The pandemic raging across the world has caused an unprecedented number of issues across the globe. In the entertainment sphere, it even managed to shut down productions across the entire industry for half a year.
In turn, this caused a domino effect of delays. For Marvel fans, that meant an entire year without even a single MCU project. Even the stories for several projects had to be changed, with scenes being cut, and others shifted around––all due to things which were now infeasible thanks to the pandemic.
With something as big as COVID, that real-life influence is bound to seep into the work of creative writers everywhere. It's even influenced the work that writer Michael Waldron has done for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
The Pandemic Reaches Doctor Strange
During a conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, Loki and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness writer Michael Waldron spoke about writing for the superhero medium.
Waldron addressed how audiences "have all been conditioned... to embrace moral complexity" thanks to the way these films have evolved
"We have all been conditioned by the golden age of television to embrace moral complexity. But now we find ourselves coming all the way back around. Like with Ted Lasso, it was like, 'Finally, something happy!' We may find ourselves wanting Christopher Reeves’ Superman more than ever because he is a character that is purely good."
When it comes to superhero movies, there are undoubtedly a lot of them - far more than there were even a few years ago. Waldron recalls how "weird [it was] that Armageddon and Deep Impact were coming out at the same time."
But being aware of how many superhero movies there are only serves to invigorate his work, with the writer saying that "you have to take that anxiety and put it into your work to make sure it is an original story:
"I remember when it was weird that Armageddon and Deep Impact were coming out at the same time. Now there are 100 superhero movies every year. If you are working in that superhero medium, you have to take that anxiety and put it into your work to make sure it is an original story, because people have seen a lot of them. They are going to know the tricks."
Circumstances in the real world like that are always going to factor into the creative stories being told in some way, shape, or form.
When asked about real-world anxieties impacting the stories he writes, Waldron specifically called out the "global pandemic," and alluded to how it found a way to influence what he was doing with the Doctor Strange sequel:
"I think that they can’t not. Writing Doctor Strange, in a global pandemic—it is going to find a way into what you are doing. But it finds its way in organically. Everything we make is, to some extent, a reflection of the world around us."
The Impacts of the Real World on Doctor Strange
Many are likely to translate this rather literally. But no, there more than likely will not be an actual virus plaguing the Multiverse. COVID will not be the villain of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (probably).
However, with a pandemic comes paranoia. Denial. Misinformation. All of these things are the ideas that Waldron probably leaned into the most when crafting Strange's Multiverse adventure.
After all, the film was revealed to be influenced by horror more than any other installment of the MCU. Those themes and concepts are a perfect fit for such a movie; with the Multiverse at their disposal, they could even exaggerate things on an unprecedented scale.
Fans will have to wait until May 6, 2022, to determine how exactly Michael Waldron used his real-world influences in Multiverse of Madness.