It’s been a long search, but Marvel Studios seems to have finally found its Sorcerer Supreme, with Deadline reporting that Sherlock and Star Trek Into Darkness star Benedict Cumberbatch is the top choice for the titular role in Doctor Strange. This doesn’t mean the deal is done; negotiations have reportedly just started. But Cumberbatch is the latest name associated with a project that was also said to have eyed the likes of Joaquin Phoenix, Jared Leto, and Tom Hardy for the lead role.
Marvel already has Sinister writer and director Scott Derrickson on board to helm the Strange movie, with a screenplay from Prometheus writer Jon Spaihts. The standalone movie, which presumably connects to some future Avengers film given Doctor Strange’s comic book connection to the team, slots into Marvel’s November 4, 2016 slot. That puts it deep in the post-Age of Ultron, pre-Avengers 3 timeframe, a period that many believe will be spent building toward a cinematic take on the “Civil War” story arc from the comics.
Doctor Stephen Strange is a neurosurgeon who takes on the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme, charged with defending Earth against magical threats. He’s been both an Avenger and a free operator in the comics. There’s no sense yet of how his role plays out in Marvel’s cinematic universe, but with the casting all but confirmed, it’s possible that we’ll Cumberbatch’s Strange pop up in some post-credits sequence or another.
Note: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated the Doctor Strange was due for release on July 8, 2016.