On July 20, 2019, at San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige treated fans by revealing the official title of the second Doctor Strange film: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
In the following months, the film would suffer a number of changes, the most notable being director Scott Derrickson stepping down due to "creative differences," forcing Marvel Studios to go on the hunt for someone else to take up the reins of the movie.
Just a month after Derrickson's departure from the film, Sam Raimi, an established director known for his blockbuster Spider-Man trilogy in the early 2000s, was in talks to become the new director.
At the same time, Kevin Feige was in talks with Michael Waldron about joining the creative team behind the Doctor Strange sequel. Waldron, who is the showrunner, head writer, and executive producer of the MCU's upcoming Disney+ series Loki, would officially be named the writer of the coming film. And as a result, Waldron has recently elaborated on the major changes made behind the scenes.
WALDRON ON THE CHANGES MADE TO DOCTOR STRANGE 2
Waldron recently revealed to Vanity Fair that, in February 2020, Feige contacted him just before the production start of Loki, saying "they were going in a different direction on Doctor Strange.” This was shortly after Derrickson's exit from the sequel, at a time in which it was set to begin filming in May 2020. With such a tight deadline, Waldron recalled, "How do we just make a movie in two months?”
A few weeks later, "COVID quickly descended upon us," pushing the production start date back to November 2020 and leaving plenty of time for Waldron and Sam Raimi to hash out the multiverse-heavy script. "So I got to spend my 2020 on Zooms with Sam Raimi. Not too bad.”
Most surprisingly, Waldron confirmed that he and Raimi rewrote the sequel's script "from scratch" throughout much of 2020. The pandemic allowed the duo roughly nine months to create the new story together before production commenced in London.
Waldron also shared that he accepted the job to help create the second Doctor Strange flick because he "knew (he) wanted to stay in the family," and also added that he "felt like Loki was in a great place and was eager for what the next challenge would be."
WILL THE MULTIVERSAL CHANGES WORK FOR THE MCU?
It will be very interesting to see how all of the aspects of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness mesh together, considering that Raimi and Waldron had to start the film "from scratch."
It is not uncommon for an upcoming film to receive creative changes, and past records have shown that in some cases the changes work, while in other cases, they don't go over as well.
For example, the third installment of the Star Wars' sequel trilogy, The Rise of Skywalker, was initially set to be directed by Colin Trevorrow. Trevorrow had completely different plans for the film, and even the title, which was originally Duel of the Fates, was changed when Lucasfilm brought on director J.J. Abrams.
The Star Wars film is similar to Doctor Strange 2 in that both films' initial directors left their respective projects due to "creative differences" with their studios.
It is worth noting, however, that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is in great hands. Raimi is widely known for creating the beloved Spider-Man films, which fans still use as a point of reference when deciding if a new Marvel film is "good" or not.
Along with Raimi, Waldron also has an encouraging track record, playing a major role in the smash-hit animated series Rick and Morty. Since Waldron is also the writer for Loki, Kevin Feige must be fond of his work if he decided to contact him again for a project as big as Doctor Strange 2.