The miracle of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that it has (so far) produced 23 films across two studios with barely a dud among them. But like any winning streak, there's always the question of when it will end. With 2020-2021 mapped out across both big and small screens, a lot is riding on the titles coming as part of Phase 4. But it also means any shakeup in the long-planned road to box office domination is met with raised eyebrows. These details about Doctor Strange 2 are the sort of behind-the-scenes shufflings that have fans asking if everything's going well.
It all started when Scott Derrickson, the writer-director of the sequel Doctor Strange & The Multiverse of Madness, left the project, with little under 18 months to go before the film reaches theaters. Marvel cited "creative differences," a catchall for when these things don't work out. But considering all the moving parts surrounding the next Doctor Strange, it was troubling to think the production and the director had not been on the same page.
That was compounded by the move of WandaVision away from Doctor Strange's May of 2021 release date, to December of 2020. At San Diego Comic-Con, WandaVision star Elizabeth Olson expressly declared the Disney+ series and the film were supposed to be linked together as one overall story. Now it seemed like that might no longer be the case.
But Marvel is nothing if not savvy as to how narratives take hold. Derrickson's departure needed to be counterbalanced with a replacement director fans would get behind. To that end, the company is currently working to bring director Sam Raimi aboard. His Spider-Man trilogy starring Tobey Maguire made the rise of the Marvel Cinematic Universe possible. If there's one director who fans already trust, sight unseen, it's Raimi.
But that's not all. The Hollywood Reporter has revealed the showrunner behind Disney+ highly-anticipated series Loki will also come aboard. Michael Waldron, who is the driving force and head writer on Loki, has been tapped to rework the Doctor Strange & The Multiverse of Madness script. Exactly what will change is not clear. For example, THR points out Doctor Strange 2 was initially billed at SDCC as Marvel's first dip into horror. That may be lessened in rewrites.
But this move also means there will be direct collaboration between those working on Phase 4's Disney+ series and those working on its big-screen iterations. It sends a message these changes do not mean continuity between the streaming shows and films will be scrapped. If anything, Doctor Strange just got a jolt of Loki's chaotic energy. The results could be marvelous.