Warning: Spoilers for Captain America: The Winter Soldier below.
We all know that Marvel Studios is making plans for Doctor Strange, but it wasn't until this weekend's Captain America: The Winter Soldier that we got an official confirmation that the character does indeed exist in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. When speaking with Captain America and Black Widow, Agent Jasper Sitwell (Maximiliano Hernández) mentions a list of potential future threats and on that list is "Stephen Strange," the full name of the magic-themed character.
When asked by our friends at CraveOnline about the inclusion of the character's name, and whether that implied him being active in the world at that moment, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige had this to say:
"Well, 'we' know what it means and where we want to head with it, but we were comfortable with keeping it in there and leaving it in there because there are a few different ways to interpret it. The whole thing, what Sitwell’s saying is, this algorithm is going to predict if you’re going to become a problem for Hydra or not. So you don’t have to just be Tony Stark, actively plotting to save the world. You could be a kid whose SAT scores and whose essays have indicated that you’re going to be a problem one day. So is Stephen Strange the Sorcerer Supreme? Probably not at that point. Is he an unbelievably talented neurosurgeon who’s opinionated and kind of arrogant? Probably. That might put him on the list."
Fans also no doubt noticed that fellow S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Clint Barton aka Hawkeye wasn't around for the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but Feige says those eager to see more of him will get their fix with next year's Avengers: Age of Ultron.
"We will discover, later, the answers to that question. But it really came down to how many players can you have on the field at this time? We really wanted to bring in Falcon, we really wanted to team [Captain America] up with Black Widow, we really wanted Fury to have more of a part than he’s ever had in any of the other movies before. We wanted, ever so briefly, to introduce Sharon Carter. And we had a fun place for Maria Hill to be involved. So we didn’t want to just have, “Hey, I’m Hawkeye! Hey, I’m Iron Man!” We want to avoid the brief cameos of the week….Not every character from every movie is going to be in Age of Ultron, for sure. But Joss [Whedon] is excited and, for the characters you haven’t seen since the first Avengers – like Hawkeye, like Hulk – there’s a reason for that, and that gets showcased quite prominently in Age of Ultron."
You can check out more of Feige's quotes about one of the end credit scenes by clicking here. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is in theaters now and Avengers: Age of Ultron is set for release on May 1, 2015.