Spider-Man 3 star Tom Holland predicted, or tipped off, a team-up with Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange while promoting Spider-Man: Far From Home in 2019. The co-creations of Stan Lee and Steve Ditko and the subjects of frequent team-ups in the Marvel comics, the two characters wouldn't meet on screen until they were brought together in 2018's Avengers: Infinity War. Science and sorcery collided when Spider-Man, paired with mentor Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), clashed with Strange as he carried out his duties as Master of the Mystic Arts and keeper of one of the six Infinity Stones coveted by Thanos (Josh Brolin).
It was that dichotomy between the science-based Spider-Man and the magic-wielding Doctor Strange that made Holland name Cumberbatch's character as the Marvel superhero he wished to team-up with next, following pairings with Iron Man and then Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson).
"I'm really wanting to do a team-up with Doctor Strange, because we're both New Yorkers and I just really like the idea of a science guy being teamed up with a guy who does magic," Holland told CinemaBlend in June 2019. "Because it totally contradicts everything he knows. And I like the idea that there is real science that Peter Parker talks about, and then there's Doctor Strange gibberish, where he's like, 'The time rift and the thing and the thing.' So it's kind of fun."
Holland and Cumberbatch were paired together for interviews during the press rounds for Avengers: Infinity War, and the actors collaborated outside the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the historical drama The Current War.
When Holland and Cumberbatch's superheroes reunite in the as-yet-untitled Spider-Man 3, it's at a time when Spider-Man — framed for the faked murder of hoaxer Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) in Far From Home — has been exposed as unassuming high school student Peter Parker. In the Marvel comics, Strange once conspired with Tony Stark and Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four to restore Spider-Man's secret identity after it was made public.
Joining Holland and Cumberbatch in Spider-Man 3 is Jamie Foxx, who reprises his role as supercharged supervillain Electro. Because Foxx already portrayed the character opposite Andrew Garfield's wall-crawler in 2014's The Amazing Spider-Man 2, some have speculated the threequel is stepping into the Marvel multiverse as a live-action Spider-Verse movie.
"It's really exciting, the ideas we have for how we can expand the Spider-Man world and bring new characters into it, and crossover with other people," a tight-lipped Holland said about Spider-Man 3 during a convention appearance last August. "And it's only going to get bigger and better from here, which is great."
Marvel and Sony's Spider-Man 3 swings into theaters on December 17, 2021. Strange returns alongside Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch in the Sam Raimi-directed Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, due out from Marvel Studios on March 25, 2022.