Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange, will cast his spell on moviegoers once again. In Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Benedict Cumberbatch will again don the Cloak of Levitation for an all-new adventure that will take the Master of the Mystic Arts to the weirdest corners of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — and, quite possibly, beyond.
Although Cumberbatch will be back for the sequel, there will be a new face behind the camera after the unexpected departure of director Scott Derrickson. With the film scheduled to hit theaters in May 2021, here’s everything that we know about Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness so far.
Production still on track
Despite many, many movies being put on hold this year, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will not be one of them. Variety reports that the movie is “still on track to begin filming in June.” According to the report, pre-production on the film has continued “remotely.”
To the surprise of, well, just about everyone, filmmaker Scott Derrickson let it be known January 9 that he would not be directing Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The announcement was made via Twitter, with Derrickson citing “creative differences” with the studio.
Marvel and I have mutually agreed to part ways on Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness due to creative differences. I am thankful for our collaboration and will remain on as EP.
— N O S ⋊ Ɔ I ᴚ ᴚ Ǝ ᗡ ⊥ ⊥ O Ɔ S (@scottderrickson) January 10, 2020
Derrickson will stay on as an executive producer on the film, but with cameras initially expected to begin rolling in May, Marvel will need to find a new director for Multiverse of Madness as soon as possible if it’s going to remain on target for a premiere one year later.
Derrickson wrote and directed the first Doctor Strange, which made over $600 million at the global box office and was the biggest debut take for a Marvel character at the time (in 2018, Doctor Strange lost that title to Black Panther).
Ties to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe
This time around, Doctor Strange won’t be a solo act. Marvel hasn’t officially said whether or not Benedict Wong will return as Stephen Strange’s assistant or whether Rachel McAdams will reprise her role as Christine Palmer, Strange’s love interest, although both seem likely. However, we do know that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will have one big co-star: Elizabeth Olsen will appear in the movie as her Avengers character, the Scarlet Witch.
In fact, Wanda Maximoff is slated to play a big part in Doctor Strange’s next adventure, which will spin directly out of the events of the Scarlet Witch’s upcoming Disney+ series, WandaVision. What that means isn’t clear. Disney and Marvel haven’t said much about WandaVision other than that it will have both Olsen and Paul Bettany as the Vision as co-leads. Even that tidbit raises more questions than answers, though: The Vision died in Avengers: Infinity War. How he will return remains a mystery.
At the very least, however, this news confirms that the impending MCU series on Disney+ will have a direct impact on the feature films, instead of being shunted off to the side like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Netflix’s Defenders lineup.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will be the fourth film of Marvel’s fourth phase, and is scheduled to arrive in theaters on May 7, 2021. That’s after Black Widow and The Eternals, which are both slated for 2020, and February 2021’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Doctor Strange will be followed by Thor: Love and Thunder in November 2021.
The MCU’s first horror flick?
Although he’s no longer in the director’s chair, Derrickson indicated during Comic-Con 2019 that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will be “the first scary MCU movie,” and that it will embrace “the Gothic and the horror” that made Derrickson fall in love with Doctor Strange in the first place. Whether that changes in the wake of his departure from the project is unknown at this point, but horror fans are likely hoping Marvel finds another horror-friendly filmmaker to take over the movie.
Updated March 27, 2020, with news that production is still on schedule.
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