Cinematic universes are a relatively new model for franchise filmmaking, at least on the scale of the MCU, and while Marvel Studios is finding greater success with this approach than anyone could’ve anticipated, the interconnectivity of these films has also led to a few lapses in logic. And with the recent release of an official MCU timeline, an old nitpick regarding 2016’s Doctor Strange has developed some renewed traction.
To elaborate, the new book Marvel: The First Ten Years, places Captain America: The Winter Soldier in 2014, while the Sorcerer Supreme’s origin story is supposedly set in 2016-2017. So far so good, except for a little Easter Egg featured in a line from Agent Sitwell in Cap’s second film. When the villain offers Steve Rogers a few examples of the targets that Hydra has been keeping tabs on, he mentions a couple of familiar names:
“You! A TV anchor in Cairo, the other Secretary of Defense, a high school valedictorian in Iowa City, Bruce Banner, Stephen Strange, anyone who’s a threat to Hyrda.”
Seeing how Stephen Strange was still a couple of years away from getting his powers, you can see why some fans are regarding this as an inconsistency.
Of course, like most alleged plot holes in the MCU, this one has its defenders, with some arguing that Hydra regarded Stephen as a potential threat even in these early days due to his extraordinary intelligence. Granted, it still seems like a pretty huge coincidence that out of the many people Hydra were tracking, Sitwell would choose to mention this future superhero by name for no other reason than the intellect he’s displayed as a surgeon, but whatever works for you.
In any case, though Benedict Cumberbatch has kept quiet about his future in the franchise, it certainly looks like he’ll be returning for Avengers 4, which hits theaters on May 3rd, 2019, and better yet, you can expect at least a couple more Doctor Strange characters to join him.