Doctor Strange Rumor Mill Heats Up: Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy

The Dark Knight Rises villain Tom Hardy and Star Trek Into Darkness baddie Benedict Cumberbatch [...]

The Dark Knight Rises villain Tom Hardy and Star Trek Into Darkness baddie Benedict Cumberbatch are at the top of Marvel Studios' wish list to appear in the forthcoming film adaptation of Doctor Strange, according to Deadline.

They're not the first names to be attached to the film, of course; sources a few months ago told several sites including that Jon Hamm had already been cast in the title role, while Jared Leto made some headlines earlier this week. Still, almost everyone in the press seems to be assuming these two are being considered for the lead and not a supporting or villain role.

Rumor has it Marvel wants the character to carry some of the weight that will be off of Robert Downey, Jr.'s shoulders at the end of his deal, creating a popular personality from a character that comparably few people know much about in the way Downey was able to do for Iron Man. Of course, "rumor has it" that's the case with Chris Pratt's Star-Lord, too, so perhaps people just like to gossip -- or perhaps Marvel isn't putting pressure on any one actor, but is hoping one of their new characters breaks through to fill that role.

Doctor Strange doesn't have an official release date yet -- it's still not technically been announced, although director Scott Derrickson seemingly confirmed via Twitter (right) that he's doing it and Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige was the first to say in an interview that it was coming up in Phase the lack of an announcement doesn't so much throw the film into question as it does give them something to announce at Comic Con even if they want to keep the rest of their slate fairly under wraps.

The script is reportedly from Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer, although it's unclear whether that's the script they're working with now or whether that's the writing team that was reportedly getting their script extensively rewritten by the studio a few months ago, so names could be added to that script down the line.