Even though the actual cast of Spider-Man: No Way Home has been intensely speculated upon for months, Doctor Strange's involvement in Peter Parker's Multiversal threequel has never been a mystery. While the MCU's Sorcerer Supreme, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, has cameoed or co-starred in other heroes' films in the past, he looks to be a significant player in No Way Home laying the groundwork for his next film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Set to release on May 6, 2022, and directed by Sam Raimi, Doctor Strange 2 will also star Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff or the Scarlett Witch, alongside Benedict Wong as Wong, along with rumored "significant cameos" with theories ranging from the X-Men to Loki.
Since time is a reoccurring theme in the MCU these days, it makes sense for Strange to be at the forefront of this stage of the MCU. However, now that OG Avengers have bowed out and new characters are being introduced on a near-weekly basis, the question is what the future holds for Cumberbatch's Strange after the events of Multiverse of Madness.
Will Benedict Cumberbatch Return After Doctor Strange 2?
A Benedict Cumberbatch interview from USA Today included a photo of the character along with a quote from the actor as its caption. Interestingly enough, the quote was not part of the article; but it did tease Cumberbatch's perspective on his character's future within the MCU after Multiverse of Madness.
According to Cumberbatch,
"As long as the character is interesting and challenging and doing fantastic things in the MCU, why not?"
Even though Strange has been part of the MCU since 2016, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is only the character's second solo film. Also, in terms of time as a central theme of Marvel Studios' Phase 4, No Way Home and Doctor Strange 2 are only getting things started.
Thanks to Loki on Disney+, Kang the Conqueror has been unleashed within the MCU and is set to appear in 2023's Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania.
Stranger Things Ahead for Benedict Cumberbatch?
By the time Doctor Strange 2 arrives in theaters, nearly six years will have passed between the release of 2016's Doctor Strange and the character's second solo film. In contrast, Tom Holland's Spider-Man: Homecoming debuted in 2017 and his third film will have completed its theatrical run before Multiverse of Madness debuts.
Basically, Doctor Strange 2 is long overdue. Although, with the original Spider-Man trilogy and horror director Sam Raimi at the helm, along with Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlett Witch and potential "surprise" cameos, the sequel sounds like it will be well worth the wait and a pivotal film for the MCU moving forward.
As to Strange's own post-Madness path, it's likely that his authority on time and the Multiverse will be needed in projects to come. In addition to Quantumania, Marvel Studios also has Season 2 of Loki in the works, along with Season 2 of What If...?
Also, since Doctor Strange 2 is only Cumberbatch's second solo film, it's unlikely his character's journey has reached its conclusion; and with so many new, young characters making their entrance, the MCU still needs experienced, seasoned heroes at the forefront, which are sure to keep him both "interesting and challenging."
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits theaters on May 6, 2022.