Marvel Studios' films have become more and more interconnected, with even their solo films now prone to escalate into Avengers-scale crossover events (see last year's Captain America: Civil War). It has long been known that this trend would continue, at least to some degree, with Thor: Ragnarok, which is set to hit this November. In addition to the return of its Asgardian cast, The Incredible Hulk will be joining the God of Thunder in an "intergalactic buddy road movie" which includes elements of the popular Planet Hulk storyline.
There have been a number of impossibly strong hints that Doctor Strange, (who recently had his own successful film,) would also be joining Ragnarok in some capacity. The mid-credits stinger for his film included a rather loaded conversation between the God of Thunder and the Sorcerer Supreme, and Ragnarok set photos all but spelled out that Thor travels to New York searching for the good doctor. However, director Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople) still felt the need to play coy about the issue when asked about it.
Surprisingly, a New Years post from D23 - The Official Disney Fan Club seems to have officially confirmed Strange's role in Ragnarok.
"Thor: Ragnarok in November brings together Thor, the Hulk, and Doctor Strange to face off against intergalactic baddies both familiar and new."
While it's possible that the post is a mistake based on assumed knowledge, it is from an official Disney source. And since it almost seems infeasible that Doctor Strange doesn't appear in the film, it would be quite the shock for Disney to backtrack on the possibly accidental announcement.
Assuming the announcement is official, it certainly makes Doctor Strange's appearance sound more important than a simple cameo, indicating that he may follow Thor and Hulk on their journey into the cosmos. Considering Valkyrie (played by Tessa Thompson), Skurge (Karl Urban), and even Loki (Tom Hiddleston) have been rumored to work with Thor, possibly teaming up against Hela (Cate Blanchett) in the film, it sounds like Thor may be leading his own Avengers-sized team into war. This lends credence to the idea that Ragnarok is a vital lead-up chapter to Avengers: Infinity War, and may explain how Strange becomes involved with The Avengers. The glut of supporting characters might be concerning for fans worried that Thor would get lost in the shuffle of his own film. Hopefully, Waititi's goal to finally make Thor the most interesting character in his own movie will pay off.
Stay tuned to Screen Rant for updates on Thor: Ragnarok as they hit.