With The Falcon and the Winter Soldier having just completed its run and Loki on the horizon, WandaVision seems like a lifetime ago. Fans had watched Wanda’s grief-stricken delusion get struck down and ultimately come to an end. Some viewers came out disappointed with one aspect: the appearance of Doctor Strange.
After many rumors—having originated from Charles Murphy—and plenty of online chatter, there was a heavy expectation of the Sorcerer Supreme showing up in the final hours of WandaVision. Yet, the show came and went with no Benedict Cumberbatch to be seen. But, why didn’t this ever pan out?
The Sorcerer's appearance makes sense in the context of the show with Wanda now coming into her wider set of powers. One would think that Strange would have noticed the same flux of power and reality-warping that Agatha Harkness did.
According to Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, his appearance was once in the cards…
SAY NO TO DOCTOR STRANGE
In an interview with Rolling Stone, via Movie Web, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige commented on the absence of Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange WandaVision.
Feige confirmed that a deal was even finalized between Cumberbatch and Marvel to appear in the season's final episode and shared a clear reason why Stephen Strange never made the cut:
"Some people might say,'Oh, it would've been so cool to Doctor Strange. But it would have taken away from Wanda. We didn't want the end of the show to be commoditized to go to the next movie - here's the white guy, 'Let me show you how power works."
The Marvel producer went on to reveal that the commercials which appeared in Episodes 1-3 and 5-7 were originally intended to be subtle messages sent to Wanda by Stephen Strange, who would've been attempting to get through to the Scarlet Witch from outside of her sitcom reality madness.
Feige also shared that the revision of WandaVision's finale without Doctor Strange also meant a rewrite of parts of Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness, which will see Elizabeth Olsen's Wanda in a leading role.
The rewrites of Doctor Strange 2 were described by Feige as "[a] wonderful combination of very dedicated coordination, and chaos. Chaos magic."
Elizabeth Olsen believed that Wanda Maximoff "has a tremendous amount of guilt” as she secluded herself from the world after the finale of 'WandaVision.'
Kevin Feige explained that they had to cut Doctor Strange from the WandaVision finale because "it would have taken away from Wanda," revealing that they "didn't want the end of the show to be commoditized to go to the next movie."
Kevin Feige confirmed that a deal was finalized between Benedict Cumberbatch and Marvel to appear in the final episode of 'WandaVision.'
A STRANGE ABSENCE IN ADVISING
It would have been neat to have Strange show up in the end and could have helped tie together a lot of the mystical threads of the MCU—instead of waiting for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Also, the idea of the commercials originally being from Strange is a fantastic idea, and it’s sad that it never came to be. At least Marvel considered the idea, though it's actually quite surprising that it got so far along before the studio canned it.
However, in the end, WandaVision wasn’t hurt by the lack of Doctor Strange. That said, as aforementioned, it is odd to think that Strange wouldn’t have noticed something being up—especially since Agatha did. Marvel, however, has plenty of time to follow up on all of that with Strange’s next film, in which Scarlet Witch is a prominent player.
It’s funny how Feige claims that part of the reason for cutting Strange was to keep the focus on WandaVision and not the next entry in the MCU. Yet, Marvel Studios seemed to tease Strange pretty hard with not only a name-drop but in those final moments in hearing Wanda’s kids.
Nevertheless, fans are more eager than ever to explore the new dichotomy between Wanda and Earth’s resident Sorcerer Supreme. There's only one more year to see what Marvel is hiding up their sleeve.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness premieres in theaters on March 25, 2022.