You can tell Comic-Con you’re playing Doctor Strange all you want, Benedict Cumberbatch, but that doesn’t make it so. Contrary to the ’Batch’s “confession” at Hall H yesterday that he would play Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme, TheWrap, Variety, and Deadline are now all reporting that it’s Joaquin Phoenix who is in fact in “early talks” for the role. Couple those stories with the rumor that Phoenix was spotted shopping—specifically for Dr. Strange books—at a comic store in Connecticut last weekend, and you’ve got the makings of a major addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The Dr. Strange movie will be part of Marvel’s “Phase 3” films along with Peyton Reed’s Ant-Man, a third Captain America movie, and assorted other still-uncomfirmed titles. It will be directed by Sinister and Deliver Us From Evil’s Scott Derrickson, from a script by Prometheus’s Jon Spaihts; according to Variety, it would be one of Marvel’s major summer releases in 2016. The studio’s big San Diego Comic-Con panel is tomorrow, so don’t be surprised if definitive word on Phoenix and Dr. Strange leaks out then, assuming they can get him fitted for the Eye Of Agamotto in time.