When most Marvel movies hit theaters, a sequel is announced almost before the end credits roll off the screen. The lone exception to that has been Doctor Strange for a number of reasons. As the linchpin of the Infinity War/Endgame arc, it was awfully hard to commit to a sequel about the character without knowing where his story would be at the end of it. When you have a character who can literally warp reality so nothing is off the table, story-wise, it’s fair to think Marvel needed to understand where he’d wind up before they could turn to where he was going.
But with Avengers: Endgame about to wind down the first ten years of the MCU and bring Marvel’s Phase 3 to a close, Marvel is finally looking ahead to Phase 4 and beyond. With that comes the news from THR that Doctor Strange 2 is finally officially in the works and director Scott Derrickson has quietly closed a deal to get back in the director’s chair. The hunt is on for a writer, with the plan being to hash out a script in 2019 and production to get going in early 2020. The studio is eyeballing a May 2021 release date, putting quite a bit of time between the first Doctor Strange and its sequel. But, as Stephen Strange has appeared in a number of Marvel movies since then, including the aforementioned Avengers: Infinity War and upcoming Avengers: Endgame, Marvel has had the luxury of continuing his story without needing to commit to an independent film to do it.
The first Doctor Strange hit theaters in 2016 and grossed $677.7 million worldwide. With it, Scott Derrickson pulled back on the destruction and chaos of previous Marvel movies and offered something more cerebral, focusing on the philosophical and existential rather than the punchy and kicky. Doctor Strange isn’t a character who will ever solve a problem with his fists and feet, but with his mind. With the theme of the power of the imagination threaded throughout the movie, the visuals were eye-popping, warping into alternate realities in trippy visuals that were old Steve Ditko comic book panels come to life. In terms of his specific powers, Infinity War gave fans a small taste of what the Sorcerer Supreme is truly capable of.
Marvel has indicated everything post-Endgame will be less tightly interconnected, so it will be interesting to see how much further Derrickson can push the story in the sequel now that it won’t be as beholden to the overarching narrative as the first movie. It’s also worth noting that he’ll be retaking the reins of the character after handing them off to Taika Waititi in Thor: Ragnarok and the Russos in the aforementioned Infinity War: What boundaries can he push now that Stephen Strange’s training wheels are off and he’s fully the Sorcerer Supreme? Derrickson is one of the more thoughtful and cerebral directors working today so it’s exciting to ponder the possibilities of where a Doctor Strange sequel might go.
Doctor Strange 2 is slated to hit theaters in May 2021 and Avengers: Endgame is in theaters on April 26, 2019.
(Header image: Marvel Studios)
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