Doctor Strange 2 Hires A New Writer, But Isn't It Kind Of Late?

Doctor Strange in Avengers: Infinity War

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is going through some changes. First, it was announced last month that Scott Derrickson, who helmed the first Doctor Strange movie, was stepping down as director of the sequel, and it’s looking like Sam Raimi will take over that position. Today brings word that The Multiverse of Madness has brought on a new writer, but considering that production is set to begin soon, it seems pretty late in the game to make that kind of switch.

Last October, it was reported that Jade Bartlett had been tapped to write Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but according to The Hollywood Reporter, now Michael Waldron, the head writer on Disney+’s Loki series, will pen Stephen Strange’s next standalone adventure instead. Marvel did not comment on Waldron’s hiring.

It’s unclear if Michael Waldron is polishing up what Jade Bartlett had already written or if he’s starting from scratch, but looking at this in combination with Scott Derrickson stepping away from the director’s chair, it could mean that the story’s being heavily reworked compared to what the plan was over half a year ago.

When Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness were announced at San Diego Comic-Con last year, Scott Derrickson described it as being the MCU’s first horror movie, but by December, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said that wouldn’t be the case, though it would have “scary sequences in it.”

Weeks later, Scott Derrickson exited the sequel due to creative differences with Marvel, although he’s still attached as an executive producer. Now apparently a new writer is putting words to page for this project. It’s one thing to look for a new director to oversee things, but with the kind of schedule Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is keeping, that doesn’t give Michael Waldron a lot of time to work on the script.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is still scheduled for release in May 2021, and cameras are supposed to begin rolling this May. If Marvel wants to make that deadline, that means Michael Waldron has only three months to deliver a finalized script. Even if he’s working off material that Jade Bartlett had already written, that’s a sizable endeavor in such a short period.

Which makes me wonder if Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will ultimately be pushed back. Marvel typically doesn’t like to alter its calendar, but there are instances where that’s been necessary, like how Captain Marvel was pushed back to make room for Spider-Man: Homecoming and Ant-Man and the Wasp.

Whether a delay is imminent or not, evidently Marvel is impressed with Michael Waldron’s work on Loki if they’re willing to have him work on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Waldron has also written for the hit Cartoon Network series Rick and Morty, and he has two other series for Starz and USA Network, respectively, in the works.

In addition to having Elizabeth Olsen reprise Scarlet Witch (with her own Disney+ series, WandaVision, somehow tying into the movie as well), Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will also see the returns of Benedict Wong and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Wong and Karl Mordo, respectively. Rachel McAdams will reportedly not reprise Christina Palmer, who was Stephen Strange’s surgical colleague and former love interest from the first Doctor Strange movie.

For now, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is set to work its magic in theaters on May 7, 2021. Keep checking back with CinemaBlend for updates on its progress, and don’t forget to look through our Marvel movies guide.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.