WandaVision Creator Reveals Benedict Cumberbatch's Original Role In Nexus Commercial

By Nora Ambrose Updated:
Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange in front of logos for WandaVision's commercials

Among the most interesting and, at times, unnerving aspects of WandaVision were the commercials. Each was masterfully crafted into something perfectly at home in the era of the sitcom the wider episode represented while also pointing to a specific piece of trauma, guilt, or fear that Elizabeth Olsen's Wanda Maximoff had experienced.

From the very first, there were fans looking to see both what these commercials meant to Wanda specifically and what was causing them to manifest. Was it her subconscious, which had so much power in the Hex, or was there an outside force trying to reach her?

Popular indeed was the idea that Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange was trying to reach Wanda to help her in some way, given that Wanda will next feature in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. 

While ultimately that turned out not to be the case when the final episode aired, the show's creators recently stated it was part of their original plan to feature the Sorcerer Supreme.


WandaVision Nexus Pharmacist Commercial

While speaking to Rolling StoneWandaVision director Matt Shakman, head writer Jac Schaeffer, and Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige discussed how they brought the commercials to life, as well as their original intention to feature Doctor Strange.

Shakman said from the very start they "always knew [they] wanted to have commercials:"

"Well, we were creating TV shows, so we always knew we wanted to have commercials. So then the question was, well, what are the commercials? ...we wanted it to be an opportunity to have some of the larger thematics of the show trickling in, and also some of the history of Wanda — that they were a way for her unconscious to be manifesting. "

 It was even agreed upon at one point for Cumberbatch to appear, as Kevin Feige remarked that the studio "had a deal with Benedict [Cumberbatch] to pop up at the end of WandaVision, or somewhere in WandaVision."

Schaeffer added that a personal favorite was an idea to incorporate Strange in a "blink-and-you-miss-it cameo."

"One of my favorite ideas was that in the Nexus commercial [in Episode Seven], it would kind of be a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo, a quick image of Dr. Strange as the pharmacist in the background. I was very inspired by Fight Club, when Brad Pitt’s character is on the TV in the hotel — like, if you’re looking closely you’d see it for just a second. We were like, “The Nexus commercial is her subconscious. What if Strange is in the background and trying to reach her?”"

Schaeffer noted their original idea of Strange's inclusion in the commercials didn't mesh with this idea of them manifesting from Wanda herself, and so they "moved off of that idea:"

"There was a version of the commercials where it was Dr. Strange trying to reach out to her, that he was actually behind the commercials, and we moved off of that idea."


While Marvel fans certainly love to see their heroes pop up in as many places as possible, sometimes it can distract from the story being told. While Wanda will feature in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, WandaVision was a deeply personal story about her own suffering, and featuring Strange could have detracted from that. 

It's likely the same reasoning that made sure Mephisto or some other outside villain wasn't used. Wanda needed to face her own guilt and deal with the consequences of trying to use her power to escape a painful reality. If the Hex had been forced on her by someone outside herself, that would only be further suffering and not the guilt and consequences she needed to face to move on.

Kathryn Hahn's Agatha Harkness might have played a part in manipulating Wanda after the Hex was made, but she was the sole creator and ultimately the only one who could unmake it. If Strange had lent her outside help, it'd have weakened a story about Wanda finding the strength to overcome the immense loss she'd felt since Pietro and Vision's deaths.

While Doctor Strange didn't appear in WandaVision, he'll next be seen with the Scarlet Witch when Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness arrives in theaters on March 25, 2022.

- About The Author: Nora Ambrose
Nora Ambrose has been a Writer at The Direct since 2021. She specializes in all things Star Wars and Marvel, with a particular eye towards representation in media.