It's been less than two years since Dr. Stephen Strange was introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the character's already appeared in three films, including the studio's biggest effort ever: Avengers: Infinity War.
Marvel's Sorcerer Supreme, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, has made his presence felt through his single solo outing, an amusing Thor: Ragnarok assist and a key role in Infinity War, all of which seemed to make it clear that he could very easily be a key element to the studio's success beyond its original crop of heroes, alongside other relative newcomers like Spider-Man, Black Panther, and the upcoming Captain Marvel. With all that in mind, despite how new the character still is, many fans have found it... strange (pun very much intended) that there's been no real news of a sequel.
In many ways, the lack of an official Doctor Strange 2 announcement isn't all that surprising given everything else Marvel's had to deal with since the character arrived in the fall of 2016. Since then the studio has launched franchises for Spider-Man and Black Panther, released Infinity War and set up a massive 2019 that will include the introduction of Carol Danvers as well as the massive Infinity War sequel. All of that, plus Strange's role in Infinity War, means it makes sense for them to kick his eventual sequel down the road a bit.
What got fans suspicious was the apparent lack of knowledge from anyone involved with the first Strange film about what the future held for the character. Writer C. Robert Cargill said back in April that he's definitely got plans for Doctor Strange 2 but wasn't sure if a sequel was even going to be made, and Cumberbatch himself spent part of the Infinity War press tour essentially professing to know nothing about the character's future. With those reactions in mind, it was easy to lose a little bit of hope for a sequel.
Well, now Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige is here to restore some of that hope.
Speaking to Cinemablend while promoting Ant-Man and the Wasp, Feige was discussing how the studio juggles all of its various heroes on its release schedule amid crossovers and other big event releases, and he let this little detail drop.
"Sometimes it's where do those characters pop up? [Doctor] Strange, you know, whenever we do another Strange one, which we will do, it will be a number of years from the first Strange, and yet he's a very big part of [Avengers:] Infinity War," Feige said. "So it is just a good problem to have when you have too many beloved characters that people want to see more of, whilst keeping to our core belief that we need to keep exploring nuance and keep doing different types of things."
So Feige has confirmed that Marvel "will do" another Doctor Strange film, though he didn't say when, and we have no idea just how long he considers "a number of years" to be. Fans familiar with Feige's interview style know that he's more apt to say positive but noncommittal things ("we're exploring that" or "we're interested in that" or something of that nature) than outright declare intent if he's not ready to confirm something is happening, so we can take this as pretty solid word that a sequel is at least somewhere in the plan, even if we don't know where it will pop up.
Right now it feels like the earliest we could even think of seeing such a film would be late in 2020, but that feels optimistic given that we know nothing about the project's creative team yet. We do know that Marvel's got big plans beyond Avengers 4, so perhaps when the dust settles from that blockbuster we'll know more about the good Doctor's future.