Despite bearing respectable dividends for Marvel and the MCU in general, ‘Doctor Strange 2’ had mixed possibilities of happening at least until some time ago, when everybody involved with the first expressed significant interest in returning for a sequel but the studio only marginally did so for a second solo Strange, despite the character playing one of the most important roles in ‘Infinity War’, and a substantially important one in ‘Endgame’ as well, returning only towards the end. He is without a doubt one of the strongest characters in the MCU cannon, and with an A-lister such as Benedict Cumberbatch headlining the role, it would seem only providence that he would be one of the frontrunners for taking the MCU forward, now that all the Phase I Avengers have more or less retired from their roles.
This was also partially heart-breaking for me since ‘Doctor Strange’ was the one MCU origin film that I thought tried to establish something different — a whole new world of the mystic arts if you may, despite ultimately sticking to the same blueprint common for MCU films or superhero origin films in general. It was also among the few MCU solo films that had a distinct visual character by virtue of its psychedelic sequences in the mirror dimension and Strange’s cosmic adventures. So, while an origin story barely dug its nails into the vast wealth of Doctor Strange comics, just scratching the surface, the sequel presented vast opportunities and a more in depth look into the world of wizardry and magic. Despite that, the studio staying mum on something that should have been an obvious sequel three years hence killed hopes, to put it lightly.
This was also partly due to the character’s uncertain fate after the shocking final act of ‘Infinity War’ wherein the sorcerer supreme was dusted by Thanos’ snap, and though we knew everybody who was gone would return, even if the studio pressed against it for obvious reasons, ‘Endgame’ clarified how and when. With the Doctor finally back, hope rekindled for fans only for Marvel to officially announce a sequel to the mystical world of Doctor Strange, and despite most of the MCU’s Phase IV being kept strictly under wraps, we have official confirmation that a hush-hush deal has led to the sequel being greenlit and in the early stages of development and script writing. For now, here is all we know about the sequel despite the sort of information embargo Marvel has placed over the future of the MCU, leaving us only to predictions and speculations, amongst morsels of verified information. Read on.
Doctor Strange 2 Plot: What is it about?
The earlier Doctor Strange film was set within Phase III of the MCU and as a result, despite having its own individual story line, was set within the overarching Infinity Saga, with this film’s particular focus being the Time Stone stored inside the Eye of Agamotto. Now, following the events of Endgame and the Infinity Saga over, the time stone would have found its way back into its original location from where it was taken — the Ancient One at the New York Sanctum, and that is of course presuming that Captain America did return those stones right in place before leading a full life and retiring.
We will now branch our discussion into two separate streams: one assuming that he did, and the sequence of events that conspired would be the same leading up to the happenings of ‘Doctor Strange’ and eventually ‘Endgame’ where it was destroyed; the second, assuming that he didn’t or that there was a discrepancy or error fully realising I am out on a limb here, which is something that would further add to the creation of a multiverse within the new MCU, something that even ‘Spider Man: Far From Home’ would be dealing with.
Other than these two distinct streams, let’s go back to the events of the first film. The mid credits scene between Thor and Doctor Strange is something that explicitly conspires in the events of ‘Thor: Ragnarok’, so that doesn’t have any direct bearing on us for now. The post credits, however, could mean major things for the sequel. While Mordo was a trusted sorcerer of the New York Sanctum almost all through the film, we see his faith dwindling when he comes to know that both the Ancient One and Strange bent the laws of nature to their means, for elongating her life and to defeat Dormammu, respectively, something that was forbidden for their faction.
His descent to the dark side is complete when he takes away the mystical energy Jonathan Pangborn had been using to power his legs and arms, returning him to his paraplegic state, telling him that Earth now had “too may sorcerers”. This more than confirms that he will be returning for the sequel in the role of a corrupted guardian of sorts for retribution against Strange and the sorcerers.
Apart from that, director Scott Derrickson, who is now confirmed to be returning for the sequel, explained that with the origin story out of the way, he was now open to experimenting with the “weird stuff” relating to the character that the studio had asked him and the writer to hold on to for potential sequels. He has expressed very strong interest in exploring the characters of Jonathan Pangborn and Hamir from the first film, and introducing Nightmare as the primary villain of the movie, apart from Mordo.
While fans are pretty aware of Strange’s nemesis in Nightmare, for casual fans of the MCU, this will be a new, interesting character that will prove to be their foray into the dream dimension that opens up completely new exciting and visual opportunities for the sequel, with the first film exploring the mirror and astral dimensions. I am excited for all the right reasons to see the demonic ruler of the dream dimension appear in the sequel. Apart from that, writer Jon Spaihts has expressed interest in introducing Clea, the ruler of the dark dimension presumably after Dormammu and Strange’s love interest, which leaves us kind of hanging on Christine Palmer. It’s going to be a whole new world within a whole new world. Here’s hoping that with so much to handle, the writers don’t delineate into ‘Spider Man 3’ category, if that is what we are calling it.
Doctor Strange 2 Cast: Who is in it?
Both the Benedicts, Wong and Cumberbatch will return for the sequel, after having rocked the screens with their chemistry in both ‘Infinity War’ and a small part of ‘Endgame’. Their involvement in the sequel has been officially confirmed. Rachel McAdams has also been officially confirmed to return for her role of Dr. Christine Palmer. While this is where the list of official stars touted to return for the sequel ends, I am going to extrapolate and add a few names in their on my own. Chiwetel Ejiofor and Benjamin Bratt would most likely be returning to their roles of Karl Mordo and Jonathan Pangborn respectively, as set up by the post credits scene. My guess is that there are chances for Tilda Swinton to return too, mostly as a cipher or a guiding presence for Strange, albeit in a cameo only. Since the directors wish to significantly expand this universe, you can expect a lot of new names to be added to this list as well.
Doctor Strange 2 Crew: Who is behind it?
After years of sidetracking, Scott Derrickson, the writer of the previous film has been officially brought on board to direct the sequel too, which is an absolute elation since he is a huge ‘Doctor Strange’ fan. Being a part of the MCU in an unknown capacity, the film also entails being produced by Kevin Feige, while writers Jon Spaihts and C. Robert Cargill will also most likely be returning, seeing as though they had significantly set up the future of Doctor Strange in a potential sequel too. It is still too early to be knowing who the other crew members are, so we hold off any more speculations on this one.
Doctor Strange 2 Release Date: When will it premiere?
Now, the release dates of all future MCU films are a really tricky pursuit, since Disney has only announced its upcoming release dates covering almost every quarter of every year from now on till at least 2027, now that they virtually own at least 70% of the entire industry. That’s massive and nearly unprecedented for a movie studio, and its list of release dates includes properties including Disney’s own, Pixar, the MCU, the Star Wars franchise and the newly acquired Fox releases. The slate has two slots each for Marvel films in the first weekends of May and November in 2020 and 2021. Since even November 2020 seems undoable for a film that is yet to begin production, I expect the November 5, 2021 slot for ‘Doctor Strange 2’, almost exactly 5 years after the first one released.
Read More: Doctor Strange, Explained