Scott Derrickson was first announced as the director of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in 2018 after first taking the reins on 2016's Doctor Strange. At San Diego Comic-Con 2019, Multiverse of Madness was revealed to be an MCU movie that would make fans jump, mainly due to Derrickson being a horror director at heart.
However, in January 2020, Derrickson departed the project. C. Robert Cargill, co-writer of the original Doctor Strange film, later revealed in a May 2021 interview that "creative differences" were the main reason behind the exit, although nobody elaborated any further on the news:
"It was creative differences. [Scott Derrickson] wanted to do one movie, and Marvel wanted to do another movie."
Although the veteran filmmaker left the director's chair, Derrickson is still attached to the project as its executive producer. Derrickson reassured fans that he is very happy with his decision to not direct the sequel even though he's still involved in another role.
Now, new information about the director's exit has been revealed.
Kevin Feige On Doctor Strange 2's Director Changes
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige sat down with Empire Magazine to talk about Scott Derrickson's departure from the directing chair of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Feige first reaffirmed that creative differences were the culprit behind the director's decision to leave the project, as fans heard in initial reports:
"We love Scott and I think Scott feels the same. Nobody believes it, but it was just creative differences.”
Empire noted that the rumored assumption was that Derrickson wanted to make a no-holds-barred scary movie for Marvel, but the Marvel Studios CCO debunked those claims:
“There’s been some thought that that was the creative difference with Scott and Marvel, and it was not. Because we love that idea. The intention was that Strange would guide us into a much creepier side of the world.”
After Derrickson's exit, Feige and Marvel Studios went all-in to find a replacement. Feige revealed the story behind Sam Raimi's involvement, noting that their first meeting went really well, and the rest was history:
“Our executive producer. Eric Carroll. and Richie Palmer were calling around to see who was interested, and Sam’s agent said, ’What about Sam Raimi?’. We thought 'That would be incredible, but there’s no chance of that.' But he wanted to come in and meet. And in the first meeting, it was amazing to reconnect with him, and see his enthusiasm to jump back into this world.”
Will Scott Derrickson Return to Marvel?
Creative differences have been a common staple in the entertainment industry, so it's safe to assume that this only caused a minor bump in the road. The fact that Scott Derrickson is still involved with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness as its executive producer confirms Feige's remark that there is no ill will and tension between the studio and the director.
It looks like Feige and Marvel Studios are on board with a horror-infused sequel, suggesting that the studio is open to leaning heavier into genre with future projects within the superhero franchise. However, the addition of other notable figures such as the Scarlet Witch and America Chavez could've affected Derrickson's decision to go all-in on the project, thus leading to his exit.
Feige and Raimi had an established professional relationship after working closely in the director's Spider-Man trilogy. Seeing Raimi's enthusiasm to direct Multiverse of Madness is a positive sign, especially after Feige thought that "there's no chance" of it happening. Now, the pair will work together once again to push the concept of the Multiverse at the forefront of the MCU.
All in all, it seems that everything fell into place, especially after positive comments about Raimi's takeover.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is set to premiere in theaters on May 6, 2022.