On November 3, Marvel Studios will introduce its newest hero to the big screen in Doctor Strange, and with him comes a whole new side of the studio’s ever-evolving cinematic universe – one full of mysticism, magic and, of course, mayhem.
But just how does this new hero played by Benedict Cumberbatch fit into the ongoing big-screen Marvel universe? And will we ever seen him join the Avengers down the line?
Let’s dig in.
Who is Doctor Strange?
Firstly, yes, the guy who calls himself Doctor Strange is, in fact, an actual doctor and master surgeon. He’s also incredibly egotistical and infatuated with himself, so when a severe car accident leaves him without full use of his hands, the doctor searches near and far for a cure, any cure.
If he’s just a regular old doctor, then where do his powers come from?
The unique thing that separates Strange from some of the other Marvel heroes is that his powers don’t come from a suit or a science experiment gone wrong. Instead, they come from within. But Strange doesn’t discover these abilities until his quest for a cure leads him to a secret sorcerer training school located high in the mountains of southern Asia.
It’s there he meets a woman called the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), who, along with assistance from fellow sorcerers Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and Wong (Benedict Wong), teach Strange the art and craft of mysticism. These include special brass rings that open magical portals, along with ways to access visually spectacular mirror realities and the potentially disastrous power of distorting time itself.
So where are the Avengers when all of this is happening?
Wide shots of New York City include Avengers tower, which means Doctor Strange takes place after the first Avengers movie, but one or two other moments that we won’t spoil also allude to the film taking place after Age of Ultron.
As Wong explains to Doctor Strange in the movie, the Ancient One and her team of sorcerers are there to protect the world from mystical threats from other worlds or dimensions, whereas the Avengers exist to protect threats that are more earthbound.
Are any of the other Avengers in Doctor Strange like Anthony Mackie was in Ant-Man?
Well… you’ll have to watch the movie to get that answer. Mayyyybe….
No, seriously, tell us. We want to know. We have this thing where we need to know about special cameos from the Avengers.
And we have this thing about not spoiling the movie’s surprises! That being said, you can totally snag Doctor Strange tickets right here.
Fine! Then tell us how Doctor Strange will fit into the Marvel Cinematic Universe?
As we approach Avengers: Infinity War and Thanos’ quest to hold all of the Infinity Stones grows even more intense, expect Doctor Strange and his unique ability to help fend off threats from other dimensions to play a large role in assisting the Avengers with whatever crazy other-dimensional nastiness Thanos hrows at them.
Oh yeah, the Infinity Stones. What’s the deal with those again and why are they important?
Essentially they are six incredibly powerful stones that each represent a different aspect of the universe: Space, Mind, Reality, Power, Soul and Time. All but two of these (Soul and Time) have popped up in various Marvel movies leading up to Doctor Strange.
The theory is that by the time Avengers: Infinity War rolls around in 2018, all six of the stones will be out there in different parts of the universe, having all been introduced in other movies. Only those with immense power are able to wield all six, and as the comics have told us, Thanos (Josh Brolin) is one of those powerful beings whose sole purpose thus far is to get his hand, er, glove on those stones. Once he has all six, watch out.
Sooo… one of those stones will show up in Doctor Strange then?
Does that mean Benedict Cumberbatch will be playing the character again in Avengers: Infinity War?
Indeed he will!
Benedict Cumberbatch has already confirmed he’ll be teaming with the Avengers in Infinity War, teasing Strange’s involvement.
“His job title is defender of the fabric of reality,” he told Yahoo. “He fights other-dimensional threats that are beyond the perceptions of that very potent squabble [between Captain America and Iron Man]. I would like to think he is going to help them both rather than take sides. Doctor Strange is there to provide the opening of a new chapter, it’s literally going to open up the dimensions so just when that frame got a little crowded, it’s got a whole lot bigger.”
And what’s next after Doctor Strange?
Here’s your handy-dandy guide to upcoming Marvel Studios movies and their release dates. Considering Marvel is currently planning movies past 2020, expect more titles and release dates to be announced soon.
Doctor Strange (November 4)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (May 5, 2017)
Spider-Man: Homecoming (July 7, 2017)
Thor: Ragnarok (November 3, 2017)
Black Panther (February 16, 2018)
Avengers: Infinity War (May 4, 2018)
Ant-Man and the Wasp (July 6, 2018)
Captain Marvel (March 8, 2019)
Untitled Avengers Sequel (May 3, 2019)