Doctor Strange 2: Balder The Brave Closer to MCU Debut Than We Thought

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness came closer to featuring Balder the Brave than we might have thought, with Daniel Craig suspected to have been the frontrunner for the role. In joining the Phase Zero podcast on Wednesday, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness costume designer Graham Churchyard opened up about his work on the film, including work which audiences did not get a chance to see. As it turns out, Balder the Brave came so close to being featured in the Strange sequel that Churchyard started working on the costume at one point.

"We got very far designing Balder the Brave and then we were waiting, and waiting, and waiting on casting," Churchyard said. "I took it to a prototype stage, we were kind of in that design thing, getting fabrics together and ideas and waiting for an actor. Poor Balder the Brave, he almost made Thor 1, and Thor 2, and Thor 3, if I can simplify that. Then, it's just like, 'Yay! He's gonna get an appearance!' Poor guy. I've seen designs Marvel's archive book of Balder's helmet going back to Kenneth Branagh's Thor. So, he's been a long time waiting and I don't think he's gonna make an appearance any time soon."

Ultimately, the pandemic which began in 2020 changed the production plans for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and resulted in several changes for the film. One of the changes saw Spider-Man: No Way Home releasing before the Strange sequel despite originally being planned to release afterwards. Benedict Cumberbatch appeared in both films as Marvel's sorcerer, so Churchyard had an opportunity to reunite with Spider-Man actor Tom Holland while also being involved with Cumberbatch's Strange suit for both films.

"We were into Doctor Strange. We were already shooting and it was just like, 'Yeah, Tom Holland's coming next week. They're all coming over. Not next week, the week after. They're gonna do this scene in the Sanctum with Spider-Man visiting Doctor Strange,'" Churchyard recalled. "Everything, I don't know how, it flipped. It was to do with many things which I can't really tell you about because I don't know."

Those changes also called for Doctor Strange's Illuminati to be filmed in the United States, rather than the United Kingdom where the scenes with Holland's Peter Parker in the Sanctum for No Way Home and the rest of Multiverse of Madness were brought to life. 

"Because of this stupid thing called COVID there was a travel ban and I was unable to go to the States," Churchyard explained. "I live in the UK here on the south coast. Basically, it got to a point where they... They had another couple of characters that were back in the design stage in the UK like Balder the Brave and because oof just the way that we couldn't bring a lot of these actors over because of travel ban in reverse and sort of constraints... We couldn't bring Patrick Stewart over to shoot at the same time as Hayley Atwell. Hayley Atwell was into M:I 7 and other things. So, this sort of dream of getting the Illuminati all in one room at the same time didn't happen in London. It just about happened in LA over something like a six month time span which is an extraordinary thing. It's like, the Illuminati, when I got those pages, it's just like, 'This is like a whole movie in itself because it could just expand so much.'"

Are you hoping to see Balder the Brave make a debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Share your thoughts in the comment section or send them my way on Twitter! Phase Zero's entire interview with Churchyard is available now on YouTube and all major podcast platforms