Collider's Adam Chitwood reported last evening that his website's sources are hearing Joaquin Phoenix and Marvel are finally nearing completion on a deal. Personally, Collider always seems to be pretty upfront and generally tries to take a more journalistic approach to its news reporting so I have little doubt that Chitwood has been hearing these rumors. However, I would like to caution any of our readers with the fact that anything could happen at this point in time and that even at "the 1-yard line" negotiations can and have fallen through.
Let us start with what we know. First, Marvel has two movies opening up in 2016, Captain America 3 on May 6 and a still-yet-to-be-announced film for July 8. Also, in June Variety reported that Scott Derrickson has been attached to direct the Dr. Strange film which was shortly followed by a tweet of apparent confirmation from Mr. Derrickson himself. Derrickson's repertoire up until this point consists solely of horror films that I have not seen, but are generally met with some positive critical recognition. Any film needing to hit a release date by mid-2016 will have to start filming early next year, which would most likely point to Dr. Strange seeing as it is the only solo Marvel film left with an attached director.
Without getting ahead of myself, this would be an absolutely huge get for Marvel. Phoenix is one of the most incredible actors on the planet right now and could probably get just about any role he wanted. I recently finally got the opportunity to sit down and watch The Master and was blown away by the intensity the man can bring to a role. If Phoenix is indeed Dr. Strange, then this will film instantly belongs near the forefront of every superhero fan's most anticipated list as it is on mine.