In an unexpected turn of events, Doctor Strange 2 / Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has just lost its director due to creative differences with the studio. This, I believe, is only the second time this has happened since the inception of the Marvel Cinematic Universe slightly more than a decade ago.
The first was the departure of Edgar Wright from the first Ant-Man movie. While it’s not difficult to imagine why Edgar Wright had to exit the project — he’s an auteur with a loud and unique voice that probably wouldn’t have meshed well with the established tone of the MCU (see: Baby Driver, Scott Pilgrim vs The World, ‘Cornetto Trilogy’) — Scott Derrickson seemed happy enough to play ball. In fact, he’s the one who helmed the first Doctor Strange movie that’s not only a financial success but a critical one too.
In a statement to Variety, Marvel said:
Marvel Studios and Scott Derrickson have amicably parted ways on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness due to creative differences. We remain grateful to Scott for his contributions to the MCU.
Derickson also provided a statement on his Twitter:
Marvel and I have mutually agreed to part ways on Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness due to creative differences. I am thankful for our collaboration and will remain on as EP.
This news has come as a shock to everybody, so it’s difficult to even imagine what those creative differences may have been. However, to look at the glass half-full, at the very least we know, as we’ve always known, that Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios have a vision and a longterm plan for these films and will make sure that their vision is seen through to the end. Which wasn’t the case with Lucasfilm and the Star Wars sequel trilogy in which directors were given too much freedom to do whatever they want at the expense of a cohesive narrative.
Scott Derrickson will remain as an executive producer on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
The film is still scheduled to go on floors in May 2020.