Thirteen months after he first came on board and less than half a year since he was officially confirmed, director Scott Derrickson has vacated his post at the helm of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the sequel to the original that's part of Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Both Marvel Studios and Derrickson cited “creative differences” in their respective statements. For what it's worth, Derrickson will stay on as an executive producer on Doctor Strange 2. The search for a replacement is underway and no delays are expected, with the Marvel movie expected to begin filming in May.
“Marvel Studios and Scott Derrickson have amicably parted ways on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness due to creative differences. We remain grateful to Scott for his contributions to the MCU,” Marvel said in a prepared statement Thursday. Derrickson said in a tweet: “Marvel and I have mutually agreed to part ways on Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness due to creative differences. I am thankful for our collaboration and will remain on as EP.”
It's unclear what exactly transpired, though it likely had something to do with the tone of the film. At San Diego Comic-Con 2019, where Doctor Strange 2 was officially announced, Derrickson had said that they would make the first scary Marvel movie with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Most of Derrickson's filmography — save for Doctor Strange — has been in the horror genre and he seemed well-poised to deliver on that promise. But the “creative differences” suggest Marvel wasn't pleased with the direction Derrickson was taking; maybe it had to do with how far they were willing to go.
Either way, Benedict Cumberbatch remains in the title role alongside Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch. Doctor Strange 2 will tie into the events of two Disney+ series: WandaVision, and Loki, which features The Avengers-era Tom Hiddleston traversing the multiverse. Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams, and Chiwetel Ejiofor are expected to star in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, in their respective roles of Wong, Christine Palmer, and Karl Mordo, given their importance to the world of Doctor Strange.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will release May 7, 2021 in India and across the world.