Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is the long-awaited forthcoming sequel to the Benedict Cumberbatch sleeper hit. Few expected anything released by Marvel Studios to do anything less than healthy box office, but the $677 million U.S. gross for the “Sorcerer Supreme’s” debut was a shock. Fans clamored for more Benedict Cumberbatch/Stephen Strange, and they got him in several Marvel films. He finally gets a solo project with the sequel, and the film will be noteworthy. Look for new characters, important ones, to debut in the project.

Marvel Studio chief Kevin Feige recently spoke about the second Doctor Strange film, and he acknowledged new MCU characters are coming in the sequel. He won’t reveal who the characters are, to the chagrin of attendees of his panel discussion at the New York Film Academy.

Anyone who knows a little bit about motion picture marketing shouldn’t feel slighted that Feige didn’t go into details. The time is too early. At present, Marvel Studios wants to promote 2020’s efforts, which include the hyped released of Winter Soldier and WandaVision on the Disney+ streaming platform. Several other characters come to the streaming service in 2021, as well.

Marvel releases Black Widow and Eternals in 2020. The Doctor Strange sequel won’t hit movie screens until May 7, 2021, which is after the February release of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. With so many projects preceding the return of Dr. Strange, Feige isn’t likely to reveal too much. Perhaps the Dr. Strange sequel doesn’t even have an agreed-upon plot and timeline. Perhaps the film intends to debut new characters, but no one has already chosen what characters will make an inaugural appearance.

The decision to continue bringing new characters to the big and small screen helps keep Marvel films fresh. Not every new character is as big of a hit as Doctor Strange, unfortunately. The two Ant-Man films did okay at the box office, but the returns were spectacular. The same is true of the “Distinguished Competition’s” feature Shazam!

Cumberbatch’s star power, combined with an excellent story, made Doctor Strange a top film and created a new A-list cinematic superhero. Expect the sequel to perform magically at the box office.