How Closely Does Doctor Strange Connect To The MCU? Here's What Kevin Feige Says

Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange

Later this year, the Marvel Cinematic Universe expands in a new direction when Scott Derrickson's Doctor Strange opens in theaters around the globe. Though this will serve as a proper introduction to flawed surgeon Stephen Strange (played by Benedict Cumberbatch), the movie also acts as the fourteenth film in the ongoing MCU, and fans have grown accustomed to the fact that theirs a connective tissue to these movies, to these stories, and to the action that occurs during each one.

With this in mind, we put the question to Marvel President Kevin Feige during a recent set visit to the London set of Doctor Strange. Seeing as how this standalone origin story arrives after the devastating events of Captain America: Civil War, how will Derrickson's Doctor Strange connect to the overall MCU? How much does Strange know about the Avengers, and vice versa? Feige explained to us:

One would imagine that anybody living in New York is aware of what had occurred in various instances. But like, in our real life, people go about their daily business and go about their job, and his job is to be the best neurosurgeon and to take the best cases and to get the most attention and to get the most accolades and that's what he's focused on until his accident. So he doesn't spend a lot of time talking or thinking about the Avengers.

Kevin Feige went on to explain:

This is very much a standalone introduction to a very complex character and a very complex world, which -- through this movie, and until maybe some upcoming movies -- is relatively self-contained and independent. People inhabiting the same world, who are stopping buildings from falling down and robots from doing this or aliens from doing that, these people in this movie are stopping inter dimensional forces from wiping out all of reality. So, although it doesn't necessarily come up, we've always sort of assumed that the sorcerers have bigger fish to fry. When they hear there's something happening in the city, or there's a bank being robbed, they're not thinking about it. They're thinking about, 'If we don't keep vigilant, our sense of reality will disappear and there won't be a bank to rob and there won't be a city to be conquered.'

This is the new Catch-22 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As we get to a point where they still need to do solo origin stories for new heroes -- be it Black Panther, Captain Marvel of Doctor Strange -- there is so much MCU history that can't be overlooked, so you have to dabble a little. Marvel has been VERY creative in how they have approached these new characters, dropping Black Panther in Civil War and using Iron Man to bring Spider-Man into the fold. But Strange (Cumberbatch) has not appeared on screen prior to this movie, so this will be his traditional introduction.

Where he appears on screen after that is anyone's guess.

Doctor Strange opens in theaters on November 4. We will have plenty more coverage from the set visit today, tomorrow, and the rest of the week.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.