Xochitl Gomez Reveals A Major Multiverse Of Madness Reshoot Change To Doctor Strange [Exclusive]

(Warning: The following contains major spoilers for "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness")

One thing you have to give to Sam Raimi: "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" sure hits the ground running. It begins with Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) literally running from a giant golden monster, except it's not the Strange we're used to ... it's the version known as "Defender Strange." This is one of many multiversal Stranges we meet throughout the film, and he distinguishes himself with both a ponytail and the fool idea that he has to absorb America's multiverse-hopping powers in order to defeat the evil that's chasing them. 

While Defender Strange meets his fate in this opening scene at the hands of said monster, the Stephen Strange from our universe (aka Earth-616) has to spend the rest of the film trying to figure out a way to avoid pulling the same lousy move of killing his new friend America to control her power. He does so at the end when he finally trusts in someone besides himself — America — to take on the big bad, in this case Scarlet Witch. He no longer has to always be the one holding the knife, as they say in doctor speak. 

As reported previously, Raimi's film went through a huge swath of reshoots, and in a new interview we conducted with star Gomez, she illuminated one very big change that was made right in this opening scene that had huge repercussions for the entire film.

'Defender Strange was actually saving me.'

This is an exchange from an interview with Gomez which will appear in full on the site later this week.

There were reportedly extensive reshoots on "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness." How did that additional shooting change the trajectory of your character?

Yeah, it changed lots of things. The main thing about Marvel is that they do test screenings so that they can get the movie to be what fans want, make them be what Marvel movies are. We did lots of changes for that reshoot, it was pretty insane. Lots of work, but it was really fun and it was a challenge, but it was also really fun to do wirework again of the stuff that I already had done, to do it in a different style with different intentions and stuff. One main thing that got changed is that Defender Strange was actually saving me at the beginning and it was a turning point, that when he died it was me being heartbroken over the fact that someone who cared and was protecting me had passed away. Then, when we did reshoots it was this main drastic change that Defender Strange was actually betraying me and trying to take my power away from me.

And that change gave you and Benedict a lot more to work with in terms of tension, etc.

A lot more to work with, but also it's a completely different perspective on her and her trust issues because before it was this whole other thing. A little, simple thing like that can change so much.

Giving Strange an arc

As you can imagine, making this change right at the start of the movie helped not only ratchet up the suspense ("Will Stephen Strange be a villain and kill America for her powers???") but also gave Strange an arc, that he had to overcome this impulse to take things into his own hands in order to make difficult decisions that affect the entire universe.

Ultimately Strange learns to cast away his fear and control issues and put his trust in others. We're not sure what exactly his arc would have been without this, but it sounds like the beginning established somewhat more generic heroics from the character. As they always say, if you have problems in the third act it means you have problems in the first act, and it sounds like Marvel went right to the source to make "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" a hell of an entertaining ride. 

"Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" is now available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD in addition to digital and streaming on Disney+.

Here is the official synopsis:

Journey into the unknown in Marvel Studios' "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness." When the MCU unlocks the Multiverse, Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) must enlist help from old and new allies as he traverses mind-bending and dangerous alternate realities in order to confront a surprising adversary.