Doctor Strange

There aren’t exactly that many underdog movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the most popular franchise on Earth at the moment, that could genuinely be considered "underrated" or "underappreciated." That said, I’ll happily go to bat for 2016’s "Doctor Strange" as one of the franchise’s more sneakily effective solo movies, bringing creative action, a sense of spirituality, and a knowingly (I’ll even say refreshingly) unlikable protagonist into a rapidly-expanding world of mysticism and superheroes.

Much of this, of course, came as a result of director Scott Derrickson’s unique sensibilities as both an artist and a human being. This only made it all the more disappointing when news first broke that he would be parting ways with Marvel during early stages of development over the sequel. Stephen Strange himself, Benedict Cumberbatch, recently shared his thoughts on seeing the studio and filmmaker go their separate ways.

An Abrupt Change

Benedict Cumberbatch and Scott Derrickson

"Creative differences." Those two words have sent a shudder down the back of many a movie fan over the years and, as is usually the case, that was the given reason for Derrickson’s unexpected departure from the "Doctor Strange" sequel. While this must have come as a shock to Cumberbatch, The Hollywood Reporter writes that the actor opted for the diplomatic approach in revealing his reaction to the news.

"I was sad to hear about it, but that was not my decision. I completely respected the studio’s decision, and it was done very amicably. The grown-ups called and just talked me through it. And that was that."

Rumors abounded that Marvel and Derrickson reached an impasse in terms of just how much horror would be present in the sequel, but that could safely be laid to rest upon the announcement that Sam Raimi would be stepping in to helm "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness." It’s not often that a replacement director could be seen as a step up from the original hire, but Raimi is certainly in a league of his own when it comes to exciting filmmakers with a well-established history of singular work. Naturally, Cumberbatch compares the two styles and approaches employed by the two directors, which should only boost confidence that the sequel remains in good hands.

"[Raimi] was an assured pair of hands, who knew that world. He’s got certain Raimi traits. The smashed-zoom close-up. The mixture of just on the level of horror and just on the level of camp. There’s fun in there, but there should be some real thrills as well."

Though he hasn’t shied away from how disappointing the experience must have been, Scott Derrickson has hardly missed a step since the split. The horror filmmaker will be debuting a quarantine short film that he made with his sons and frequent collaborate Robert C. Cargill, as well as his latest feature film titled "Black Phone" that stars Ethan Hawke.

"Black Phone" is scheduled for a January 28, 2022 release. "Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness," meanwhile, is set for release on March 25, 2022.