A new image shows the cut Thor character from Doctor Strange 2, as Balder was meant to appear in the movie.
Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are very well aware of Loki, the most famous brother of Thor, but the hero also has another brother named Balder that is seldom seen. Doctor Strange 2 was originally going to feature a Balder (rumored to be played by Daniel Craig) before his appearance got cut, and MCU costume designer Graham Churchyard confirmed to Comicbook.com that Balder was in the “design stage” but ultimately wasn’t included in the movie due to complications caused by COVID-19. Furthermore, a behind-the-scenes clip released by Elizabeth Olsen’s stunt double CC Ice reveals what appears to be the body of Balder after he fell to the Scarlet Witch.
One of the more ironic things about Doctor Strange 2 ultimately cutting the appearance of Balder is that the character just kept getting cut from different Marvel movies. For example, Churchyard confirmed that Thor’s other brother nearly made an appearance in the first three Thor movies, but he just kept getting cut for a variety of different reasons. And we would have seen the character finally show up in this Doctor Strange sequel if not for a force even more powerful than the Scarlet Witch: COVID-19.
Travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic caused a lot of chaos when filming Multiverse of Madness. Specifically, it was impossible to get all the Illuminati actors in London at the same time during filming. Editing magic and shooting these scenes in Los Angeles instead helped bring them all together for the final cut of Doctor Strange 2, but these filming difficulties meant that the original idea to feature Balder the Brave (who would have seemingly been in these scenes) just couldn’t happen.
However, the behind-the-scenes clip shared by CC Ice gives us an interesting idea of what Doctor Strange 2 would have done to Balder, and it isn’t pretty. In the clip, we see a fallen warrior’s body as well as a sword that is very prominently in the foreground. This has caused some fans to speculate that Wanda used her powers to take control of the warrior’s mind and forced him to kill himself.
What is less clear is whether or not Doctor Strange 2 was going to show us the Balder who is our Thor’s brother or a Balder from a different multiverse. He would have appeared alongside The Illuminati, which featured some familiar faces in different roles (like Hayley Atwell’s Peggy Carter as Captain Carter), familiar faces in familiar roles (like Patrick Stewart’s Professor Xavier from the Fox X-Men movies), and new faces in new roles (like John Krasinski as Mr. Fantastic). In other words, the Balder we might have seen was likely to be a Balder from a different universe, meaning his death would not preclude us from seeing the brother of Thor (perhaps even a different version of Balder) in the primary MCU universe.
Ultimately, the revelation that Doctor Strange 2 would have included Balder if it could may be disappointing to many Marvel fans. The good news is that this leaves the door open for Balder to show up in a future movie, and he might even be played by Daniel Craig, proving all those rumors true. If that happens, we can only hope he gives Balder an accent even half as awesome as he gave Benoit Blanc in the Knives Out films.