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When thinking about the inner workings of Marvel Studios, it's easy to imagine a small cabal of creative executives and filmmakers all sharing secrets and quietly building every future step of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That really isn't the case, however, and a prime example of this is how Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson learned about the plot of the upcoming The Avengers: Infinity War. It wasn't in a dimly-lit boardroom surrounded by all kinds of exciting concept art, but instead outside of a bathroom after running into Infinity War co-director Joe Russo.
I learned this funny story earlier this afternoon when I had the pleasure of hopping on the phone with Scott Derrickson in advance of Doctor Strange's arrival on Blu-ray next month. Given that Taika Waititi filmed the mid-credits scene in Strange, and that the Benedict Cumberbatch character will soon be featured in Joe and Anthony Russo's The Avengers: Infinity War, I asked the filmmaker about the talks he's had with his fellow Marvel directors about using Doctor Strange properly. After noting that it's Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige who really keeps track of all the continuity and characters, he mentioned that he hasn't had a ton of communication with Waititi or the Russos, and that he only learned the plot of Infinity War because he bumped into one of them. Said Derrickson,
We shot our movie as a standalone movie. Strange isn't really part of the MCU in the movie I made -- he doesn't enter it at all until those tag scenes at the end. And so I didn't have any conversations with Taika. I know the plot of Infinity War because I ran into Joe [Russo] outside the bathroom at Marvel once. He just kind of ended up pitching it to me. [laughs] Which was great! So I know the basics. And Joe's a great guy and we're friends. But there was never any need to consult with me; I didn't need it, I didn't ask for it.
Rather than feeling that he has to be Marvel's "Doctor Strange Consultant," Scott Derrickson is instead putting a lot of trust in Taika Waititi and the Russo brothers, who he described to me as "amazing directors." While he still retains hopes of getting the opportunity to direct Doctor Strange 2, he told me that he's happy to let them take control, because he's sure "they'll do something great with him no doubt."
After these comments, Scott Derrickson also pointed out that there is another reason behind these personal feelings as well, and it's that he's a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe who wants the opportunity to see Doctor Strange on the big screen doing stuff that he knows absolutely nothing about:
To be honest with you, how specifically they're going to use Doctor Strange, to be honest, there's a part of me that doesn't want to know. I want the movie to be a surprise!
Doctor Strange will have his next big screen appearance in Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok (due out this November), and then will appear in May 2018's The Avengers: Infinity War. Be sure to stay tuned for details about both of those projects, pick up a copy of Doctor Strange on Blu-ray and DVD February 28th, and look out for more from my interview with Scott Derrickson!