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Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange in Doctor Strange

Over the summer, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige announced an exciting lineup of movies and television shows following the grand culmination of Avengers: Endgame. One of those was a sequel to 2016's Doctor Strange to be directed once again by Scott Derrickson. Fast-forward to today, Derrickson is officially stepping down from that post, leaving Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness without a director.

This update comes from Variety, and the outlet received confirmation about the news from Marvel Studios, which attributed Scott Derrickson's exit to "creative differences." However, Derrickson will remain as an executive producer for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Marvel also said in its statement that it has “amicably parted ways” with Scott Derrickson and will continue to remain grateful to his contributions to the MCU. Derrickson’s departure from the Doctor Strange sequel isn’t expected to cause any delay for principal photography, with production still scheduled to begin this May ahead of its May 7, 2021 release date. The search for a director to replace Derrickson is already in the works too.

Just a few weeks ago, Scott Derrickson took a stand against the tightly dictated release dates placed by studios in a tweet. Check it out below:

The director didn’t explicitly connect his tweet to his relationship with Marvel, but considering Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was his next project, one could put two and two together. Marvel is certainly quite strict with the release dates for its movies – especially considering each MCU film often connects with the movies before and after them.

When the Doctor Strange sequel was originally announced at San Diego Comic Con, the director said it would be the “first scary MCU movie” along with saying these words to the excited audience at Hall H:

When I came and talked to [Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige] about doing a sequel, I said, ‘I don’t want to do just another sequel. If I’m going to do it, it needs to go into the territory that drew me into the Doctor Strange comics in the first place’ – which is how they dipped into the gothic and the horror and the horrific.

Last week, Kevin Feige clarified by saying Multiverse of Madness won’t necessarily be a horror film, but an MCU film with scary sequences in it. Perhaps Scott Derrickson wanted to push it further than the means of a Disney film? Before the director helmed the first Doctor Strange in 2016, he famously worked on Sinister, Deliver Us From Evil and The Exorcism of Emily Rose.

A recent change was made to the Phase Four lineup when the Disney+ television show WandaVision was moved up from Spring 2021 (right before Doctor Strange 2) to later this year. Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch is expected to have a key role in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, with her series leading up to the movie.

The Doctor Strange sequel will be preceded by Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on February 12, 2021, and the third Spider-Man MCU film will come two months after Stephen Strange's return on July 16, 2021. Phase Four will close out in 2021 with Thor: Love and Thunder.

What do you think about Scott Derrickson’s exit and who would you like to see replace him? Sound off in the comments below!