Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness loses director

In 2016, Marvel added yet successful superhero movie to its roster with Doctor Strange, about a brilliant but arrogant surgeon (Benedict Cumberbatch) who is unable to do his job after his hands are mangled in an accident, but finds he’s a natural with the mystic arts. And just like that, he finds a new career as a superhero!

That movie was directed by Scott Derrickson, also credited with…well, the fifth Hellraiser movie and that remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still with Keanu Reeves. I think it’s safe to venture that Doctor Strange was his biggest hit. He was on tap to direct the sequel, the excellently named Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but Variety now reports that Derrickson has left that role.

“Marvel Studios and Scott Derrickson have amicably parted ways on ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ due to creative differences,” Marvel said in a statement. “We remain grateful to Scott for his contributions to the MCU.” Derrickson put out his own statement on Twitter. It sounds pretty similar, so I’m betting they coordinated:

While Disney’s Star Wars franchise has been plagued with director turnover, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has mostly managed to avoid it, give or take the James Gunn debacle of a couple years back, and that all worked out okay. Hopefully this is just an isolated incident and not the start of a pattern for Marvel as it embarks on the fourth phase of the MCU. The parting was, after all, “amicable” — as Derrickson notes, he’s staying on as an executive producer — although “creative differences” tell us absolutely nothing about what actually happened.

Also, so far as I know, the release date for the movie is still May 7, 2021. I wonder if they already have a replacement director in mind. Given the psychedelic bent of the first Doctor Strange movie, I’d suggest Taika Waititi, but he’s busy with Thor: Love and Thunder.

As for the movie itself, it’ll apparently have more of a horror edge to it. Talking about it at the New York Film Academy, Marvel chief Kevin Feige said it was taking cues from ’80s-era Spielberg movies. “The way, when I was a kid in the ‘80s, Spielberg did an amazing job. There are horrifying sequences in Raiders [of the Lost Ark] that I would, as a little kid, [cover my eyes] when their faces melted. Or Temple of Doom, of course, or Gremlins or Poltergeist.”

Obviously, Cumberbatch will return to the role of Stephen Strange. Also on hand will be Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/the Scarlet Witch. Apparently Multiverse of Madness will tie into WandaVision, her upcoming Disney+ series. Are you all taking notes on this?

Next: How much do the Stranger Things kid make per episode? Picard? Moiraine from The Wheel of Time?

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