Doctor Strange Director Takes Stand Against Studio Dictated Release Dates

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange

When it comes to release dates, it’s the studio that dictates when a movie will come out, not the director. Obviously there are times when an already dated movie will be pushed back due to complications, but more often than not, the higher profile a movie is, the more likely the creatives involved will need to push forward and ensure that it’s ready on time regardless. This is something that Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson is not a fan of whatsoever, as you can see below.

Scott Derrickson didn’t clarify in a follow-up tweet what he was specifically talking about, but it is important to note that he’s currently working on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which is set for release in May 2021 and is gearing up to begin principal photography. So unless Derrickson is subtweeting a movie that he’s unaffiliated with, it’s possible that at the moment, he’s not happy that the Doctor Strange sequel has a release already set in stone.

Marvel announcing release dates years ahead of time is nothing new, and in the case of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it, along with the rest of the Phase 4 slate, was announced at this past summer’s San Diego Comic-Con. Announcing when movies are coming out so far in advance gets fans hyped for which characters/teams are coming when, but rarely does Marvel ever budge on those dates.

There are plenty of instances in film history where a blockbuster would have been better served had it been delayed rather than forced to come on its original release date. Take Justice League, which was released in November 2017. That movie began principal photography in April 2016, only weeks after Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was release and met with a lot of critical derision. Even if Zack Snyder still ended up departing following the main shooting period and Joss Whedon still oversaw reshoots, pushing back Justice League to sometime in 2018 would have at least allowed any needed changes to the script to be made more slowly and carefully, rather than rushed through.

However, that doesn’t mean that everyone feels the same as Scott Derrickson does about studio-mandated release dates. X-Men: First Class co-writer Zack Stentz responded to Derrickson’s tweet, saying that the 13-month period between when he and Ashely Edward Miller were hired to work on the superhero movie and when it came out was actually beneficial, as it meant the studio couldn’t “endlessly second-guess things or file down the story's interesting edges” because production on the X-Men prequel was moving so fast.

One problem with delaying Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is that it’s closely intertwined with two other MCU projects. It was also revealed at 2019 SDCC that not only will Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch appear in Doctor Strange 2, but her Disney+ series WandaVision will directly tie into the sequel. We’ve since learned that Loki’s Disney+ series will also be connected to the Doctor Strange sequel.

Doctor Strange 2 and Loki are both expected to premiere in early 2021, and they’ll lead right into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. And with Doctor Strange 2 sandwiched between February’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and July’s untitled Spider-Man: Far From Home sequel, Marvel has pretty much guaranteed that, extreme and unexpected circumstances aside, the Master of the Mystic Arts has to meet its May release date, whether Scott Derrickson wants it to or not.

Again, we don’t know for a fact that Scott Derrickson is talking about Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but it is the only upcoming movie of his that has a release date. Derrickson also recently revealed that once he’s done on the sequel, he will tackle an R-rated horror movie that he’s already penned with Doctor Strange co-writer C. Robert Cargill.

As things still stand, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will work its magic in theaters on May 7, 2021. Be sure to look through our Marvel movies guide to learn more about the Phase 4 slate and beyond.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.