Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness experienced a seismic behind-the-scenes shift when original director Scott Derrickson departed the project, thus leading to the takeover of Spider-Man trilogy director Sam Raimi. As a result, the MCU sequel had many changes throughout its development.
Multiverse of Madness' VFX supervisor explained a last-minute change from the sequel, revealing that the Multiverse-hopping sequence between Strange and America Chavez was supposed to finish in an alleyway instead of a rooftop.
In addition, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige also made a key change in the memorable musical battle between the MCU's Strange and Sinister Strange, suggesting to "just simplify" it to "Beethoven versus Bach."
Now, more details about the aforementioned battle have been revealed by lead star Benedict Cumberbatch.
Benedict Cumberbatch Suggested 'Darker' Tone for Doctor Strange Variant Scenes
Marvel actor Benedict Cumberbatch sat down with Prestige to talk about Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, revealing which scenes he wanted to change.
When asked if it was fun to play variants of Doctor Strange in the sequel, Cumberbatch admitted that it was the "most fun bit," noting that he loved doing the scenes with himself "because of the challenge of it:"
"That was the most fun bit, and I couldn’t talk about any of that pre-press, so it’s very nice to be able to speak about it now. I absolutely loved it, and it sounds so egotistical – but there we go, that’s what actors are – but I loved doing the scenes with myself because of the challenge of it."
While pointing out that he wrote some of those scenes, the MCU veteran then revealed that he suggested that those sequences, specifically the fight against Sinister Strange, "needed to get darker," saying that director Sam Raimi and writer Michael Waldron agreed to that change:
"And I got to write some of those scenes … I suggested that it needed to get darker at a point. There was a slightly more saccharine version at one stage and I’m really happy with the way it evolved. Sam Raimi was so game for it and Michael Waldron really supported me to write it as well. We turned what was very small combat between the two into a sort of very bizarre and inventive battle in that moment. I really loved it."
Cumberbatch portrayed many characters over the years. When asked about his process of allowing himself to immerse into each character, the Sherlock actor shared that he wants to forget himself whenever he's in front of the camera and "just be that character."
As for playing Doctor Strange, the actor revealed that he could "go slightly insane with hero characters every day:"
"At the point of connection with the material in front of the camera, as much as the job allows I want to forget myself in that moment and just be that character. But I step in and out of it, depending on the type of job. With Marvel, you can go slightly insane with hero characters every day. You need that breathing space. There’s a huge amount of crap that goes often into rewriting scenes, so you must have a very directorial or writerly head on as well as an actor sense to be able to jump about a bit in your focus."
Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange 2 Change Improved the Sequel
The fact that Benedict Cumberbatch loved doing scenes with himself could hint that more Variants of Doctor Strange will appear in the future. Concept art from the sequel already revealed a scrapped Variant of the titular sorcerer, and the possibilities are endless for which other versions of the character could show up.
Based on the final cut, the darker tone that Cumberbatch suggested for his encounter with Sinister Strange clearly worked, mainly because it gave a more intense vibe. This also proves that the MCU actor really knows the character, which is an advantage as Strange is expected to become a major part of the Multiverse Saga.
As the MCU heads into one of its most essential chapters, Marvel Studios allowing its actors to suggest what's best for their characters when rewriting scenes is crucial to utilizing these heroes and villains in the best way possible.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now streaming on Disney+.