The departure of Scott Derrickson from Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness came as a shock to the industry and fans alike. The director was widely praised for his work on Doctor Strange and it seemed that he was set to replicate this success in an ambitious sequel. The old chestnut of “creative differences” was wheeled out to explain the situation, with insiders saying that while Kevin Feige was happy to include horror elements, Derrickson was pushing for the film to be a full-on horror movie. Feige balked and Derrickson walked (or was fired, according to some reports).
Now, Variety is saying that Marvel Studios are eagerly searching for a replacement director for the project. Names like Brad Bird and Robert Rodriguez have already been mentioned (and Edgar Wright would have been a great fit if he didn’t already have bad blood with them after Ant-Man), but sources close to WGTC – the same ones who told us Marvel is eyeing Daniel Radcliffe for Moon Knight and Ace Ventura 3 is now in early development, both of which have since been confirmed – say that the studio is also looking at Mike Flanagan and Jennifer Kent as potential replacements.
Flanagan is on a horror hot streak after Doctor Sleep and The Haunting of Hill House and is currently hard at work on its sequel The Haunting of Bly Manor. He’s been praised by Stephen King, too, who called The Haunting of Hill House “close to a work of genius.” Perhaps the only hurdle in his way is that he may be too busy working for Netflix to fit in a new project right away.
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Kent, meanwhile, may be a little more likely. She’s renowned for both The Babadook and The Nightingale, and has a firm grasp on psychological horror. She may also be able to fit the pic into her schedule. Her next project hasn’t been officially announced, but she’s apparently been in talks with HBO to create a horror TV show for them. If that could temporarily be put on the back-burner though, she may be able to fit this in.
While Derrickson’s departure is a loss, here’s hoping that Marvel Studios can right this ship quickly. Everything we’re hearing about Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness indicates a film that pushes the boundaries of the MCU, so hopefully we’ll see them get a director that’s got some style, panache and imagination to bring it to life.