Home Entertainment Scott Derrickson steps down as Doctor Strange 2 director

Scott Derrickson steps down as Doctor Strange 2 director

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Well, this is a surprising turn of events. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, easily the most fantastically titled and one of the most hotly expected upcoming films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has lost director Scott Derrickson. Derrickson, who helmed 2016’s Doctor Strange and introduced Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sorcerer Supreme to the MCU, tweeted out the news himself revealing that the reason for his vacating the director’s chair is once again that old Hollywood go-to of “creative differences”.

What’s interesting though that, as the filmmaker mentions, he will actually still remain onboard as executive producer. In a statement to Variety about Derrickson’s departure that echoed the director’s sentiments, Marvel also noted that both parties reached this decision “amicably”. So this doesn’t appear to be another Edgar Wright situation where the filmmaker and studio disagree so vehemently on a film that it sours all relations. Which makes his decision to step down even more bizarre.

Derrickson, who co-wrote the original film with C. Robert Cargill and Jon Spaihts, was one of the big reasons for what made the first Doctor Strange film so unique. Its trippy, mind-bending visuals and time-rewinding shenanigans led it to being a huge critical success and earning $677.7 million worldwide. Before joining the MCU, Derrickson had been known primarily as a horror director with films like Sinister and The Exorcism of Emily Rose. Marvel had been looking to leverage those skills, with Marvel boss Kevin Feige recently revealing that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness would boast several PG-13 horror elements. Will that approach change under a new director?

As for getting that replacement, Marvel doesn’t appear to be too concerned as the film is still scheduled to start production in May of this year for a 7 May 2021 release. So either the comic book film studio already has somebody in mind to take the director’s chair, or they’re supremely confident in their abilities to locate one.

It was revealed in October of last year that up-and-coming writer Jade Halley Bartlett (who has a number of hotly touted screenplays in production) had been tapped by Marvel to pen Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. At the time it was unclear if she would have sole writing credit or whether Derrickson would co-write with her. Unfortunately, we’ve received no clarification either way in the wake of Derrickson’s departure as director, but I would like to think that as EP he would still have some input over story direction.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is being positioned as a majorly important entry in the MCU lineup with Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff aka Scarlet Witch jumping straight from the WandaVision series on Disney+ into the Doctor Strange sequel. Also confirmed to be joining Olsen and Cumberbatch in the film will be Benedict Wong, and it’s probably likely that Chiwetel Ejiofor will reprise his role as Mordu from the first film.

Last Updated: January 10, 2020

9 Comments

  1. Jade Hayley Bartlett? Who?

    Reply

    • Kervyn Cloete

      January 10, 2020 at 10:43

      She’s a new young writer whose scripts landed on the Black List (annual list of the best unproduced scripts in Hollywood).. She’s got two films that are currently in production, one of which is being produced by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Marvel often gives promising new writers opportunities on their movies.

      Reply

      • Stoompot

        January 10, 2020 at 11:05

        Couldn’t find her, seems the middle name is missing a l in the article

        Reply

        • Kervyn Cloete

          January 10, 2020 at 11:12

          Yeah that was a typo. Sorry. Fixed it soon after publishing, but apparently not soon enough.

          Reply

          • Stoompot

            January 10, 2020 at 11:25

            It’s cool, hope she nails it.

  2. RideBoks

    January 10, 2020 at 10:34

    I hope this doesn’t mean another bland ass movie, with all the top heroes gone they have to swing big to keep interest in the MCU.

    Reply

  3. Daniel Hallinan

    January 10, 2020 at 11:05

    Erk.

    Director switcheroo is very often a red flag. A pity, since I was curious about the horror approach they were hinting at.

    Curious if those creative differences were along similar lines to The Hobbit, in that it was “too dark” for the brand image.

    Reply

    • Kervyn Cloete

      January 10, 2020 at 11:25

      Well Feige had already said earlier that it wouldn’t be full-blown horror but more like the kinda scary PG-13 stuff that Spielberg used to do. So it’s weird that that would be the cause, but I won’t put anything past Hollywood.

      Reply

      • Daniel Hallinan

        January 10, 2020 at 11:31

        Ah, you’re right I remember that!

        I supose that kinda stuff can still vary wildly, especially if one remembers some of the PG-13 films that came out in the 90’s / early 00’s, and they can still get pretty damned dark.

        But it’s also entirely possible that “too dark” is the completely wrong take for what the disagreement was. Maybe, I dunno, Derrickson just wanted to use more green than the studio was comfortable with.

        Reply

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