Benedict Cumberbatch has had the opportunity to portray quite a few iconic characters (fictional and non) in just the past five years, and now Marvel has announced that he has signed on for another huge role which could earn him the most money, and it’s a Strange one.

Cumberbatch’s rise to stardom was as literature’s most famous detective, Sherlock Holmes. The lead role in BBC’s SHERLOCK helped get him cast as Smaug in The Hobbit trilogy, Alan Turing, Julian Assange, and Khan from the Star Trek universe (and up-coming in the Jungle Book).

Now he has reportedly signed on to portray Dr. Stephen Strange in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Summer 2016 delivers the first Dr. Strange film, and whether it begins before that film, during it, or after the character’s solo film, Strange is heavily believed to be the character which will replace Tony Stark at the helm of The Avengers. With Robert Downey Jr already commanding a reported $40 M for work in Captain America 3, finding another charismatic character portrayed by an uber-talented actor is probably an extremely smart business move for Marvel.

Scarlet_WitchThe Dr. Strange character is a continuation of the movement towards a more mystical Avengers group. Whereas Iron Man, Captain America, and The Hulk are characters with powers and abilities rooting in science fiction, the inclusion of The Scarlet Witch and Stephen Strange signal that magical abilities are coming. Fans of The Mandarin can gain a bit of optimism that the mystical master of the rings might make a return to the series in a more traditional route with magical themes coming. If Scoot McNairy’s one-shot All Hail The King with Ben Kingsley is any viable indication, Marvel isn’t done with The Mandarin by a long shot.

Between now and the release of Dr. Strange in summer 2016, Marvel Studios has Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Ant-Man and Captain America 3 on the schedule. There are plenty of opportunities in those films to mention or even include Dr. Strange in the fun, as well as the three films Marvel Studios has scheduled for 2017.

Several actors have been rumored to be in the running for the role of Dr. Stephen Strange, including Johnny Depp, Patrick Dempsey, Joaquin Phoenix, Tom Hardy and Keanu Reeves.

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