Doctor Strange 2 Originally Had A Different Villain
Who could it have been?
One of the most divisive elements of Doctor Strange 2, aka Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, was the fact that Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff turned out to not only be the villain, but she turned out to be a villain with a damn high body count. But in a recent interview the Doctor Strange 2 writer admitted that as crucial as Scarlet Witch proved to be to the film, originally she wasn’t the villain.
Speaking to Den of Geek, Doctor Strange 2 writer Michael Waldron explained that originally, other villains were being considered as the Big Bad for the film. He brings up the example of Nightmare as a frontrunner, and indeed there were many reports leading up to the film that Nightmare would be Strange’s antagonist. While Waldron doesn’t say which villain — if any — was the one he and director Sam Raimi ultimately chose before Scarlet Witch, he explains that it was the many delays brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic that led them to making Wanda the villain.
“When I originally came on in February of 2020, [Sam Raimi] and I inherited the story that had been worked on by [Scott Derrickson] and Jade Bartlett, the original writer on the project,” Waldron told Den of Geek. “It had a lot of really cool ideas in it, and we were initially going to just try to figure out our version of that story in time to start shooting the movie in May. Then COVID happened a month later, and the movie was pushed, which afforded us an opportunity to kind of start over and re-examine what we wanted the movie to be.”
Apparently, making Wanda the villain of Doctor Strange 2 was the more appealing choice to Raimi and Waldron, but this, he says, wasn’t the only way in which all the schedule shake-ups wound up reshaping the finished film. He reminds us that originally Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was scheduled to come out before Spider-Man: No Way Home. When that flipped, Waldron says it changed how they approached the Doctor Strange sequel in two major ways.
First, there was Doctor Strange’s knowledge of the Multiverse. “It meant that Stephen would have had some real experience with the multiverse by now,” Waldron said. “This isn’t his first rodeo… He understands the dangers of it more.” But second and perhaps more importantly, Waldron says it made the hero of Doctor Strange 2 more capable of his team-up with America Chavez. “He had just been on an adventure with kids before this, and I think that might be the biggest thing affecting how he would interface with America. She wasn’t a totally unknown quantity to him when it came to relating to a teenager.”
We have to admit, Waldron has a point here. Sure, they have a bit of a rough road learning to trust each other, but Strange definitely has an easier time with America than he does with Peter Parker and his friends in No Way Home. Though that does bring up one of the potential head-scratching points of Doctor Strange 2. Shortly after saving America from Shuma-Gorath, Strange and Wong tell America about the events of No Way Home, meaning, of course, that they remember them. Of course, the spell that Strange casts at the end of No Way Home only takes away the memory of Peter Parker, not the memory of Spider-Man; but considering the plot of No Way Home — including the big, multiversal aspects of it — revolve around Spidey’s secret identity, how could you possibly remember one without remembering the other?