Marvel boss Kevin Feige is now addressing the mixup behind the scenes of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
It shocked Marvel fans when Scott Derrickson announced he would be stepping down from directing the film in 2020, citing creative differences. Derrickson had helmed the fantastical action in 2016’s Doctor Strange, thought up the idea of making the sequel a horror film and has a background in the latter genre as well.
Though Derrickson has remained on the project as an executive director, Sam Raimi has now taken his place as director.
The original director’s departure spurred a lot of rumors among the fanbase, including that Derrickson had been pushing for an even stronger horror tone than the studio allowed. But that rumor, and any murmurs about bad blood between Derrickson and Disney, may be the stuff of unsubstantiated gossip if Feige’s take is any indication.
“We love Scott, and I think Scott feels the same,” Feige said in an interview with Empire Magazine for its May 2022 issue (via SlashFilm). “Nobody believes it, but it was just creative differences.”
Feige also shot down speculation that Derrickson was eyeing making the Doctor Strange sequel in the vein of a grisly and cerebral A24 horror film, like The Witch or Hereditary.
“There’s been some thought that that was the creative difference with Scott and Marvel, and it was not. Because we love that idea. The intention was that Strange would guide us into a much creepier side of the world,” he said.
In terms of finding a worthy successor for the project after Derrickson departed, Feige also went on to say in that same interview he viewed the prospect of Sam Raimi saying yes to Multiverse of Madness as something of a longshot, despite Feige having a history with Raimi by executive producing his Spider-Man trilogy in the 2000s.
The search for the replacement director began with the film’s other executive producers, Eric Carroll and Richie Palmer, making calls around to see who would be interested, according to Feige.
“Sam’s agent said, ‘What about Sam Raimi?’ We thought, ‘That would be incredible, but there’s no chance of that.’ But he wanted to come in and meet. And in the first meeting, it was amazing to reconnect with him, and see his enthusiasm to jump back into this world.”
As for Derrickson, rather than helming a project for Marvel, he went ahead and directed an Ethan Hawk-starring horror film, The Black Phone, slated for release on June 24.
The now Sam Rami-directed Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness comes to theaters May 6.