Doctor Strange is not just a brand new movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but also a gateway into a whole new realm of fantasy within the larger franchise. While we have gotten tastes of it in past Marvel movies, the new blockbuster is the first to truly dive head-first into the world of sorcery. As such, there was a certain responsibility on writer/director Scott Derrickson to have a personal, intimate knowledge of magic in the MCU -- and he definitely did his homework, going as far as to trace the entire history of the Sorcerer Supremes.
This past weekend was the Doctor Strange press day in Los Angeles, and it was while sitting down with Scott Derrickson that I learned about his efforts to discover the nooks and crannies of magic in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While I specifically asked him what he thought the sorcerers were up to during The Avengers's Battle of New York, he didn't provide any kind of deep detail, but did say that he definitely created his own version of the history. Said the filmmaker,
I think as the writer and director in my mind I need to have a very thorough backstory, and I have ideas about the Sorcerers Supreme between Agamotto and the Ancient One -- how many people carried that title. None of that ever comes up, but it's all in my head, yeah. And the actors want to ask questions like that sometimes, and you gotta have answers!
A part of why Scott Derrickson was able to make this magical history for himself within Doctor Strange was because he was given complete freedom by Marvel Studios to make all the proper creative decisions. According to him, there was no point in either writing or directing the movie that he felt that his vision was being impugned -- partially because there is a certain distance that exists between this particular title and the rest of the titles in the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. Said Derrickson,
I was drawing on the early Lee/Ditko comics as heavily as I could, and other comics as well. [I had] 100 percent freedom -- I never felt any constraint to limit tone, to limit story, to limit characters in any way because of the MCU. It's such a standalone movie, and the bits that do interlace with the MCU were effortless additions and it was easy.
You can watch Scott Derrickson talk about creating a history of magic in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the video below:
In addition to Scott Derrickson, I also had the pleasure to sit down with stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Mads Mikkelson, and Benedict Wong at the Doctor Strange press day -- and you can expect a lot more from my interviews in the coming weeks! Stay tuned for that, and look for the new Marvel movie in theaters starting November 4th.