Two weeks ago, Marvel's newest theatrical experiment, Doctor Strange, opened in theaters nationwide to massive financial success and critical acclaim. This made it the newest addition to a long line of continuing masterpieces for the Disney-owned Marvel Universe. Doctor Strange is a stunning visual grandeur, as well as a great story and a whole lot of fun. But, most importantly, Doctor Strange plays a big role in the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and where the film series is heading next.

To catch you up on your Marvel knowledge and to prepare you for what's to come next, we're taking a look at how Doctor Strange will impact the future of Marvel going forward. So forget everything you know and strap in for the beginning of a new era of superhero storytelling.

Warning: this article will contain spoilers for Doctor Strange.

Marvel's DOCTOR STRANGE..Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch)..Photo Credit: Film Frame ..©2016 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.

What Happens Next After Doctor Strange?

With the introduction of this film, the Doctor pushes the cinematic universe to its furthest, and maybe weirdest point yet, opening a world of possibilities to head into next. Doctor Strange reminds us that the Marvel universe is still building up to their big movie, Avengers: Infinity War in 2018, with the inclusion of another Infinity Stone, the reality gem. Albeit via a cheap throwaway line that ties the movies together, the inclusion of another stone brings us one step closer to discovering all six stones leading to the climatic film. But where could the sixth stone possibly be? Doctor Strange's mid-credits scene might give us some insight into that.

The film's mid-credits scene finds Strange meeting with Thor Odinson, who has returned since his disappearance after the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Thor explains he has returned to Earth to search for his father Odin, lost after the events of Thor: The Dark World. Strange asks Thor to allow him for his assistance, as he knows is entrusted with protecting Earth from otherworldly threats, teasing that Strange, will indeed make a cameo in the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok due in theaters on November 3rd, 2017.

As Ragnarok is one of the final films before Infinity War makes its way into theaters, that leaves room to believe that the sixth and final Infinity Stone is to be found within that film. Time will tell if that theory is correct, but until then, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 might help us give some insight on where the next gem is hidden.


Why is the Infinity Stone in Doctor Strange Important?
Since Thanos made his first appearance in an end-credits scene for The Avengers, Marvel has been building their cinematic story all to conclude within the major Infinity War. As of this film, five out of the six stones to harness the power of the Infinity Gauntlet have been discovered, allowing Thanos to get closer to finding and using each stone. We still have yet to find all six and learn how exactly they will fall into the hands of Thanos, but Doctor Strange ties together the story that the MCU has been building up to since 2012.

How Does the World of Doctor Strange Affect The Avengers?

As seen in the film, Strange and The Avengers share the same universe, in fact, the same city. According to Marvel comic mythology, the Doctor has a long history with The Avengers, even becoming a member later on. Time will tell how much that will interconnect in their theatrical world, but Doctor Strange is sure to leave its mark by reminding viewers that the events of the film and the interconnected universes both play an impact on each other, most importantly, Infinity War.

Will Doctor Strange Appear in Other Marvel Movies?

At the very end of the film's credits, Marvel promises that indeed "Doctor Strange Will Return", but it doesn't specify exactly when. Luckily we know that in fact Benedict Cumberbatch has been confirmed to appear in Avengers: Infinity War and taking an educated guess judging by the mid-credits scene, he's probably likely to make an appearance in Ragnarok as well. We don't know exactly how many films Cumberbatch has signed on for, but we're sure the story of Dr. Stephen Strange is only just beginning.


What's Next From Marvel?

Looking beyond Doctor Strange, Marvel is about to begin rolling out the next batch of films in Phase Three, continuing with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 coming in May of 2017, followed by Marvel and Sony Picture's Spider-Man: Homecoming in June. Looking beyond the summer, Marvel will also debut Thor: Ragnarok in November of 2017 which will close out the year. Beyond 2017, Chadwick Boseman returns to dawn his suit for his upcoming solo movie, Black Panther for early February 2018 before the team re-assembles for Avengers: Infinity War on May 4th, 2018, which will be followed by Ant-Man and The Wasp the following July. Two more films are on the horizon beyond, including Captain Marvel and the untitled second Avengers film. Time will tell how much we'll be seeing Dr. Stephen Strange within that time.

As you can tell, the next era of Marvel storytelling is about to begin. Strap in for an amazing few years of cinema and as always, stay tuned to to stay updated on everything in and around the Marvel Cinematic Universe.