‘Doctor Strange 2’ writer addresses if ‘What If…?’ influenced the movie
In the run-up to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Marvel fans were convinced that it was going to revisit several character variants from the What If…? animated series. From the presence of a corrupted Strange to zombie heroes to Captain Carter, there were just too many crossovers for it to be coincidental. But, apparently, that’s exactly what it was, as screenwriter Michael Waldron has revealed the similarity between the two projects was just one big coinkydink.
Speaking to IGN, Waldron admitted that, while he was aware of the plans for What If…? while penning Doctor Strange 2‘s script, the show was still coming together at the time, so the movie wasn’t envisioned as a follow-up to it. It just so happens, though, that the story he had cooked up mirrored the one the What If…? team had created for their Strange episode. As he explained:
“Well, I was definitely aware of What If…?. I think when I came on [the movie], the Doctor Strange episode of What If…? was still in the animatic phase. But I watched that and knew what they were doing, which was more helpful to me that [executive producer] Ashley Bradley had focused on Strange and Christine’s relationship [in the episode], because I knew I wanted to focus on that as the heart of his emotional story in our movie.”
As becomes clear when you watch the film, despite appearances to the contrary, What If…?‘s Dark Strange and the evil Strange from Multiverse of Madness are separate entities. And yet Waldron thinks the two matching variants help paint the picture the movie was trying to make of Earth-616’s Strange being the only one who remains a good guy. He continued:
“So, it didn’t necessarily affect the multiverse… But it does represent one more cautionary tale of a time that is Stephen Strange, somewhere in the multiverse, has gone bad and ruined a universe. And I think that’s part of what our Strange is wrestling with by the end of our movie, is this notion of weight, ‘Is every version of me fated to go bad and therefore, does that mean I’m going to go bad?’”
As for Zombie Strange, Waldron’s revealed elsewhere that his introduction simply came out of needing to solve a plot point. The Captain Carter crossover seems too huge to be just another coincidence, however, so we’d like to know whether she was a concept that Marvel deliberately planted in both productions. That seems feasible, given how she’s everywhere right now — even headlining her own comic book series.
While Doctor Strange 2 is playing in theaters now, What If…? season two is currently in development.