The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been so good because everything has been done with pre-planned plotting. Marvel has focused on every little detail! Ant-Man and the Wasp was based on a split second moment that was shown in Ant-Man when he went subatomic and the Marvel fans saw a silhouette of Janet Van Dyne in the Quantum Realm which was extended in the sequel. But there is one little moment that happened in Captain America 2 which was never touched, and that was the Doctor Strange name drop.
Winter Soldier was the first time we heard the name Stephen Strange in the MCU. While Marvel fans were excited to hear that, it did not make any sense back then. The situation where the name was taken was when HYDRA was monitoring every individual using Zola’s Algorithm, and that allowed them to predict any future threats and while Captain America and Bruce Banner were amongst those threats, it turned out that Stephen Strange was among those names as well.
That gave rise to a supposed plot hole that how could Stephen Strange be a threat back then when he was not even active as Doctor Strange. The first solo movie of Strange showed that he was a very renowned surgeon and after a fatal accident, he went to Kamar Taj looking for some way in which he could heal himself. Then he spent years in Kamar Taj and after years of practice, he came back as Doctor Strange. So, it was assumed that his time in Kamar Taj was the same time when HYDRA was inspecting individuals so how could his name have popped up on project insight. That is what created a massive plot hole.
But people presuming this were actually wrong. At the time Project Insight was inspecting people he was just a popular surgeon and nothing more, and the reason why his name popped on their radar was that Zola’s Algorithm predicted him to be a potential threat for the future. So technically, there was no plot hole at all. But one would think that how do Stephen Strange’s skills as a surgeon become a threat to HYDRA.
So for that there is a theory given by Whatculture, which suggests that “What if they weren’t tracking Doctor Strange based on his status at the time of Project Insight?” What if the Doctor Strange they were tracking was actually a future version of him who has become the Sorcerer Supreme and would be a threat to anyone.
We have seen that Time manipulation has been established in the MCU and Avengers 4 will be a major Time Travel event, so there could be some situation that could have Doctor Strange traveling back to the timeline of The Winter Soldier, and that is where he gets tracked by HYDRA. This could work but it would feel too far a stretch just to fix a potential plot hole I mean the story of Strange going back to that timeline would have to be really satisfying for this to work.
As far as going to great lengths for fixing plot holes is concerned, Disney made a whole movie (Star Wars: Rogue One) to explain a decade old plot hole, so they could easily have Marvel do this if it does end up being necessary and convenient at the same time. But we as fans are rather satisfied with the explanation that Strange got name dropped due to his skills as a Surgeon and him becoming a big name in the future.
Doctor Strange will return to from the dead in Avengers 4 which will come out in about 8 months. Avengers 4 will be out on May 3, 2019, is directed by Joe & Anthony Russo. The movie will presumably star Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Danai Gurira, Peter Dinklage, Benedict Wong, Pom Klementieff, Karen Gillan, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Gwyneth Paltrow, Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin, Chris Pratt, Paul Rudd, and Brie Larson.
Here’s the official Synopsis of Avengers 4:
“A culmination of 22 interconnected films the fourth installment of the Avengers saga will draw audiences to witness the turning point of this epic journey. Our beloved heroes will truly understand how fragile this reality is and the sacrifices that must be made to uphold it.”