Marvel hasn’t even decided on a lead actor for its forthcoming Doctor Strange feature, but we might have an idea of when the movie will launch. Word has it that the next film in Marvel’s “Phase 3” will hit theaters in July of 2016, and it might start filming as soon as the summer of next year.
News broke on Wednesday that Marvel will likely insert the good Doctor Stephen Strange into the July 8, 2016 opening slot, just about a year after Ant Man is expected to hit theaters. According to ScreenDaily, Marvel is in “advanced negotiations” with the U.K.’s Pinewood-Shepperton Studios to film the mystical feature, with production slated to begin in May of 2015.
We don’t know too much about what form Doctor Strange will take when he finally comes to the big screen; we don’t even know which actor – or actress, since Marvel is big into genderflipping its stars nowadays – will step into the role of Strange.
Joaquin Phoenix has been mentioned as a possibility, and even Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe has been mentioned for the role. Marvel, though, hasn’t made any Strange announcements of late, and nobody’s got an Eye of Agamotto just lying around, so the divination process on that one is stalled for the moment.
What observers are pretty certain of, though, is that Doctor Strange will be pretty different from previous Marvel movies. Yes, it will focus on the mystical side of the Marvel Universe, a side that has only glancingly been addressed with Thor, but it will also reportedly skip one standard element of the superhero movie: the origin story. Word has it that Doctor Strange’s movie will start off without spending the first third of the film explaining who Strange was before he became Sorcerer Supreme. That’s a breath of fresh air, really, as it means we’ll get to the action even faster after Doctor Strange’s opening credits roll.
Doctor Strange will follow Ant Man in what Marvel is calling Phase Three. After introducing us to the Marvel Universe with Captain America, Iron Man, and The Avengers, Marvel gave us the space opera Guardians of the Galaxy. Now it’s time to move on to even more Marvel characters. That will include Doctor Strange, Ant Man, and likely the Black Panther. Marvel is even pushing to expand its character base in “television,” with Luke Cage, Daredevil, and more getting their own series on Netflix.
With the July 2016 date all but verified, we’ve now just got to wonder if Strange will pop up some time before then. Strange already showed up as something of an Easter egg in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but there only in the context of a namedrop. There have been rumblings, though, that the current list of revealed characters for Avengers: Age of Ultron is far from complete. We could, over the course of Marvel’s next summer blockbuster, be exposed to a wide range of new characters, and here’s hoping that Doctor Strange is among them.