Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness kicked off the MCU's 2022 theatrical slate in Phase 4, opening up the Multiverse to levels never seen before in the newly-dubbed Multiverse Saga. Behind the efforts of Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange and Xochitl Gomez's America Chavez, this movie made a profound mark on the MCU's growing narrative.
As has been the case with every other MCU movie, Doctor Strange 2 went through a six-week period of reshoots to make sure that everything was told the right way for this important movie. Due to the pandemic, the film switched places in the release order with Spider-Man: No Way Home, meaning much of it had to be adjusted to make chronological sense with everything else happening in the overall story.
Director Sam Raimi shared how these reshoots actually benefited the final outcome, making the story easier to understand all the way through its 2-hour-6-minute runtime. Now, some of the details on what was changed during those reshoots have come to light, including what originally took place as soon as Doctor Strange 2 started playing.
Doctor Strange 2 Reshoots Changed Opening Scene
Slashfilm spoke with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness star Xochitl Gomez about how the movie's reshoots changed the story for her America Chavez.
Gomez gave some insight into the test screenings Marvel does so that the studio "can get the movie to be what fans want" and what the MCU movies are supposed to be.
While reminiscing about how fun it was to come back and shoot more material, she noted that the reshoots changed the first scene of the movie, leading to Defender Strange actually saving America instead of betraying her and trying to steal her Multiverse-jumping powers:
"Yeah, it changed lots of things. The main thing about Marvel is that they do test screenings so that they can get the movie to be what fans want, make them be what Marvel movies are. We did lots of changes for that reshoot, it was pretty insane. Lots of work, but it was really fun and it was a challenge, but it was also really fun to do wirework again of the stuff that I already had done, to do it in a different style with different intentions and stuff. One main thing that got changed is that Defender Strange was actually saving me at the beginning and it was a turning point, that when he died it was me being heartbroken over the fact that someone who cared and was protecting me had passed away. Then, when we did reshoots it was this main drastic change that Defender Strange was actually betraying me and trying to take my power away from me."
That change gave Gomez much more depth to work with, along with "a completely different perspective" and giving her "trust issues" with Earth-616 Strange throughout the film:
"A lot more to work with, but also it’s a completely different perspective on her and her trust issues because before it was this whole other thing. A little, simple thing like that can change so much."
Defender Strange Changed from Good to Bad
In the opening moments of Doctor Strange 2, fans learned about Defender Strange's treachery against America Chavez as he tried to take her power, and her life, in order to defeat the enemy ahead of them. This came as a sucker punch to the gut for America, who spent the rest of the movie struggling to trust Earth-616's Strange after being betrayed by someone so close to her in that dangerous situation.
On top of adding more character development for her, it provided a new wrinkle to her relationship with the first heroes she met from Earth-616 in her first-ever MCU appearance. On top of learning how exactly the Multiverse worked and seeing the Scarlet Witch fully evolve into a villain, the reshoots provided Gomez with a more challenging and deep story to portray as she tried to control her powers.
As the MCU continues to work through its intricately-woven storyline, plot details like this continue to add more nuance and excitement to everything coming throughout the Multiverse Saga and beyond. And with America having to work through those challenges after the story was changed, it will only make her that much more valuable of a character moving forward.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now available to stream on Disney+ and is available for purchase via digital and Blu-ray.