Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) has repeatedly proven himself as a Master of Mystic arts, but he's not yet the MCU's Sorcerer Supreme. There has been no official bearer of the title given to the dimension's most equipped magic practitioner since the death of the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) several years back. Meaning, despite Stephen Strange being the best candidate to assume the position, it's still up for grabs for anyone who wants to go after it.
Since debuting in his 2016 standalone flick, Doctor Strange from director Scott Derrickson, Strange has gone on to protect the reality he exists in, not to mention the universe when it fell under Thanos' (Josh Brolin) attack. On top of defeating Dormmamu by outsmarting the primordial inter-dimensional entity, he also played a pivotal part in the Avengers' win against the Mad Titan - with Doctor Strange carefully laying out a plan where they ultimately emerge victorious in Avengers: Endgame. And yet, amidst all this, he has yet to officially assume the role of the Sorcerer Supreme in the MCU. So what's the hold up?
At this point, Strange has been a primary player in only two MCU films: Doctor Strange and Avengers: Infinity War. While he appeared in Thor: Ragnarok and Endgame, his involvement in those were very minimal. For something so integral in a character's story, Marvel Studios couldn't simply shoehorn it with the already packed Doctor Strange origin movie and Avengers 3. Marvel Studios doesn't want to do it off-camera either because it's the type of narrative oftentimes reserved for a standalone movie. In short, Doctor Strange isn't the Sorcerer Supreme yet because there hasn't been enough time to properly tackle that part of his hero's journey and it's a story best told in a solo film. If anything, it can very well be the main premise of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
This scenario fits well with how Marvel Studios format their the character trilogies. The first film is the origin story, followed by the hero going through another set of tribulations only to emerge at the peak of their power - this is what's next for Doctor Strange following his runabout with the Avengers. With the Eye of Agamotto / Time Stone no longer existent in the current MCU timeline, Doctor Strange's innate skills as a mystic arts practitioner will truly be put to test as he attempts to protect this reality without his most powerful weapon.
There's no firm word yet on who's going to be the primary villain of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (although Nightmare has been rumored), and amidst the string of antagonists that the Master of the Mystic Arts can face, one stands out as the perfect fit - Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor). The first film already set up his future conflict with Doctor Strange as he was disillusioned by his former student and the Ancient One both defying nature's laws. And the last time we saw him in the post-credit scene, he was going around stealing the mystic powers from other sorcerers. What better way for Doctor Strange to prove his abilities to become the next Sorcerer Supreme than defeat the very person that taught him the basics of the mystic arts who unfortunately went rogue?
As one of the next prominent heroes in the MCU, Doctor Strange still has a lot of stories to be told in the franchise. Regardless of where his next missions take him, one thing is for sure - he'll eventually become the Sorcerer Supreme of the universe, and as the Ancient One said, he's going to be the best one to assume that position.
- Black Widow (2020) release date: May 01, 2020
- Eternals (2020) release date: Nov 06, 2020
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) release date: Feb 12, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021) release date: May 07, 2021
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2021) release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Black Panther 2 (2022) release date: May 06, 2022
- Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 (2021) release date: Jul 16, 2021