Doctor Strange Director Scott Derrickson Recalls Leaving Multiverse Of Madness, Wanted To Avoid A 'Monstrosity'

 Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange in Multiverse of Madness.
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Originally the plan for Doctor Strange 2 was to have Scott Derrickson, director of the first Doctor Strange movie, resume his helming duties, with this being officially announced at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con. However, by January 2020, Derrickson exited what would come to be known as Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, with Sam Raimi taking over directorial duties a few months later. Nearly a year and a half after Multiverse of Madness’ release, Derrickson reflected on the circumstances that led to him and writer C. Robert Cargill leaving the sequel, saying he wanted to avoid a “monstrosity” that would come with clashing creative visions.

While appearing on The Playlist’s The Discourse podcast to promote his segment of the found footage horror movie V/H/S/85, Derrickson reaffirmed that it was creative differences that led to him and Cargill bowing out of Doctor Strange 2 rather than some major behind-the-scenes drama. It boiled down to Derrickson looking to make a significantly different movie than what Marvel Studios wanted, and had the two sides kept trying to work together, it likely would’ve have been a recipe for disaster. In his words:

All I can say is that what we said publicly is exactly the truth. We had real creative differences. You know, the movie I wanted to make and how I wanted to make it was different than–it was just increasingly obvious that we were pulling against each other. And that’s how you make a really bad movie, I think. When the producer or the studio and the filmmaker are making different movies, you end up with a monstrosity and, you know, that’s why I had to bounce.

Scott Derrickson added that his version of Doctor Strange 2 was “extreme departure from the first film” and would have been “a genuine horror film of sorts,” which is how the sequel was initially promoted to the public. Although Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness certainly contained horror elements, the specific kind of story it told was different than what Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill wanted to tell, so they decided to walk away rather than contribute to the already-too-large number of these cinematic monstrosities the former referenced.

Derrickson once called the decision to walk away from a Marvel movie as “satisfying,” and it worked out for him and Cargill since they went on the make The Black Phone, which was critically well received and made over $161 million worldwide off a budget somewhere between $16-$18 million. The filmmaker also made it clear in this interview that even though things didn’t work out on Doctor Strange 2, there’s no “bad blood” between him and Marvel. Not only did he attend the Multiverse of Madness premiere and is “friends” with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and other people at the company, he’s also on wonderful terms with Sam Raimi.

You can see Scott Derrickson’s work on V/H/S/85 when it premieres October 6 on Shudder (which can be added on to your Amazon Prime Video subscription). Disney+ subscribers can easily Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but it has yet to be confirmed if Doctor Strange 3 is moving forward, though the sequel’s ending and its first end-credits scene certainly laid the groundwork for another movie.