Sources have confirmed to Screendaily that the actor is in negotiations to star in Marvel Studios’ upcoming adaptation.

Scott Derrickson will direct the story, long regarded as one of the tougher big screen prospects.

That has not diminished fan excitement, however. Doctor Strange is a neurosurgeon charged with protecting earth from paranormal threats.

Only on Thursday (24) Benedict Cumberbatch, appearing at the DreamWorks Animation panel, made what he called an in-joke that those familiar with the world of Doctor Strange would understand.

That comment sparked a fair amount of speculation as to the British actor’s possible participation in the film.

For now however, all eyes are focused on Phoenix, the Oscar nominee whose latest film Inherent Vice will receive its world premiere on October 4 as the centerpiece selection at the New York Film Festival.