So. Benedict Cumberbatch has finally been confirmed as Doctor Strange.
Which, in turn, means that it's time to get fully, utterly, and completely over-excited about the arrival of the Sorcerer Supreme in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. After all, Doctor Strange isn't just an awesome, magic-wielding superhero - he's also one of the cornerstones of the modern Marvel comic-book universe.
And that means we could be set to see a whole lot of changes coming to the MCU - including a few that could alter the very fabric of the movies we know and love.
Doctor Strange Signifies the Arrival of Magic in the MCU
Now, sure, The Scarlet Witch has a whole heap of magical abilities in the comics, but in the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron she looks set to have only her more 'mutant'-like powers. Which means the stage is set for Doctor Strange to bring magic to the MCU for the first time.
Except, of course, according to Kevin Feige, it's not quite that simple. As he pointed out to ScreenRant:
"The very sort of crazy – [Steve] Ditko crazy acid trip way of traveling through dimensions and traveling through other realms is something that we think is very, very cool … playing with the perceptions of reality."
With the movie shaping up to be...
"...mind-bending and...based in physics and based in quantum mechanics. We’re going to play a lot with the notion of that as an explanation for how the sorcerers do what they do."
So we're not only set to see magic - we're about to see magic that's firmly rooted in physics, quantum mechanics and alternate dimensions. After all, as Feige revealed to BadassDigest:
If somebody knew how to tap into that stuff, what’s the difference between that and magic?"
Which is going to be a heckuva lot for Captain America to handle, I bet...
That's not all, though. After all...
Doctor Strange Could Change the Path of Civil War
Now, Doctor Strange may well not appear in any Marvel movie between now and his already announced November 2016 release date - but knowing the way Marvel works, and considering they've already subtly teased him in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, that seems a little unlikely.
Instead, he may well appear - either in cameo form, or in a small supporting role - in one of the Marvel movies set for release between now and then.
And, since 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man have both wrapped, Captain America: Civil War is the most likely option.
Now, in the comics' crossover, Doctor Strange took a pretty...distant approach to the conflict. As in, he went to the North Pole and fasted for the whole thing:
Now, Cumberbatch's Strange is...unlikely to appear in the movie doing that - but the prospect of him being somehow involved isn't all that out there. After all, the word is that Black Panther'll be taking on Spider-Man's central role as 'hero torn between the two sides' - so could Strange take over his slot as 'hero who stays out of it, until one side's atrocities force his hand'?
Doctor Strange's Villain Could Change the MCU Completely
After all, if Daniel Brühl is - as rumored - set to play only a supporting (and villainous) role in Captain America: Civil War, and to then play a larger one in Doctor Strange a few months later, that could completely alter the way the movies relate to one another.
- Brühl plays a traditional Captain America villain in Civil War - like, say, Baron Zemo - in which case Doctor Strange would have an uncharacteristically non-magical antagonist, meaning the MCU is heading in a much less comic-book-faithful direction.
- Brühl plays a traditional Doctor Strange villain in Civil War - like, say, Baron Mordo - in which case Civil War would have an uncharacteristically magical antagonist, meaning the MCU is heading in a surprisingly un-grounded direction.
Either way, Brühl - should he indeed appear as a villain in Captain America: Civil War - could well be set to completely change the Marvel Universe.
Doctor Strange Joining The Avengers Could Change Everything
Specifically, if Doctor Strange ends up in The Avengers by the time Avengers: Infinity War rolls around - as seems incredibly likely - then The Avengers as a team will be a very different proposition.
Sure, they already have a thunder-god, and a green rage monster, but what Feige was discussing up above - "traveling through other realms…playing with the perceptions of reality" - that's a whole other ball game.
It's entirely possible that we could see Earth's Mightiest Heroes head out not only into the galaxy, with its guardians - but into other dimensions entirely.
Which, if Thanos manages to pull some of the seriously messed up stuff he does in the comic-book version of Infinity War, might not be too bad of an idea.
Could we even see alternative realities? Ones with alternate versions of our beloved MCU characters, say? Realities where superheroism never found its way into existence? Even some of those we've seen in the comics...Marvel Zombies, anyone?
The big thing there, though?
Marvel's Phase 3 and Phase 4 Could Be Very Different to What We Know Now
And a big part of that could well be down to a certain Doctor Strange...