Scott Derrickson Will No Longer Direct 'Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness'

Breaking news: Scott Derrickson, the filmmaker behind 2016's Doctor Strange, will no longer direct the film's sequel, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Derrickson, who introduced the world to Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Stephen Strange with his inventive and occasionally trippy Doctor Strange movie, has vacated the director's chair of the upcoming sequel. He announced the news on Twitter:

It's rare for Marvel to part ways with directors, especially once official announcements have been made that a filmmaker has signed on to a project. Off the top of my head, I think it's only happened with Thor: The Dark World (Patty Jenkins was originally announced, before being replaced by Alan Taylor) and Ant-Man (Edgar Wright was originally on board, and Peyton Reed ended up helming that movie). But as he mentions in the tweet, Derrickson isn't stepping away entirely: he'll stay on board as an executive producer.

I have to wonder if those "creative differences" involve the movie's scary elements. Derrickson is a big horror guy, and there have been multiple stories about Doctor Strange 2 having horror elements, so perhaps there was a disagreement about the extent to which this film should express those elements. Last October, rising screenwriter Jade Bartlett was announced as the writer of the sequel, and at the time it was unclear whether Derrickson would be co-writing the script like he did for the first Strange movie. Perhaps that was a factor here, too – though that's only speculation on my part.

This sequel is being positioned as one of the most important movies in the immediate future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, since it will feature tie-ins with two upcoming Disney+ shows: WandaVision (Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch will factor into the action in some way) and Loki (which we assume means we'll see Tom Hiddleson's villain scampering around the multiverse since he escaped captivity during Avengers: Endgame).

Marvel Studios Chief Creative Officer Kevin Feige has also talked about how this movie is going to be a creative lynchpin for the MCU going forward: "The multiverse is the next step in the evolution of the MCU and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is going to crack it open in ways that will have repercussions for a Disney+ series before it that's not WandaVision and for movies after it in a big fun way," he said, obliquely referencing Loki before that connection was officially announced.

Very curious to see what Marvel decides to do here. Will the film get delayed, or will they find someone else in time to step in and keep things on track? As for Derrickson, he's previously said that as soon as he was finished directing Doctor Strange 2, he would return to R-rated horror with a new movie he's co-written with his Sinister co-writer C. Robert Cargill. Maybe now that project will move forward quicker as a silver lining to this announcement? Stay tuned for more as it happens.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits theaters on May 7, 2021.