source: Screen Daily