Jessica Chastain Turned Down A Major MCU Role In Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is still listed as shooting in June. This is despite not having a completed script, not having a director (Sam Raimi is still in negotiations and yet to be officially announced) and not having a confirmed cast.

One actor from Doctor Strange who’s not yet 100% confirmed to return is Rachel McAdams’ Christine Palmer. While Palmer didn’t have a huge amount to do in the first film, comics fans will know she becomes the hero Night Nurse. and if the character does appear in the sequel. she’d be expected to take up that mantle.

But now we’re hearing that McAdams was actually the studio’s second choice and that they were very close to signing Jessica Chastain for the part. Doctor Strange writer C. Robert Cargill explained what happened in an appearance on the Junkfood Cinema podcast, saying:

“This is the interesting thing that Hollywood’s starting to find out, is that a lot of the actresses out there want to be superheroes as much as the actors do. I know this happened with Scott [Derrickson]. He went to Jessica Chastain to get her on Doctor Strange, because we were considering her. She’s like, ‘Hey, look, this project sounds awesome, and I would love to do it. But I’m only going to get one shot at being in a Marvel film and becoming a Marvel character; and I trained in ballet, and I really want to wear a cape.’ And that was the coolest rejection ever. She wanted to be in a Marvel movie, but she wanted to be the superhero, not the badass doctor Night Nurse.”

I’m going to say Jessica Chastain made the right call here. Let’s face it, Night Nurse simply isn’t the most exciting character, and her origins are pretty dated and sexist. The actress is also absolutely right to say that you really only get one chance to join the MCU (though Laura Haddock managed to appear in both Captain America and Guardians of the Galaxy as different characters). Plus, her ballet skills mean that she could do some kickass intricately choreographed fight scenes. Night Nurse is many things, but high octane action she ain’t.

Of course, Chastain went on to play the villainous Vuk in X-Men: Dark Phoenix last year. That also didn’t give her a great deal to work with, but at least she got to ham it up as a nigh-invincible alien overlord. It remains to be seen when the MCU will find a hero worthy of her talents, but with the upcoming phases set to introduce many new heroes, let’s hope her agent has Kevin Feige’s phone number.