Marvel Studios is firing on all cylinders, having just successfully launched the Daredevil Netflix series. As the first season of the Man Without Fear generates strong critical and fan responses, it only adds to the hype and anticipation for Marvel's other Defenders shows (AKA Jessica Jones, Luke Cage) that will hit the streaming service in the very near future.
Since the Netflix programs are part of the overarching shared universe Marvel has established, the big question everyone wants answered is if (or when) this corner of the world will be brought to the big screen, giving audiences a chance to see Matt Murdock and company join forces with the likes of Iron Man and Captain America. Though discussions about where certain characters may show up have been had, Marvel has indicated they aren't in any rush to bring the two outlets together. However, that could be changing soon.
Bleeding Cool is reporting that the plan is to include Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange character in the upcoming Iron Fist Netflix series, which is expected to debut at some point in 2016. Their sources are unsure if the fan-favorite Brit will physically appear on-screen or if Strange would be shown in a manner that does not require the in-demand talent to be on set (i.e. a body double), but it's largely expected Cumberbatch will at the very least supply the voice for Stephen Strange (should this prove true).
With the Doctor Strange feature film that's hitting theaters next fall, Marvel is going to start to open up the realm of magic in its multimedia universe, so a crossover of sorts with Strange and Iron Fist would actually make sense (especially given their history in the comics). For those not in the know, Danny Rand (a.k.a. the Iron Fist) is the wielder of a mystical force called... the Iron Fist, which allows him to summon and focus his chi. If the Iron Fist show is going to be released prior to Doctor Strange, this would be a smart way to introduce casual audiences to these more outlandish elements so they are more familiar with them before the film comes out.
Of course, the caveat here is that this is just what's being planned. As we all know, Marvel likes to keep their options open, and even contracts their actors sign are constantly in a state of flux as the creative team irons everything out. They've yet to cast the Iron Fist role and the series is currently without a show-runner, so it's safe to say that it is still in the early stages of development. Once someone is brought on board to put everything together, the story that Marvel has in mind could change, making a cameo by Strange unnecessary for the narrative. It's another case of "wait and see."
What this rumor will do is open the debate of if this would be the right way to go. One of the most praised elements of Daredevil was that it operated mostly as a standalone venture, keeping its references to the Avengers corner minimal and organic. It's true that a cameo by Strange could fit naturally into the plot of an Iron Fist show, but such a move could be construed as teasing the audience about what's to come instead of keeping the focus on what they're watching currently (something Marvel has been criticized for several times before). Finding that balance will be key should this come into fruition. It's all about how the studio handles it.
As this is just a rumor, it's important for readers to take this all in with a grain of salt. The possibilities a Strange appearance presents are certainly interesting to discuss, but this is most likely one of several ideas Marvel has about how to work with this new property (and not a guarantee the Sorcerer Supreme will show up). The signs are there for a massive meeting of the heroes down the line, but Kevin Feige has stated he's willing to let the Netflix guys work on their own - so this reads as a very fluid situation indeed.
Iron Fist is expected to debut on Netflix sometime in 2016. Doctor Strange will hit theaters on November 4, 2016.
Source: Bleeding Cool