Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now officially on the big screen worldwide, and it's making its mark on the global box office as Marvel Studios' first theatrical release of 2021. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige brought his A-game with this solo sequel, from the costumes to the action, and it already has fans rushing to the theaters to see what the MCU has to offer.
One of the big challenges of this film was bringing so many different versions of classic characters to life thanks to various universes being realized throughout the plot. This included four different versions of Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange himself, which took the MCU's prime Strange on a mental trip as he tried to work out just how to fix the troubles happening all throughout the Multiverse.
Marvel Studios accomplished this feat largely through costuming, as each of the four different heroes that Cumberbatch played had a different set of threads that they utilized throughout their time on-screen amongst one another. On top of that, the movie's official press release shared how Feige had his own influence on the Strange that led this movie's storytelling efforts from start to finish.
Kevin Feige's Request for Doctor Strange 2 Costuming
As shared in the press release for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige had specific requests for what he wanted to see in terms of changes to Benedict Cumberbatch's costume in the sequel.
Costume designer Graham Churchyard explained how Feige wanted to make sure that Cumberbatch was wearing a "Master's costume" rather than a "disciple costume," which he donned in his first five MCU movies. To do that, Churchyard and his team made sure to adapt the costume to have a more "heroic and powerful silhouette" for his next solo movie while making sure it kept him with the same feel that Kamar-Taj had in the original film:
“With this movie, Kevin [Feige] wanted to upgrade Doctor Strange’s costume. In all his previous outings, he had remained in his disciple costume. Even though he had graduated and was now a Master, in ‘Infinity’ and in ‘Endgame’ he is wearing the disciple costume, so Kevin wanted to use the new movie as an opportunity to upgrade him so that he is wearing a Master’s costume from the very beginning, which we tailored to give a very heroic and powerful silhouette.”
Churchyard explained how the boots were taken up higher and the cuffs were changed to be made of leather, while the Cloak of Levitation "also has more personality" in this movie than it did in the past since it's not on Strange as often this time:
“There are still elements of the design from last time with the woven cuffs, but instead of them being braided they are now leather, so the whole look starts to add up to a Super Hero look.”
The most "pure action hero" look came with Defender Strange from America Chavez's universe, which Churchyard noted to have different historical influences such as Errol Flynn from Robin Hood:
“It’s not the historical costume. It’s still very Strange, but it’s meant to have elements that you’d believe it to be like Errol Flynn in Robin Hood.”
Throughout these costume changes, the one constant was the Cloak of Levitation. Although Churchyard created a number of designs, the team stuck with the original look for the ancient relic due to its status as "a very precious, irreplaceable item:"
"There were lots of discussions about the cloak, so I sketched out a number of designs, but in the end we decided to stick with the same cloak as the first film, which kind of makes sense because it is a relic that found Doctor Strange, and therefore is a very precious, irreplaceable item.”
Doctor Strange Looking More Heroic in Sequel
Benedict Cumberbatch's Stephen Strange has largely utilized the same costume since about halfway through his first appearance in 2016's Doctor Strange, only seeing some minor changes over the last five years. While Marvel Studios certainly captured the essence of what he wore in the comics and translated it to the MCU well, it seemed to be time for the good doctor to see an upgrade as his status within the story changed.
As the man behind the MCU, Feige's input almost always makes the show or movie in question better, regardless of how big the moment is in which he wants to make something happen. In this particular instance, he saw that Strange needed to evolve with the times after staying fairly stagnant looks-wise since his debut, and with three other versions of him in this film, the prime version needed to stand out.
Thankfully, this came through almost from the start as Strange jumped into action - the Cloak of Levitation even got a change in appearance as well, while the leading hero made his way through various realities and antagonists. Although it only featured small changes on his feet and hands, Cumberbatch's new look brought him that much closer to his comic counterpart in terms of appearance.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now playing in theaters worldwide.