wandavision doctor strange

We know that Benedict Cumberbatch‘s Doctor Strange almost made a cameo in WandaVision, the enormously successful Marvel series on Disney+ that marked the beginning of Marvel Studios’ expansion of its cinematic universe to TV. With that in mind, it seemed like an easy decision: connect WandaVision to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, in which Elizabeth Olsen‘s Wanda Maximoff is due to co-star, by having Cumberbatch appear at the end of WandaVision.

That obviously didn’t come to pass, but the idea had progressed far enough that WandaVision head writer Jac Schaeffer had a rough outline of what the scrapped WandaVision Doctor Strange cameo might have looked like

In Rolling Stone‘s oral history of the making of WandaVision — published last month but now available online — Schaeffer revealed how the Doctor Strange cameo in the series might have played out before it was scrapped:

“The plan when I came on board was that there would, at the end of the series, be a handoff, and that Doctor Strange’s participation would amount to essentially a short cameo. So early outlines had varying versions of the two of them [Wanda and Doctor Strange] kind of riding off into the sunset together. And it didn’t feel quite right. We wanted to fulfill Wanda’s agency and autonomy within this particular story. So it did feel a little tacked on. Another problem was, if Doctor Strange shows up at just the end, where was he this whole time? I did love writing variations of Doctor Strange, variations on those final beats. It was a pleasure to write for him. There were versions where she was flying past the city limits and then encountered Doctor Strange, that kind of thing.”

Marvel chief Kevin Feige had previously confirmed that those mysterious fictional commercials were originally intended to build up to Doctor Strange’s appearance, and Schaeffer even had an idea for the Sorceror Supreme himself to appear in one of the commercials. One of her ideas was “that in the Nexus commercial [in Episode Seven], it would kind of be a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo, a quick image of Doctor Strange as the pharmacist in the background. I was very inspired by Fight Club, when Brad Pitt’s character is on the TV in the hotel — like, if you’re looking closely you’d see it for just a second. We were like, ‘The Nexus commercial is her subconscious. What if Strange is in the background and trying to reach her?’ But ultimately we decided in favor of Wanda’s own story.”

The decision to pull Doctor Strange out of WandaVision led to “a better ending on WandaVision than we initially thought of, and a better storyline in Dr. Strange,” Feige said.

While it’s debated that the ending of WandaVision stuck the landing or not, you can see for yourself whether it paid off in a better storyline for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness when it hits theaters on March 25, 2022.

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