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