New rumors suggested that Marvel Studios intends to release Doctor Strange 3 sooner rather than later.
While it's true that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was only released in May 2022, despite being a commercial success, the film set up more than it accomplished.
Following the announcement of the Multiverse Saga and Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Secret Wars, fans questioned Stephen Strange's involvement and how his sequel would contribute.
Now, new rumors indicated that Benedict Cumberbatch's three-eyed sorcerer may be starring in his own threequel before the Avengers assemble again.
Doctor Strange 3 Before Avengers 6?
In a tweet, the scooper claimed that 2026 will include "Doctor Strange 3, Kang Dynasty and Eternals Sequel:"
"2026 Doctor Strange 3, Kang Dynasty and Eternals Sequel. They are exploring moving Avatar 4 up to November or delay it back a year to give Secret Wars December instead of pushing it to May 2027."
Big Screen Leaks supported certain details of this rumor by posting the following:
"Just heard this as well. Not sure about Derrickson returning though."
Scott Derrickson first directed 2016's Doctor Strange and was expected to helm Doctor Strange 2 before Sam Raimi was brought on board.
While multiple sources are reporting on a Doctor Strange 3 sooner than later, there are currently no untitled release slots ahead of Avengers: The Kang Dynasty.
Therefore, if Marvel intends to squeeze in Doctor Strange 3 - or any other MCU films - ahead of Avengers 5, delays would be necessary as these rumors suggest.
It's also worth noting that James Cameron already mentioned the possibility of delaying Avatar 4 to 2027, which would allow for some additional reshuffling and a lucrative December 2026 slot.
Also, back in October, Charlize Theron teased that she "has some work to do" in terms of her Doctor Strange 2 character, Clea.
A New MCU Theatrical Slate on the Way?
There was never a doubt that Doctor Strange would return to the big screen.
Ahead of Multiverse of Madness, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige touted Benedict Cumberbatch as “the anchor of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”
Following the glowing vote of confidence and Doctor Strange 2's release, Cumberbatch himself teased the character's "really exciting future" and that there are "a lot more adventures I want to have with him."
What was in doubt was whether Strange would have any presence within the MCU leading up to Avengers 5 and 6.
However, due to Strange's ties to the Multiverse and his role as a leader, it makes sense that Marvel would want a Doctor Strange film to lead into Kang Dynasty, even if it requires delays.
If so, Avengers 5 and possibly 6 wouldn't be the only MCU projects to be pushed back.
While other films would likely be rescheduled, there's already mounting evidence that Marvel intends to delay several MCU Disney+ series as well.
As for Scott Derrickson, his attachment to the film wouldn't be surprising either, especially in light of the lackluster reception for Sam Raimi's Doctor Strange 2.
If these rumors are true, Marvel Studios may be making a few announcements in the coming weeks about its updated slate and ahead of Kang the Conqueror's first MCU film, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is available to stream on Disney+.