Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange, will cast his spell on moviegoers once again. In Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Benedict Cumberbatch will again don the Cloak of Levitation for a new adventure that will take the Master of the Mystic Arts to the weirdest corners of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) — and, quite possibly, beyond.
Although Cumberbatch will be back for the sequel, there will be a new face behind the camera after the unexpected departure of director Scott Derrickson. The new director is Sam Raimi. With the film scheduled to hit theaters on March 25, 2022, here’s everything that we know about Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness so far.
We’ve known the second Doctor Strange title for a long time, but recent Kevin Feige comments are driving speculation that an earlier Marvel release will set the stage for this movie. Casting rumors swirling around Spider-Man 3 suggest that multiple characters from both of Sony’s earlier Spider-Man franchises will appear in the upcoming MCU Spider-Man movie, due out at the end of 2021 (about three months before Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness).
When asked to confirm those casting rumors, Feige said “the biggest clue is the title of the second Doctor Strange movie. That’s the biggest clue of where the Multiverse of Madness is taking us and how we’re exploring that.” That certainly seems to suggest that Spider-Man 3 will open the multiverse, directly leading to Doctor Strange’s involvement.
In an interview with Watch Time India, Cumberbatch revealed that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness would begin filming in “late October or early November” of 2020. In an interview with Conde Nast Traveller, Elizabeth Olsen said she’s scheduled to start filming in December 2020. That should keep it right on schedule for its March 2022 release date.
So far, things have been fairly quiet on the Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness casting front. Cumberbatch is, of course, back as the Doctor himself, and so is Benedict Wong as his ally Wong. Elizabeth Olsen will also appear in the film — believed to be related to the Disney+ show WandaVision — as Wanda Maximoff aka Scarlet Witch. Bruce Campbell, of Evil Dead fame, will also make a cameo in an unspecified role.
Finally, Chiwetel Ejiofor confirmed to Screen Rant that he would return as Baron Mordo, a friend of Strange’s at Kamar-Taj who, in the comics, eventually becomes one of his most fearsome enemies. It seems possible that Mordo will be this film’s primary antagonist, as Backstage and other sites have revealed the following synopsis for the film: “After the events of Avengers: Endgame, Dr. Stephen Strange continues his research on the Time Stone. But an old friend-turned-enemy puts an end to his plans and causes Strange to unleash unspeakable evil.”
As the coronavirus pandemic delayed major film releases and put many productions on hold, Variety reported in March that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was “still on track to begin filming in June.”
However, as Disney was forced to move several films, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was bumped from its May 7, 2021, release date. Now, it will come out March 25, 2022, following the release of Black Widow, The Eternals, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the third Spider-Man solo movie, and Thor: Love and Thunder.
To the surprise of, well, just about everyone, filmmaker Scott Derrickson let it be known on January 9, 2020, that he would not be directing Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The announcement was made via Twitter, with Derrickson citing “creative differences” with the studio.
Marvel and I have mutually agreed to part ways on Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness due to creative differences. I am thankful for our collaboration and will remain on as EP.
— N O S ⋊ Ɔ I ᴚ ᴚ Ǝ ᗡ ⊥ ⊥ O Ɔ S (@scottderrickson) January 10, 2020
Derrickson wrote and directed 2016’s Doctor Strange, which made over $600 million at the global box office and was the biggest debut take for a Marvel character at the time (in 2018, Doctor Strange lost that title to Black Panther). Derrickson will stay on as an executive producer on the film.
Raimi had been in talks to replace Derrickson, and on April 14, Raimi confirmed in an interview with ComingSoon.net that he is involved with the project. Raimi dropped the news while speaking about the trilogy of Spider-Man films he directed in the early 2000s, starring Tobey Maguire. In Spider-Man 2, as J. Jonah Jameson is rapidly brainstorming a new name for supervillain Dr. Otto Octavius, a staffer proposes “Doctor Strange,” to which Jameson replies, “That’s already taken.”
“I loved Doctor Strange as a kid, but he was always after Spider-Man and Batman for me — he was probably at number five for me of great comic book characters,” Raimi said. “He was so original, but when we had that moment in Spider-Man 2, I had no idea that we would ever be making a Doctor Strange movie, so it was really funny to me that coincidentally that line was in the movie. I gotta say, I wish we had the foresight to know that I was going to be involved in the project.”
At Disney’s 2020 Investor Day in December, Marvel Studios confirmed that Raimi is indeed directing.
This time around, Doctor Strange won’t be a solo act. Marvel hasn’t officially said whether or not Benedict Wong will return as Stephen Strange’s assistant or whether Rachel McAdams will reprise her role as Christine Palmer, Strange’s love interest, although both seem likely. However, we do know that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will have one big co-star: Elizabeth Olsen will appear in the movie as her Avengers character, the Scarlet Witch.
In fact, Wanda Maximoff is slated to play a big part in Doctor Strange’s next adventure, which will spin directly out of the events of the Scarlet Witch’s upcoming Disney+ series, WandaVision. What that means isn’t clear. Disney and Marvel haven’t said much about WandaVision other than that it will have both Olsen and Paul Bettany as the Vision as co-leads. Even that tidbit raises more questions than answers, though: The Vision died in Avengers: Infinity War. How he will return remains a mystery.
At the very least, however, this news confirms that the impending MCU series on Disney+ will have a direct impact on the feature films, instead of being shunted off to the side like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Netflix’s Defenders lineup.
While Spider-Man: Far From Home teased an MCU multiverse but didn’t actually deliver, take another look at the Doctor Strange sequel’s title. At Disney’s Investor Day, the studio confirmed that the next Doctor Strange movie would tie in with both WandaVision and the still-untitled Spider-Man 3. Given the rampant speculation about the introduction of a multiverse, the reported involvement of past Spider-Men Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield, and Sony’s Spider-Man director Sam Raimi now confirmed to be involved with this project … there’s just a little too much smoke not to think there’s a multiverse fire, right?
Although he’s no longer in the director’s chair, Derrickson indicated during Comic-Con 2019 that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will be “the first scary MCU movie,” and that it will embrace “the Gothic and the horror” that made Derrickson fall in love with Doctor Strange in the first place. Whether that changes in the wake of his departure from the project is unknown at this point, but horror fans are likely hoping Marvel finds another horror-friendly filmmaker to take over the movie.
In a Q&A with the New York Film Academy in July, star Elizabeth Olsen said, “It’s a very scary movie. It’s like old Sam Raimi. They’re trying to create the scariest Marvel movie.”
elizabeth olsen talking about doctor strange in the multiverse of madness, so true my talented bestie!! pic.twitter.com/nixvOhgHqL
— connie (@VATICANCAME0WS) July 14, 2021