Ewan McGregor is the favourite to be cast as Doctor Strange in Marvel's film of the same name.

The 43-year-old actor is reportedly Marvel Studios' first choice for the role of the powerful magician who serves as the Sorcerer Supreme protecting Planet Earth.

According to website Badass Digest, McGregor has been researching the role and has been reading various comic books detailing the superhero's feats and powers.

However, Variety is reporting that McGregor faces competition from five other actors, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ethan Hawke, Jared Leto, Matthew Mcconaughey and 'Star Wars Episode VII' star Oscar Isaac, for the part.

Phoenix had at one stage been the frontrunner for the role but discussions are said to have broken down because the Oscar winner was unhappy with the terms of his Marvel contract.

A casting announcement is expected soon as shooting on 'Doctor Strange' is due to start at the beginning of 2015 with the movie scheduled for release in July 2016.

The character - who first appeared in Marvel Comics in 1963 - is a former neurosurgeon who after a car accident irreversibly damages his hands decides to search the globe for a cure but instead meets the Earth's Supreme Sorcerer and is trained to take on the responsibility to protect the planet from threats.

Strange draws his powers from various magical artefacts such as the Cloak of Levitation - which enables him to fly - and the Eye of Agamotto, whose light is used to negate evil magic.

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has previously stated the film will be a gateway to the company's supernatural characters and stories.

He said: ''With Strange, it is a classic Marvel origin story because he's got one of the best origins ever. And it's our opportunity to take that left turn into the supernatural. Now, what is the definition of supernatural? It varies. We like the idea of playing with alternate dimensions ... and traveling through other realms is something that we think is very, very cool.''