When constructing a new story about the Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Stephen Strange, there are multiple famous personalities you can draw on for inspiration. But I’m not sure how far down the list you would get before you landed on the late restaurateur, chef and globetrotter Anthony Bourdain. And yet, that is the name that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness head writer Michael Waldron coughed up when talking about his approach to Marvel’s top sorcerer as he teased out tonal details for the sequel.
Michael Waldron is starting to make the Marvel press rounds on behalf of the Disney+ series Loki, on which he also served as the head writer. But in a new Vanity Fair profile, Waldron opened up about the work that he did on the Doctor Strange sequel that recently wrapped production in the UK, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. When discussing real-life inspirations for his Marvel characters, Waldron compared Loki to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, then compared Strange to Anthony Bourdain, explaining:
Strange is an elitist as a neurosurgeon and a sorcerer. Anthony Bourdain was a man of the people, but there was that intense intellect. You always felt like he could eviscerate anybody with his words at any time. But yet, Anthony Bourdain never really punched down. That was the first ingredient in the stew for Doctor Strange. … Anthony Bourdain had been everywhere, seen everything. What surprises you at this point? I think for all of the heroes in the MCU, in a post-Endgame world, how do you rally yourself to fight the stand-alone movie villains after you fought Thanos?
When you explain it that way, it makes sense. Anthony Bourdain did project a “been there” coolness that Benedict Cumberbatch has brought to several of his interactions with fellow Marvel characters. Sometimes mistaken as aloof, Strange is merely observing far more than can be processed by most, but stops short of “punching down,” as Michael Waldron puts it.
Speaking of punching, Waldron referred to another silver screen icon when it comes to Doctor Strange’s physicality, saying:
He’s Indiana Jones in a cloak to me. He’s a hero who can take a punch. That’s what made those Harrison Ford heroes so great. Those guys get their asses kicked. Look at Stephen Strange in the first movie. He’s really getting beat up but he’s very capable and everything. I can tell you that it’s a ride…very Sam Raimi. The film is incredibly visually thrilling. John Mathieson, our D.P., who shot Gladiator and Logan — I think the look of it is going to be unlike anything you’ve seen in the MCU before.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness also is expected to peel back the onion on the multiverse, as a whole, potentially creating bridges to other worlds (and alternate universes) that can lead to more problems for the main MCU characters. Might this also begin in Spider-Man: No Way Home, which reaches theaters in December, three whole months before Strange gets his movie dropped? Really, you need to be checking our guide to Upcoming Marvel Movies, because stories will be dropping at a serious clip now, and you won’t want to miss a single one.