As you’re doubtless tired of reading about, the coronavirus outbreak is delaying the release of countless movies and TV shows, with pretty much every story of production development relating to it in one way or another. However, this delay story is about one in the past, Doctor Strange, with the revelation that its production hold up ultimately improved the movie’s quality.
The MCU has not escaped the worldwide pandemic woes, with fans disappointed at having to wait for anticipated installments of the comic book juggernaut. Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson attempted to give folks something positive to take away from the seemingly interminable succession of major release delays though, observing that they’ll give greater opportunity to perfect pre-production aspects, and noting that his own movie was so helped by a postponement
Additionally, we pushed the release date for Doctor Strange five months in order to get Benedict Cumberbatch. Had we not done that, we would not have had time to get the script right or figure out how to achieve a lot of the visuals. pic.twitter.com/NtpgX3EJow
— N O S ⋊ Ɔ I ᴚ ᴚ Ǝ ᗡ ⊥ ⊥ O Ɔ S (@scottderrickson) April 3, 2020
Six years prior to Doctor Strange, Cumberbatch was just another jobbing actor, until he was catapulted to stardom by Sherlock, the BBC’s modernized take on the famous detective, paving the way for his portrayal of a series of arrogant and aloof characters. As such, he was one of the first people considered to play the Sorcerer Supreme, with the media and fans equally enthused at the prospect. However, his schedule wouldn’t allow for it, and the likes of Jared Leto, Ryan Gosling, Joaquin Phoenix, Tom Hardy, Édgar Ramírez, Ethan Hawke, Oscar Isaac, Ewan McGregor, Matthew McConaughey, Jake Gyllenhaal, Colin Farrell, and Keanu Reeves were all in various stages of contention for the role.
In spite of the litany of illustrious names, Cumberbatch was the only actor who was seriously considered for the part, and the production was voluntarily put on hold to account for his schedule, the delay granting Derrickson and his team the time to iron out the movie’s wrinkles and the final result reaffirming audience faith in Marvel after the slightly shaky quality of some Phase 2 productions.
We’ll next see Doctor Strange for certain in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but with the events of WandaVision tying into the sequel, we may see him crop up in the series prior to the sequel’s eventual, and yes, delayed, events.