Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has had a strange — and, at times, maddening — journey to the finish line. The Marvel Studios sequel had its first upheaval when Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson exited over creative differences, and Michael Waldron (Marvel's Loki, Rick and Morty) was brought on for a start-from-scratch rewrite for new director Sam Raimi (the original Spider-Man trilogy). Filmed during the pandemic, Doctor Strange 2 paused production amid lockdowns in the UK before undergoing "significant" reshoots and additional photography — reportedly in part because of actor availability issues and COVID-related slowdowns.
"It's been tough. I'll be honest with you. It's had quite a journey, this film. But not in a kind of poor me way, just like the nature of where we're at," Benedict Cumberbatch told Deadline in an interview about his Oscar-nominated Netflix movie The Power of the Dog. "To try and make a massive film like that under the constrictions of a pandemic and the delays that have ensued, partly because of The Power of the Dog, but also because of everything that was lined up and had to be pushed back from Marvel. It's been tough for everyone. Also, incredibly enjoyable and no less enjoyable than the first one."
Set after the multiverse-meddling events of Spider-Man: No Way Home, and coming more than five years after 2016's Doctor Strange, the sequel sees Dr. Stephen Strange (Cumberbatch) and the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) traverse the MCU multiverse.
"I hope the results are as good [as the first movie], but yeah, I think it can't be underestimated. It's really… This is a film that has a lot of resources," Cumberbatch said. "It's nothing compared to the struggles of live performance. It's really, it's tough, but very rewarding, very fun."
In a previous interview with Empire Magazine, Cumberbatch explained the reshoots were to "realize the full potential of the film — bits that we want to do better," he said, "but also bits that were just impossible to do on the day because of logistics, COVID. We were so delayed in production because of that. Luckily, not during production too much. Although everything is just a little slower."
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Karl Mordo, Benedict Wong as Sorcerer Supreme Wong, Rachel McAdams as Christine Palmer, Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez, and Patrick Stewart as Professor Charles Xavier, Marvel's Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness opens only in theaters on May 6.