Ah, thank you Entertainment Weekly! I can always count on you to give me some new Marvel Cinematic Universe information! And a new wallpaper for my phone.
Look at that picture as Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Stephen Strange. It's magical, but still rooted in reality.
One of the coolest quotes I ever heard Kevin Feige gave was regarding the role of magic within the MCU:
I just watched the Neil deGrasse Tyson ‘Cosmos’ series, which is amazing, and which may as well be an acid trip. It is mind-bending and it’s all 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 (Screenrant).
We also saw the beginning of magic (or just science we don't understand) in Age of Ultron (and Winter Soldier) with the Scarlet Witch.
Here's my theory about what's going to happen in the movie:
Speaking of Winter Soldier, this where we first heard of Stephen Strange in the MCU, when SHIELD traitor Agent Sitwell says:
A TV anchor in Cairo, the Under Secretary of Defense, a high school valedictorian in Iowa City, Bruce Banner, Stephen Strange, anyone who's a threat to HYDRA. Now, or in the future (IMDB).
Probably not referring to the Sorcerer Supreme yet, but somebody Zola's algorithm sees as an upcoming threat. At this point, he's probably just a high profile, super-arrogant New York surgeon. Or, perhaps by this time Strange is off in the world trying to find himself (given the limited amount of time between Soldier and Strange). Either way, he's a well-known (or formerly well-known) person within the MCU.
Oh, and arrogant Benedict Cumberbatch? Yes please! It's one of many reasons Cumberbatch is ideal for this role!
Strange's comic origin states that into his perfect arrogant life, some misery must come. In true cinematic (and literary) fashion, he becomes a better person because of it.
There is some kind of car accident (preferably with a super-car after being particularly nasty to someone) and the world's greatest surgeon loses the use of his perfect hands.
And apparently, like everybody else when confronted with a career-ending injury, he goes on some kind of vision quest to repair his hands.
Who's he looking for? Maybe the Ancient One, which now begins the second part of this article.
So who is the Ancient One?
A very powerful Sorcerer on Earth, and is Stephen Strange and Baron Mordor's mentor. Born 500 years ago, maybe this Ancient One (who is played by a female and it's been hinted that perhaps "The Ancient One" is a title passed down by the former Sorcerer Supremes) is Asgardian or some kind of alien.
Why do I say that? Because of a scene in the first Thor.
The bad guy Frost Giants run through Odin's Trophy Room which includes the Infinity Gauntlet and Eternal Flame. But there's also something called The Orb of Agamotto (above). And what does Stephen Strange wear in the EW pictures? The Eye of Agamotto!
They do kind of look similar...
I originally thought it was the Eye of Agamotto in the Trophy Room and that some kind of attack on Asgard (by the Hulk, Loki or Thanos) would knock the Eye down to Earth and into the hands of Stephen Strange. It's still a possibility, but perhaps the circumstances change.
Given the cosmic nature of magic within the MCU, I think that magic and the Eye are alien, therefore giving a more grounded base to Doctor Strange.