After a dearth of MCU News in 2020, we’re finally starting to get some tidbits, albeit in the form of casting news. We learned about Tatiana Maslany playing She-Hulk, and Jonathan Majors maybe appearing as Kang the Conqueror in the third Ant-Man film. However, we’ve just learned that Benedict Cumberbatch will appear as Doctor Strange in Spider-Man 3, technically a Sony film but part of the MCU. We also know that Jamie Foxx is set to reprise his role as Electro (at least, inasmuch as J.K. Simmons reprised his Jonah Jameson role) for the film. The inclusion of Doctor Strange in this story is very suggestive, and it also makes a kind of narrative sense.
First, when Disney and Sony reached a deal to keep Spider-Man in the MCU Kevin Feige made an interesting statement. He said that Spider-Man could travel through universes, meaning that Sony Pictures’ Spider-Verse and the MCU would ultimately be connected via Tom Holland’s Spidey. This comes as Marvel Studios is set to embrace its own take on the multiverse. This common comic book concept is used frequently in the comics and, more recently, by DC live-action series in Crisis On Infinite Earths. Yet, both the forthcoming WandaVision and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will show Marvel’s take on it, and it seems likely to include Sony’s past Spider-Man iterations and Fox’s X-Men.
Second, this makes narrative sense for Spider-Man. After the death of his mentor Tony Stark, Spidey will likely be looking to the other Avenger he knows best, Doctor Strange. They were both part of the “away team” during Avengers: Infinity War.
As The Hollywood Reporter describes in their report which broke this news:
“The move puts Cumberbatch in the mentor role that was previously occupied by Robert Downey Jr., who played Tony Stark/Iron Man in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and by Samuel L. Jackson in Spider-Man: Far From Home, the latter reprising Nick Fury. The role gives Holland a chance to play opposite seasoned actors, gives Peter Parker a father figure and gives the movies extra star power while also tying them to the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe.”
What’s unclear is if Jamie Foxx’s Max Dillon will be the same one from the (much-maligned) Amazing Spider-Man 2. Otherwise he, like Simmons’ Jonah Jameson, might just be the MCU’s version of Dillion who just looks and sounds very much like the previous iteration of the character. Either way, Spider-Man 3 is shaping up to be a very interesting film, and the addition of Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange helps make it all make magical sense.
Image via Marvel Studios
Sony Pictures has nothing to lose doing their best to tie their universe of Marvel characters to the MCU. And, with the success of Into the Spider-Verse and a growing nostalgia for old iterations of Spidey, Marvel Studios will benefit from the association as well. Also worth noting, the director who first brought Spider-Man to life, Sam Raimi, will helm the next Doctor Strange film. It’s all one big perfect multiversal circle.
The untitled third Spider-Man movie is set to start filming in Atlanta, Georgia later this month along with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The third Spider-Man film is set to release in December of 2021 with Doctor Strange set to debut in March of 2022.
What do you think about the inclusion of Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange in Spider-Man 3? Are you as hyped as we are? Tell us in the comments below.
Featured image via Marvel Studios
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.