How Benedict Cumberbatch’s Dr. Strange Almost Appeared in ‘WandaVision’

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Brian Hiatt
·2 min read
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The story of WandaVision‘s main character, Wanda Maximoff, a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch (played by Elizabeth Olsen), is set to continue in 2022’s Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, but the two projects were almost linked much more directly. As Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige reveals in Rolling Stone‘s upcoming, extensive oral history of WandaVision, Marvel struck a deal with Benedict Cumberbatch to appear in the final episode of the show as Dr. Strange. But late in the process, they wrote him out.

“Some people might say, ‘Oh, it would’ve been so cool to see Dr. Strange,’” says Feige. “But it would have taken away from Wanda, which is what we didn’t want to do. 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.’” That meant the Dr. Strange movie, too, had to be rewritten. In the end, Feige says, Marvel’s process is “a wonderful combination of very dedicated coordination, and chaos. Chaos magic.” At one point, back when Dr. Strange was supposed to be part of the story, the in-universe commercials were going to be messages from Strange to Wanda, and there was also talk of having Cumberbatch appear in one of the ads, head writer Jac Schaeffer says.

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Meanwhile, Elizabeth Olsen is pushing back on criticism that Wanda got off too easy by flying away without punishment after she forced an entire town of people into her sitcom fantasy world. “She had to get away before the people who have to hold her accountable got there,” she says. “And where she went is a place that no one could find her. Because she knows that she is going to be held accountable, and I think she has a tremendous amount of guilt.”

Our oral history, which tells the entire story behind the making of one of the year’s best TV shows, will also include interviews with Paul Bettany, Kathryn Hahn, Teyonnah Parris, Randall Park, Kat Dennings, and many more.

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