Doctor Strange Director Scott Derrickson Breaks Silence On Leaving The Multiverse Of Madness

Benedict Cumberbatch is Doctor Strange

There was a shake-up behind the scenes on a major, upcoming Marvel Studios film, and we’re still kind of scratching our heads over what went down. Scott Derrickson, the director of the original Doctor Strange, revealed that he would not be returning for the announced sequel, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Shortly after the news broke, Derrickson took to his own Twitter feed to reveal the classic reason WHY he’s leaving the project.

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“Creative differences.” But that’s what has us shaking our heads. Because from what we understood, Derrickson was instrumental in determining where the follow up to his own Doctor Strange was going to go. He’s an original director returning to his franchise for a second story. Wouldn’t he and Marvel have spoken about WHERE they planned to go together before getting to this point?

On top of that, there’s already a number of interesting things that we know about Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness that speak to the notion that there had to be several conversations about plot and structure, so what did Scott Derrickson disagree with? For example, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, from the stage of San Diego Comic-Con, revealed that the plot of the upcoming Disney+ show WandaVision, would influence the story in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. And to that end, Elizabeth Olsen was going to reprise her role as Wanda for the big-screen Strange sequel.

That’s still happening, right?

Fans online are making a lot of noise about an interaction that happens during that above panel at the 1:15 mark. Derrickson is saying that he didn’t want to come back for a sequel just to do another sequel. He wanted to dip into the “gothic, the horror, and the horrific,” claiming that he intended to make “the first scary MCU film.”

The crowd went nuts. And apparently someone shouted from the sequel possibly being R rated, because Kevin Feige, standing next to Scott Derrickson, pointed at the fan and stated:

No, it’s PG-13, and you’re going to like it.

Could this be what drove the two apart? Derrickson had to know that Marvel Studios wasn’t going to let him go R rated with a blockbuster that’s going to open the Summer Blockbuster Season of 2021. But it’s an odd interaction on stage. Almost as odd as what happens next. They introduce Benedict Cumberbatch. He comes out and hugs Feige… and ignores Derrickson. Not saying there’s bad blood, but it plays weird now that we know they’re no longer collaborating.

The other point being, if Feige already knows that WandaVision feeds into this story, and he has his leads cast (though no villain cast as of yet), does that make finding a replacement a little bit easier? The template seems to be in place, and Derrickson – for all his great contributions to the Doctor Strange movie – isn’t tied as closely to the tone of the series as James Gunn was the Guardians. A replacement is possible. Now we just want to know who it is.

There’s already a rumor that Marvel Studios might just bring over Matt Shakman, who is hard at work on WandaVision as we speak. His directing credits also include Fargo, The Boys and Game of Thrones.

We’ll hopefully know more soon, because Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is on track for a May 7, 2021 release date, and we don’t really see that changing. What are your thoughts on how this has all played out?

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.