Despite having been released in 2016 to great praise among fans and a successful box office run, the road to a Doctor Strange sequel has certainly been a long one. Kevin Feige stood up to reveal Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness at 2019's San Diego Comic-Con panel, and since then a lot has changed.
The world has suffered through a global pandemic which pushed the sequel from a May 2021 release to March 25, 2022. Additionally, the multiversal blockbuster lost its original directing and writing duo, Scott Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill, due to creative differences before the scripting stage could even begin.
Fortunately, the studio managed to salvage the film as Spider-Man director Sam Raimi took up the directing gig while Loki head writer Michael Waldron was lined up to pen the script. Since then, the Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen starring sequel has been filmed in its entirety, setting things up for its debut next year.
As with most of Phase 4, the highly-anticipated blockbuster is shrouded in mystery. But if there's one thing fans can always expect from Marvel Studios, it's an adrenaline-pumping thrill ride, and it seems the Doctor Strange sequel will be no exception.
DOCTOR STRANGE 2 TEASES SEQUEL'S FAST PACE
In an interview with CinemaBlend, Loki and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness writer Michael Waldron has teased that the Benedict Cumberbatch-led sequel will move at a fast pace.
Waldron revealed that his background in comedy helped him with the magical blockbuster as “the pacing of comedy is similar” to that of “thrilling movies.” The writer went on to describe the “accelerated pace” that director Sam Raimi likes to work at, which he was “very comfortable with” because of his experience on Rick and Morty and Loki, meaning “[their] sensibilities clicked very well:”
“Comedy helps, because if nothing else, it's just, like, the pace. I think the pacing of comedy is similar, in a way, to the pacing of thrillers, of thrilling movies. Sam likes to work at an accelerated pace and everything, and that was something I was very comfortable with from Rick and Morty, from Loki. So our sensibilities clicked very well.”
But it doesn't seem Waldron's recruitment for the sequel was exactly ordinary, as he was “basically pulled onto Doctor Strange 2" just as he was preparing to travel to Atlanta for the filming of Loki. The writer shared that he “ended up spending all of [his] 2020 on [Zoom calls] with Sam [Raimi]” as they “[figured] out that movie” and had a “blast” doing so before heading to London for the five-month production:
“Yeah, I mean, God, it was a weird year, as it was for everybody. I was getting ready to go to Atlanta to be on set for Loki when I got basically pulled onto Doctor Strange 2 and was starting in on that with Sam Raimi. So I ended up spending all of my 2020 on Zooms with Sam, figuring out that movie, and that was a blast. Then I got to be in London for five months at the top of this year making that movie. So yeah, it was great.”
Right after finishing the writing process for Loki, Waldron went “straight into Doctor Strange,” which he describes as “a totally different thing.” The switch from “making a show about a villain to making a movie about a hero” allowed him to “work completely different muscles” before heading on to set with Raimi:
“It was really fun to go from Loki straight into Doctor Strange. It was a totally different thing, you know, making a show about a villain to making a movie about a hero. It was good and felt like I got to work completely different muscles. And then just getting to be on the set with Sam Raimi, there's nothing cooler than that.”
HOW DOCTOR STRANGE WILL DIFFER FROM LOKI
Almost every Marvel Studios theatrical outing operates at a relatively fast pace, so it isn't shocking to hear the Doctor Strange sequel will do the same. With so many plot points to explore, characters to include, and places to visit, the multiversal adventure will need to keep things moving quickly to cover everything in a reasonable run time.
As much of the world was trapped indoors with little to do throughout 2020's pandemic-induced lockdowns, it seems Michael Waldron may have instead worked through one of the busiest years of his career.
Both Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson and writer C. Robert Cargill stepped down from the long-awaited sequel in the early days of January 2020. Given Loki initially started filming in the same month, Waldron was likely brought onto the film days after Cargill dropped out.
Having just introduced the MCU's multiverse with the shocking season finale, the acclaimed writer was a logical choice to take over Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Additionally, the decision clearly demonstrates Marvel Studios' pride in his work on Loki, as they surely had plenty of options to replace Cargill.
The original duo behind the sequel never had the chance to write a draft as they had a drastically different vision for the film to Marvel, meaning Raimi and Waldron largely got to craft the multiversal adventure from scratch.
It's intriguing to hear Waldron discuss the differences between the two projects which come in totally different formats, requiring different pacing as such, and featuring distinctly distinguished heroes, plots, genres.
Hopping directly between two MCU productions is certainly no easy feat, but so far Waldron seems to have pulled it off. Despite the grand-scale of the Doctor Strange sequel, his work on Loki arguably held tougher requirements as he began a multi-season show centered around a fan-favorite character that had game-changing significance on the future of the MCU.
Following director Kate Herron's departure for Loki prior to its second season, it's yet to be confirmed whether Michael Waldron will resume his duties as head writer for the highly-anticipated follow-up. How exactly Waldron will handle his first theatrical Marvel Studios project remains to be seen.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits theaters on March 25, 2022.