It was all going so well. Avengers: Endgame had capped off a defining era for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and the future of the franchise arguably looked even more exciting. It was being billed as something "distinctly different", and with efforts based on The Eternals and Shang-Chi the first to arrive, it seemed as though it was living up to the title.
One of the more exciting films planned for 2021 is Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, a horror-focused sequel to Scott Derrickson's 2016 film that'll unite Benedict Cumberbatch's Sorcerer Supreme with Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch. It was, until recently, being billed as the MCU's first genuine horror movie, which would've played to Derrickson's strengths as a horror director.
Sadly, Derrickson has now parted ways with Marvel. First reported by Variety and later confirmed by the director himself via Twitter, Derrickson said he had chosen to leave the project due to "creative differences". He'll remain as an executive producer on the project, but now the task falls to Marvel to find a replacement in time for filming to commence this May.
Derrickson joins an ever growing list of directors who have parted ways with Marvel over creative control. Patty Jenkins was at one point attached to direct Thor: The Dark World before she left citing creative differences, while Edgar Wright was meant to direct Ant-Man for years until the studio replaced him with Peyton Reed. Between those directors leaving and talk of those who stayed on having to fight battles with Marvel over creative freedom, it's not exactly the best look for the studio to have before embarking on their new, "distinctly different" era of filmmaking.
On the topic of why Derrickson may have left, it may be possible that the director's vision for the Strange sequel was simply too scary for Marvel's liking. MCU architect Kevin Feige said in December that he didn't regard Multiverse of Madness as horror film, preferring instead to call it "a big MCU film with scary sequences." Compare that to Derrickson's comments when the film was announced last summer, and it's possible to infer why exactly he didn't feel like he could continue with the project.
"When I came and talked to [Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige] about doing a sequel, I said, ‘I don’t want to do just another sequel. If I’m going to do it, it needs to go into the territory that drew me into the Doctor Strange comics in the first place’ – which is how they dipped into the gothic and the horror and the horrific. And we’re going to make the first scary MCU movie."
With Derrickson having now exited the project, it seems less and less likely that Doctor Strange 2 will be as horror-laden as originally hoped. Given Marvel have to act fast to get his replacement, only time will tell just how much of his vision remains in the film when it releases May next year.
What do you make of the news that Scott Derrickson has parted ways with Marvel? Let us know in the comments below!
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