Over the past couple of years, Marvel Studios has been at the center of the growing "leak culture" that's permeated the world of entertainment and cinema. This notably happened more than a year ahead of Spider-Man: No Way Home's debut, and most recently, this trend made its way back into the public eye with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Considering how many massive cameos and plot points made Doctor Strange 2 what it is, Marvel Studios did everything in its power to stop fans and scoopers from finding out about spoilers before the film's debut. This included holding the film's world premiere a mere four days before its worldwide arrival in theaters, although the rumor train still chugged along at full-speed all the way up to May 6.
Top Marvel brass like Guardians of the Galaxy trilogy director James Gunn have joked about these leaks in recent weeks, even as the team behind the MCU continues working hard to keep the franchise's secrets under wraps. Now, Doctor Strange 2's head writer has shared his own thoughts on the situation, admitting that it's made for quite an interesting discourse between the studio, fans, and critics.
Doctor Strange 2 Writer on MCU Leaks
During an interview with Murphy's Multiverse, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness head writer Michael Waldron addressed the growing leak culture surrounding the MCU's latest release.
Waldron actually gave props to Murphy's Multiverse and other outlets since he grew up reading reports from sites like that all the time. He sees the scoop culture as something that's part of the game, making him and other writers work harder to "preserve these secrets" and make for an even "better experience in the theater for the audience:"
"I like the idea it can mythologize otherwise. I have so much respect for what you do, for what everybody, all the fan sites do, because that was the shit that I grew up reading. I’m such a child of Coming Attractions by Corona, Ain’t It Cool News. That stuff is probably a big reason why I’m a writer. The scoop culture, to some extent, I’m like great, that’s part of it. I think that it’s our job… we want to preserve these secrets because it just makes a better experience in the theater for the audience. You’re going to get a better POP from the audience if they don’t know what’s coming."
On the other hand, he also noted that most fans don't actively look for spoilers and that the entire world doesn't instantly find out about them as soon as they appear online. And for those people that do find out, Waldron sees it as something that will only "enhance their enjoyment of the movie" when it fully releases:
"But I think it’s also… you can really if you spend a lot of time online, you can come to think that if something is spoiled on a corner of the internet that suddenly the whole world knows. But they don’t. It’s the people who are actively seeking that out and who want to find that stuff. And if they want to find it out, that means it’s probably going to enhance their enjoyment of the movie."
His main concern comes from the major news outlets potentially ruining spoiler-filled moments for general audiences such as "who was in the Illuminati," noting the spoiler warning that usually comes from comic book movie websites:
"And the people who don’t wanna find out, probably aren’t. It’s like, I would be mad if it headlines news on CNN about who was in the Illuminati, but it’s not. There’s [a] spoiler warning and you know where you’re going if you go to a spoiler website. It’s like it’s what we do. It’s like the symbiotic nature of this stuff and it just builds anticipation and excitement. I think it’s cool."
Waldron Understands Nature of Online MCU Leaks
Michael Waldron has the unique experience of writing two of Marvel's most often-discussed projects from Phase 4. His work as the writer on Loki remains popular as the show is Marvel's most-watched Disney+ property, and he held some of the biggest secrets in MCU history with his work on the script for Doctor Strange 2.
This movie took what happened in Spider-Man: No Way Home to a new level, bringing in a version of the Illuminati with Hayley Atwell's Captain Carter, Anson Mount's Black Bolt, and even John Krasinski's Reed Richards. And especially considering how most of this information didn't make it out to the public outside of Patrick Stewart in the Super Bowl trailer, Waldron got to experience the fun of it with fans working through theories about what would actually happen.
Looking at the dozen or so projects that are confirmed for development over the next couple of years, there will surely be more leaks and rumors that hit the public regarding what the MCU has planned for Phase 4 and beyond. And whether it's James Gunn debunking those theories or Waldron getting more involved with them himself, the discourse behind leak culture will remain a big interest in the community.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now playing in theaters worldwide.