Somehow, we all had to have figured this would happen. Director Scott Derrickson has announced that he has bowed out of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the sequel to the wildly successful Doctor Strange. Following a box office take of an estimated $677 million, this second offering of the titular doctor had the promise of more horror elements, with Derrickson going as far as to say he would “be making the first scary MCU film.”
Enter Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios and de facto creative director for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), who went on record at a speaking engagement at the New York Film Academy saying that the scary moments of the film would be reminiscent of those in Gremlins and Indiana Jones, films that Feige argued “invented the PG-13 rating, after all.”
Following the news, Jason Blum, the namesake and CEO of Blumhouse, even emailed Derrickson, reacting to the entire situation with a simple “Oh my god.” Given that Blum and Derrickson have worked together on projects including Sinister and Deliver Us from Evil, it isn’t a stretch to say that Blum sympathizes with Derrickson. After all, if one of the biggest names in modern American horror is left damn near speechless from the news, it must be major.
Even with Feige’s creative control and Derrickson’s departure from the director’s chair, the film carries plenty of promise, especially being one of the first films in the fourth phase of the MCU. While Derrickson will retain his position as executive producer, as his statement to Variety mentioned, the Benedict Cumberbatch-starring film is, for the moment, without a man at the helm. It isn’t like Marvel to move around release dates, and with a projected summer 2021 release, it would behoove Marvel to fill the vacancy soon, preferable with someone who can bring the darker elements to the film as Derrickson intended to.