Yesterday, it was reported that Scott Derrickson was no longer helming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Having directed the first film, which was a critical and financial hit, the news was definitely a bit shocking.
In a statement, Marvel cited “creative differences” as the reason behind Derrickson’s exit. The filmmaker confirmed that the split was amicable in a tweet as well and he mentioned that he’ll remain as an executive producer on the sequel. But is that really the full story here?
Sources close to WGTC – the same ones who told us Daniel Radcliffe is being eyed for Moon Knight and revealed that Marvel was working on a She-Hulk show way back in April – say that his firing from the movie was over issues with the horror aspects of the film. Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige was apparently alright with having some horror elements, but Derrickson was reportedly insistent on pushing the horror even further. Feige was unwilling to abide by the director’s full vision though, resulting in Derrickson wanting out and the filmmaker’s firing coming next.
So, it seems that even if he hadn’t been let go, he probably would’ve walked away given that he couldn’t make the movie he wanted to. And while it’s unlikely we’ll ever get any confirmation from either party that this is indeed what happened, we’ve no reason to doubt this intel given that it comes from the same sources who also told us Taskmaster would be the villain in Black Widow, which we now know to be true.
Unlike the recent Star Wars movies, Marvel has had a pretty smooth track record when it comes to their directors. Other than Joss Whedon’s shaky exit following Avengers: Age of Ultron and the Edgar Wright split on Ant-Man, not to mention Thor: The Dark World losing Patty Jenkins, the studio has shown trust in different directors and their vision. From James Gunn to Ryan Coogler to Taika Waititi, Marvel isn’t afraid to allow their filmmakers to put their own personal stamp on their movies. But the caveat is, it has to stay within the framework of the much larger cinematic universe.
It’s the reason Wright didn’t direct Ant-Man and it seems like Derrickson had a similar experience. In fact, for a guy who made Sinister and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, it’s surprising that the original Doctor Strange didn’t have more horror elements. Perhaps he was focusing on playing nice with a big studio on the first movie before waiting to get his chance to make Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness a full blown horror film. If that was his plan though, it unfortunately didn’t work out.