Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson has unveiled the most important napkin in the history of the MCU. The upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will be helmed by the Spider-Man trilogy’s Sam Raimi, yet originally it was supposed to be Derrickson in the director’s chair, after his work on 2016’s origins movie for the Sorcerer Supreme. But while Derrickson is no longer with the Marvel universe, his impact on the franchise is still being keenly felt.
Derrickson, also known for his horror films Sinister and Deliver Us From Evil, shared a fascinating throwback image on Twitter this week — the napkin on which he drew his first concept art for the reality-hopping portals used by Benedict Cumberbatch’s Stephen Strange and the other Masters of the Mystic Arts. Though only roughly drawn, the filmmaker’s sketch nonetheless captures the flickering, flaming portals and proves that Derrickson stuck with the same design for them throughout the development process.
In fact, you can easily claim that this napkin changed the MCU as those portals have gone on to have a huge significance to the franchise. Strange’s portals are now one of the most iconic visuals of the movies, thanks to their importance to the plot in both Avengers: Endgame — particularly during the “Avengers Assemble” scene and final battle — and Spider-Man: No Way Home — with Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield emerging through the portals in a key scene.
Expect to see much more of the portals in the Doctor Strange sequel as well, as Strange and his allies traverse the multiverse. That said, the film will also introduce a different way of hopping across realities in the form of America Chavez’s star-shaped portals. Still, Derrickson’s design for the portals opened by sling rings will no doubt remain a fixture of the franchise for a long time to come. And it all started with a stick-man sketch on a napkin.