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Benedict Cumberbatch will reportedly get paid a lot more to star in Doctor Strange 2. Marvel Studios is known for making stars, but they've also brought on their fair share of established ones. None may have been as big as getting Cumberbatch to play Stephen Strange in the MCU, as he was at the top of many fan wish-lists. Strange's solo movie was a success, but fans have really taken to him since Avengers: Infinity War. It was here (and briefly in Thor: Ragnarok) where his full power was displayed and has only made interest in a sequel rise.
There's been no official word on the status of Doctor Strange 2, save for Marvel head Kevin Feige saying it's in the studio's plans. Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson is likewise expected to return for the sequel, but nothing has formally been announced. With Derrickson possibly attached, the sequel would also give Cumberbatch another chance to put on the Cloak of Levitation. When he does, however, he may be getting paid a whole lot more to do it.
A new rumor courtesy of UK publication Mirror states that Cumberbatch is set to receive a massive pay raise for Doctor Strange 2. The outlet reports his pay will go up £5 million (or roughly $6.4M) to £7.5 ($9.6M). This raise comes after he reportedly earned £4.2 million in making Doctor Strange, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers 4.
Although Marvel already locked in Cumberbatch to a multi-film deal when he was originally signed, it isn't uncommon for renegotiations to happen when it comes to salary. Cumberbatch is now established as a major MCU presence, so it's only fitting that he be paid like one, too. With Strange likely to be around for many years to come and take on a larger role in a post-Avengers 4 MCU, this type of payday was going to come eventually.
This report should be taken with a grain of salt for the time being, but Cumberbatch finalizing a deal would indicate movement is definitely underway. The report also states that Marvel is targeting a spring production start date, which could mean Doctor Strange 2 is the mystery MCU movie slated to begin filming by summer 2019. This would further support fan speculation that Doctor Strange 2 is going to take Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3's place in Marvel's schedule. The formerly James Gunn-led movie was expected to begin shooting by early 2019 and hit theaters in May 2020, but Doctor Strange 2 could be moved up to take its place. More details will hopefully come soon, so that Doctor Strange 2's place in the larger MCU's story can be determined.