Original Doctor Strange 2 Director Opens Up About Exit From MCU Sequel

Original Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness director Scott Derrickson opens up about what led to his exit from the MCU sequel.

Director Scott Derrickson opens up about his exit from Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Derrickson directed the first solo Doctor Strange film in 2016, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton, and Mads Mikkelsen. The movie established the titular character in the MCU before his eventual crossovers into Avengers spirit Spider-Man films. Derrickson was set to return to direct the sequel, but bowed out early in what was initially reported as “creative differences“although he remained onboard as an executive producer.

Army of Darkness spirit Spider-Man director Sam Raimi stepped in for Derrickson, delivering the sequel to theaters earlier this month. Doctor Strange 2 has thus far made $ 703 million worldwide. Meanwhile, Derrickson went on to direct an adaptation of Joe Hill’s short story The Black Phone with Ethan Hawke, which is set to release next month. The horror-thriller is well in line with Derrickson’s work prior to Doctor Strangewhich includes The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Sinister spirit Deliver Us From Evil.


Related: Why Doctor Strange 2’s Box Office Had Such A Massive Drop (Is It Bad?)

In a new interview with Empire Magazine (via SyFy), Derrickson sheds some new light on his abrupt exit from Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which had less to do with creative differences and more to do with his mental well-being. Derrickson explains that he’d been in therapy “for a number of years dealing with early childhood trauma“from having grown up in a violent neighborhood and household, which was an issue he was still contending with. “Everybody got beat with a belt – or worse,” says Derrickson of his early home life. “There was a lot of bleeding and fights, to and from school. Ever-present violence was the nature of that blue-collar neighborhood.

Derrickson goes on to address his relationship with Marvel, saying, “Contrary to gossip, it was all really amicable [when I left] and I’d work there again.“That said, the director has no regret over leaving the film, adding that he feels like he made”the right decision“by moving on to The Black Phone. “I’ve made the movie I was meant to make, at the time I was meant to make it“says Derrickson. The Black Phone premiered at Fantastic Fest last year to solid reviews and played again at CinemaCon last month, once again leaving a positive and chilling impression on audiences that saw it. The movie currently sits at 100 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

It’s hard to say what Derrickson’s version of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness would’ve looked like or how different it would be from Raimi’s vision at the end of the day. Ultimately, both Derrickson and Raimi are well-versed in the horror genre with an acute sense of the macabre, which are strong attributes for a Doctor Strange movie. That is given the mystical nature of the franchise, which continues to get darker and darker with each new entry. It’s always possible that Derrickson could return for Doctor Strange 3 or an entirely different MCU project, but thankfully the director knew well enough to follow his gut and pay attention to his mental well-being before going too far into the sequel. It’s all too rare that creators take the breaks they need when their careers hang in the balance with big-name projects on their plate, and thankfully Derrickson was able to find a balance to that conundrum.

Next: The Black Phone Can Learn From Sinister’s Horror Movie Mistakes

Source: Empire Magazine (via SyFy)

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