Doctor Strange introduced audiences to the presence of the Multiverse in the first movie. The second film showed fans the infinite number of multiverses and how they are interconnected. With the start of the second part of the Multiverse Saga, new rumors suggest that Doctor Strange 3 will be coming much sooner than anticipated.
Talk online suggests that Benedict Cumberbatch may be returning for a third movie before the release of Avengers: The Kang Dynasty in May 2025. Insider Jason Kane revealed on Twitter that Marvel is adding movies to its slate for Phase Five and Six and has decided to fast-track Doctor Strange 3.
"Shift in movies slate. 2025 will now be F4, Armor Wars, likely Spider-Man 4 and Shang Chi 2," the leaker tweeted. "Marvel has decided to fast-track another Doctor Strange movie to come before Kang Dynasty. They want Derrickson to return."
With regards to Doctor Strange, Kane added, "They are looking into doing a Kamar Taj set series to tie into Doctor Strange 3 as more magic users are popping up."
Shift in movies slate
2025 will now be F4, Armor Wars, likely Spider-Man 4 and Shang Chi 2
Marvel has decided to fast track another Doctor Strange movie to come before Kang Dynasty. They want Derrickson to return.
— Jason Kane (Greatphase) (@GGeneralHolt8) January 9, 2023
Scott Derrickson directed the first Doctor Strange movie before being replaced by Sam Raimi for the second film. Fans have been excited about the news that the original director will be returning for the third movie, especially after concept art for his original plans for Doctor Strange 2 went viral online.
Prior to the release of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, MCU chief Kevin Feige described Cumberbatch as "the anchor of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the only actor capable of guiding us through the madness of the Multiverse."
Cumberbatch also teased about the future of his character in the MCU during the release of Doctor Strange 2. "I really can’t wait to see what the fan reaction is to this and where it takes Strange, and who he is by the end of the film," the actor said. "But I think it sets him up for a really exciting future."
Cumberbatch adds, "I’m not tired of it all yet. I really enjoy playing this character, and I’ve still got a lot left to give as him, and a lot more adventures I want to have with him."
A major reshuffling of movie releases
If the rumors are true that Doctor Strange 3 will be released ahead of Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, then Disney and Marvel have some reshuffling to do.
Kevin Feige’s D23 presentation of the Phase Six roadmap had some free slots for future movies. However, the roadmap did not account for Armor Wars being made into a feature film and the upcoming Deadpool 3. Marvel has already moved the timeline once to account for the delay of Blade. Adding in the rumored Shang-Chi sequel and the Eternals sequel, it looks like the current slate is full. There are also rumors that Spider-Man 4 will be inserted in Phase Five, possibly delaying the release of The Thunderbolts towards the start of Phase Six.
Plus, there's new reports suggesting that Marvel has plans to delay three of its TV shows to 2024 and beyond. With all the additions and delays, it will not be a surprise if Marvel ultimately decides to push back Avengers: The Kang Dynasty to late 2026 and Secret Wars towards the summer of 2027.
Disney will also have to balance out the release of its other movies. Avatar 4 is reportedly scheduled to release in December 2026 which could possibly interfere with Marvel’s release window. Fortunately, James Cameron has been reportedly considering moving the fourth Avatar movie to 2027.