Why Doctor Strange Cut A Shot That Would've Changed Car Crash's Message

Doctor Strange closeup poster shot

I've become obsessed with Doctor Strange. It's not a real problem. The 2016 MCU movie is now available for reviewing on Disney+, if you care, and we can all look forward to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in 2021. In the meantime, join me in dissecting the behind-the-scenes details director Scott Derrickson recently shared about the first movie's car crash scene.

The Doctor Strange director/co-writer shared an interesting note the other day explaining why a shot from the trailer was removed. It would've changed the context around Dr. Stephen Strange's car crash and it turns out Scott Derrickson wanted to make a specific point about distracted driving.

In the Doctor Strange scene, Benedict Cumberbatch's character is driving fast at night on winding roads; he's distracted by a phone conversation and looking down at medical info in his car. That's when he gets into the crash that injures his hands, preventing him from continuing as a surgeon.

A Twitter account that posts film easter eggs pointed out the "drive responsibly" message in Doctor Strange's end credits. That's the start of this story, so here it is:

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Scott Derrickson retweeted that. (Yes, he's back on Twitter now.) He also replied to a fan who made this (erroneous) argument for why a pre-crash shot in the trailer was cut from the movie:

I think in the original cut of the film Strange was supposed to be a little inebriated before the car crash scene. He can be seen holding a glass of liquor in that scene in the trailer. I’m guessing Disney poo-pooed the idea of drunk driving in a superhero movie.

Scott Derrickson replied to explain that's not what happened. He had a different plan:

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That led to one Doctor Strange fan arguing that he could've sent a strong message about drinking and driving -- "rarely do we see drunk crashes caused by the protagonist in movies/TV shows." Maybe that's a fair point, but it's not the equally important point Scott Derrickson was trying to make:

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He chose to send a message about the dangers of texting and driving. Texting and driving is a huge problem too many fans -- including MCU viewers -- tend to think won't be a problem for themselves.

Check out how the scene played out in Doctor Strange:

I think he made the right call. If the movie showed Stephen Strange drinking right before the scene, that might give fans the idea he was drunk and that's why he crashed. Instead, the doc was at his usual peak brilliance, but in his arrogance he thought he could drive at night in the rain on twisty roads and look at medical scans. The message not to drink and drive still needs to be repeated, but you see people checking their phones -- or radios, or glove compartments, or mirrors -- all the time.

Things turned out OK for Doctor Strange, though, and he had a major role in Avengers: Infinity War, even speaking the title of the next movie by saying "We're in the Endgame now."

Unlike Tony Stark, Doctor Strange has not reached his own endgame. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is arriving on May 7, 2021, with Scott Derrickson back as director and the main stars returning. Also, Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch will have a main role, and the movie is also meant to have a tie to the Disney+ series Loki. So it's a big deal on all fronts. Apparently it's even the key to the future of the MCU. Keep up with all things MCU with our handy guide.

Gina Carbone

Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.