Doctor Strange 2 director

Michael Waldron made the leap from writing the upcoming Disney+ series Loki to writing Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and working with director Sam Raimi. But Waldron found he didn’t have to take too much of a leap in writing what you would assume are very different Marvel characters: the God of Mischief and the Sorcerer Supreme. He settled into writing both characters by basing them on other famous figures, both real-life and fictional.

In an interview with Vanity Fair, Waldron revealed a few inspirations that went into his characterization of Benedict Cumberbatch‘s Dr. Stephen Strange, including Anthony Bourdain and Indiana Jones. The first example might raise a few eyebrows — what does a renowned chef and TV personality have to do with a doctor-turned-sorcerer? Waldron explained:

“I gravitated toward [travel documentarian and chef] Anthony Bourdain. Strange is an elitist as a neurosurgeon and a sorcerer. Anthony Bourdain was a man of the people, but there was that intense intellect. You always felt like he could eviscerate anybody with his words at any time. But yet, Anthony Bourdain never really punched down. That was the first ingredient in the stew for Doctor Strange.”

Waldron said Bourdain’s reputation for traveling the world also leant to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness‘ reality-hopping plot. “Anthony Bourdain had been everywhere, seen everything,” Waldron said. “What surprises you at this point? I think for all of the heroes in the MCU, in a post-Endgame world, how do you rally yourself to fight the stand-alone movie villains after you fought Thanos?”

But Doctor Strange is doing more than trying out new foods while traveling the multiverse. He’ll get in a few scraps, which is where the Indiana Jones inspiration comes in. “He’s Indiana Jones in a cloak to me,” Waldron said, adding:

“He’s a hero who can take a punch. That’s what made those Harrison Ford heroes so great. Those guys get their asses kicked. Look at Stephen Strange in the first movie. He’s really getting beat up but he’s very capable and everything. I can tell you that it’s a ride…very Sam Raimi. The film is incredibly visually thrilling. John Mathieson, our D.P., who shot Gladiator and Logan—I think the look of it is going to be unlike anything you’ve seen in the MCU before.”

Waldron’s close friend, fellow Rick and Morty alum and Ant-Man 3 writer Jeff Loveness, said Waldron wanted to write “a really great Indiana Jones–esque blockbuster,” and with Doctor Strange 2, he “nailed it. It’s a kind of throwback.”

Waldron threw in one more throwback inspiration: MASH‘s Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce. “His wife is a [physician assistant]. He really got to the heart of the character, how doctors do have to be cocky. He got the Hawkeye Pierce energy of Strange,” Loveness added.

But Doctor Strange will be sharing the screen with at least one other Avenger in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Elizabeth Olsen‘s Wanda Maximoff will be appearing in the Doctor Strange sequel after having had her own adventure/existential crisis in WandaVision, and Waldron told Collider that he collaborated with both WandaVision head writer Jac Schaeffer and Olsen to do justice to the character’s arc in the Disney+ series and tell “a fulfilling next chapter of that story.”

““We had access to the scripts and then to cuts [of WandaVision]. I became good friends with Jac Schaeffer, head writer of WandaVision, while I was writing Loki,” Waldron said. “I had the benefit of just being able to call Jac and talk to her about Wanda’s character and everything, because it was really important to me that I do right by her with what she did with Wanda as a character. And also, with Lizzie, who’s a friend of mine.”

You can see how it all plays out when the Sam Raimi-directed Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits theaters on March 25, 2022.

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