Even with just one solo film under his belt, Doctor Strange has quickly established himself as a prominent player in the MCU.
The Sorcerer Supreme put the team on his back in Avengers: Infinity War and is the man responsible for getting the full roster of heroes to the battlefield in Avengers: Endgame. Not many characters can say they've held their own against Tony Stark in an ego-measuring contest or that they brought Thanos to his knees.
Entering Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the former surgeon has quite the résumé, and head writer Michael Waldron is looking to add to it further.
EVOLVING THE GOOD DOCTOR
Michael Waldron has his hands full with Loki right now, but things are only going to get stranger for the Marvel Studios writer.
Speaking with GQ, Waldron detailed his experience writing Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. When asked how he has made Benedict Cumberbatch's character his own in the sequel, Waldron credited all those who helped develop Stephen Strange in the MCU over the years, calling every appearance of Strange "amazing."
"It’s like I’m standing on the shoulder of giants, truly, in both of these cases. Loki, that character had been refined and built up by Tom and then all the great writers and filmmakers who crafted those performances over the years. Same thing with Doctor Strange. Certainly, in the first Doctor Strange movie, the work that [director] Scott Derrickson did with [writers] Jon Spaiths and C. Robert Cargill, those guys told an amazing origin story for Doctor Strange that was one of my favorite MCU movies. That was the intro of this character into the MCU, so you want to continue that voice. I think also [writers Christopher] Markus and [Stephen] McFeely, the work they did with Strange in Infinity War—which feels like Doctor Strange 1.5 to me.
Waldron emphasized that he plans to continue where past writers left off with Stephen Strange while also being "a little... fearless" in taking liberties to make changes to the Sorcerer Supreme.
I think we’re all akin to comic book writers in that we keep inheriting the great work of our predecessors. It’s our job not to sell out what they did, but at the same time take chances and make them our own because that’s what the great creators who came before us did. So that’s how I approached it—with reverence—but hopefully a little bit of fearlessness as well.
Michael Waldron gets it.
Continuity is one of the many reasons why the MCU is still going strong 13 years after a genius billionaire playboy philanthropist escaped a cave in Afghanistan. Even when new writers and directors take on already established characters, everyone feels true to whom they've been set up to be. Strange has been directed by everyone from Scott Derrickson to Taika Waititi, yet always feels like the same guy with each appearance. Waldron's approach to that MCU formula sets him up for success, and will likely lead to much more work for the writer down the line.
That said, Waldron wasn't brought on to just fill a position.
The writer's emphasis on continuing where past scribes left off while also not being afraid to "take chances" is exactly what the MCU is all about. Marvel Studios directors have long-professed the abundance of creative freedom they have on these projects, and Waldron seems ready to take full advantage of that.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is set to hit theaters on March 25, 2022.