Elizabeth Olsen Learned About Her Doctor Strange 2 Role Surprisingly Late, And Admits It Left Her ‘Confused’

SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains very minor spoilers for Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness. If you have not yet seen the film, please proceed at your own risk!

It was about three years ago that we first learned that Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. Scarlet Witch was going to have a key role to play in Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige took the stage in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con 2019 and announced that the blockbuster would take place in the wake of the events that would unfold on the Disney+ series WandaVision, and that Wanda would be an important supporting player in the action.

What Elizabeth Olsen didn’t know at that time, however, was that she was being lined up as the principal villain of Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness – and in actuality, that wasn’t something she learned until production on WandaVision was coming to an end.

This surprising timeline came to light earlier this week when I had the pleasure of doing a virtual interview with Elizabeth Olsen about her work on the Doctor Strange sequel. In addition to talking about Scarlet Witch’s potential future with the X-Men, I asked her when it was that she learned that she was going to be the villain in her next Marvel blockbuster, and she revealed that the information wasn’t delivered to her until WandaVision returned to production after being shut down by COVID and only had a few scenes left to film. Said Olsen,

I learned about what we were gonna do in this movie right before we went back to finishing WandaVision during the pandemic break that we had. So we had only the exteriors left and primarily the end of the end of WandaVision, but all the exteriors that we hadn't shot yet. And I was confused about how do I do that now?

For those who don’t recall, WandaVision comes to an end when Wanda Maximoff discovers that she has magically altered her own reality because of the grief she experienced following the loss of her true love, Vision (Paul Bettany). She manages to fight off the influence of Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hahn), who is revealed to be manipulating her, and it briefly seems that Scarlet Witch is going to get her life together… but still lurking in her mind is her desire to be reunited with her imagined twin sons, Billy and Tommy (Julian Hilliard and Jett Klyne). That desire turns to obsession, which then turns into villainy for the plot of Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness.

WandaVision completed production in November 2020, and Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange 2 entered principal photography one month later – which forced Elizabeth Olsen to work quickly in her preparation. As she explained to me, she took on the task of connecting the dots for herself and logically taking Scarlet Witch from where we see her at the end of WandaVision to where we see her at the start of Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness. Olsen continued,

And so my goal is to figure out how to create a natural evolution from this woman who's isolating, taking accountability alone of her actions, accepting the fact that she has this destiny of being this very powerful witch and learning about it, and allowing that to be the next chapter of her life. And so I hoped that in Doctor Strange, that evolution was grounded in something and felt different and not repetitive, hopefully.

It was certainly a success. As I note in the CinemaBlend review of Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness, Elizabeth Olsen is one of the great highlights of the latest Marvel Studios blockbuster, largely because of the passion she brings to her character’s continuing arc.

All of the amazing Scarlet Witch action is now available for your consumption, as Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness – starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams, Elizabeth Olsen, Xochitl Gomez, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and more – is now playing in theaters everywhere. Keep track of all upcoming releases via our 2022 Movie Release Guide, and you can learn about everything that Marvel Studios specifically has on the way via our Upcoming Marvel Movies and Upcoming Marvel TV guides.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.