Benedict Cumberbatch Announces Doctor Strange Return

The Sorcerer Supreme (or the guy who’s supposed to be the Sorcerer Supreme, anyway) is coming back to the MCU soon. In an interview for the JW3 Speaker Series, Benedict Cumberbatch indicated that Doctor Strange would be returning in a movie that will be filmed next year. When asked about his upcoming projects, Cumberbatch said, “There are some Marvel capers in the making next year.” Doctor Strange was last seen in 2022’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which is one of the increasingly few hits for Marvel during Phase 4 and Phase 5, the only one to get close to earning $1 billion at the box office outside of Spider-Man: No Way Home (which far eclipsed $1 billion).

This shouldn’t be all that surprising considering the success of Multiverse of Madness. Marvel is running out of characters people like, and they’re ruining most of the holdovers from the first three phases. Thor is an idiot who trips on banana peels, Hulk is a boring nerd who doesn’t fight anymore, Scarlet Witch is a psychotic villain who may be dead (but totally isn’t, and is probably going to be apologized for yet again), and Black Panther was killed off so his sister could take over for him. Aside from Spider-Man, the profits of whose films go mostly to Sony, Doctor Strange is it. There are a few announced movies in which Doctor Strange could appear: Thunderbolts, Blade, Fantastic Four, Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, or Avengers: Secret Wars. Captain America: Brave New World and Deadpool 3 have already wrapped filming, or are close to it, so it’s not one of them. And I don’t think they’re anywhere near close enough to start shooting either Avengers movie right now. However, Cumberbatch does tell a story about a homeless man (the guy Robin Williams’ character in the outstanding The Fisher King is based on) telling him he’ll be in an Avengers movie with Harrison Ford. But since those seem to be a ways off, I don’t think that’s it. It could also be something that hasn’t been announced yet, like another Doctor Strange solo film. But I think it’s likely they’re shoving him into something else to make these movies more enticing to the steadily-decreasing audience. Blade would seem the most logical choice, as a master of the mystic arts gels better with vampires than a government-controlled anti-hero squad. But perhaps the homeless man’s reference to a movie with Harrison Ford was Thunderbolts instead of one of the Avengers movies. If so, it means Blade and Thunderbolts aren’t being dropped, like I figured they might be in the wake of the writers’ strike. Or, maybe one or both are being scrapped, and a Doctor Strange film will take its place. I’d much rather that – Blade and Thunderbolts sound like non-starters to me – but I like the character a lot, and I’m glad we’ll be seeing him again; let’s just hope it’s in a good movie.

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