Doctor Strange 2 Started Over Completely After Original Director Exited
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness writer Michael Waldron says he and director Sam Raimi started from scratch when they took over the film.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness started from scratch after original director Scott Derrickson left the project. Derrickson helmed the first Doctor Strange movie, which was a critical and commercial success back in 2016. He was slated to return for the sequel, but eventually exited due to creative differences with Marvel. Despite no longer directing, Derrickson is staying involved with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness , serving as an executive producer.
Sam Raimi stepped in to replace Derrickson in the director’s chair, and since then things have gone relatively smoothly. Even with production having to go on hold earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness wrapped filming in April, well ahead of its March 2022 release date. Considering Raimi only took the job in April 2020, it’s impressive the film’s stayed on track - especially since the new creative team opted for a hard reset after signing on.
In a Vanity Fair profile on Loki writer Michael Waldron (who also penned the Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness script), he discussed his time on the movie sequel. He mentioned he and Raimi “started from scratch” when they took over.
This implies little, if anything, from Derrickson’s original version was carried over, which isn’t surprising. Since creative differences were what led to him leaving, Marvel was obviously interested in taking the Doctor Strange franchise in a different direction. Raimi is also a big-name director with a background in both the horror and superhero genres, so it makes sense the studio was willing to give him a clean slate when he signed on. While the Marvel Cinematic Universe is known for thinking ahead and formulating a plan, they’ve also shown on multiple occasions they’ll give their directors appropriate creative freedom. It’s nice to see Marvel didn’t box Raimi in, though Waldron did “acknowledge the foundation” from the first movie. In all likelihood, he and Raimi used that as a jumping off point for their own story.
It’ll be interesting to see what they came up with. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is poised to be one of the more intriguing Phase 4 titles, with its connections to WandaVision and integration of the MCU’s multiverse concept. It’s also confirmed to have connections to Spider-Man: No Way Home , which is weaving in its own multiverse elements by bringing in several actors from pervious Spider-Man film franchises. It definitely sounds like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a very ambitious project, and a creative mind like Raimi should be able to deliver an entertaining spin on the property. It’s for the best he was given an opportunity to start from scratch.