Doctor Strange 2 | Scott Derrickson backed out to avoid making a “monstrosity”

Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness (3) not directed by Scott Derrickson
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Director Scott Derrickson has explained why he backed out of making Doctor Strange 2 for Marvel: “It was increasingly obvious that we were pulling against each other.”


Given the success of 2016’s truly psychedelic Doctor Strange, it was inevitable that Marvel Studios would ask its director, Scott Derrickson, to return to make a sequel. But as history records – not to mention several posts on this website – Derrickson bowed out of Doctor Strange 2's production in 2020.

At the time, Derrickson cited the usual ‘creative differences’ in a tweet about his departure, and the parting seemed amicable. “I have mutually agreed to part ways,” Derrickson wrote. “I am thankful for our collaboration and will remain on as [executive producer.]”

In a new interview with The Playlist – recorded for its The Discourse podcast – Derrickson talked a little more about his idea for Doctor Strange 2 – what would become Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness – and reiterated that he left because of those ‘creative differences.’

The then director suggested that he wanted to make a sequel that offered an “extreme departure” from the first. It would be a “genuine horror film” – one that, perhaps, reflected the tastes of he and regular writing partner, C Robert Cargill. When it became clear that their idea for the sequel differed from Marvel’s, Derrickson bowed out because, in short, he didn’t want to make ‘a monstrosity.’

“All I can say is that what we said publicly is exactly the truth,” Derrickson told The Playlist. “We had real creative differences. You know, the movie I wanted to make and how I wanted to make it was different than–it was just increasingly obvious that we were pulling against each other. And that’s how you make a really bad movie, I think. When the producer or the studio and the filmmaker are making different movies, you end up with a monstrosity and, you know, that’s why I had to bounce.”

Once Derrickson bounced, seasoned horror maestro Sam Raimi took over, and Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness was the result. The film was hardly lacking in some distinctly Raimi-esque gruesome overtones, which makes us wonder just how much of “genuine horror” Derrickson and Cargill’s concept would have taken in.

After parting ways with Marvel Studios, Derrickson returned to a more personal brand of horror with 2022’s The Black Phone, again co-written by Cargill and starring Ethan Hawke, who previously worked with the duo on Sinister. We rather liked it.


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