Many fans were surprised when Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange did not make an appearance in “WandaVision.” After all, Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff is set to return next year in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”
Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige says that at one point in the show’s development, that was indeed the plan. They even reached an agreement with Cumberbatch to cameo as the Sorcerer Supreme. But Feige said they ultimately decided against it because it would have undercut that this was supposed to be Wanda’s story.
“Some people might say, ‘Oh, it would’ve been so cool to see Dr. Strange,'” Feige tells Rolling Stone. “But it would have taken away from Wanda, which is what we didn’t want to do. We didn’t want the end of the show to be commoditized to go to the next movie — here’s the white guy, ‘Let me show you how power works.'”
At the end of “WandaVision,” Wanda has fully taken her Scarlett Witch moniker and is seen not only having mastered astral projection but reading from the Darkhold, both of which are things that would get Strange’s attention.
Strange’s inclusion in the story would have affected those in-universe commercials, which ended up just being manifestations of Wanda’s past and grief. Initially, they were going to be messages from Strange, according to head writer Jac Schaeffer.
The decision to write Strange out of the “WandaVision” script also meant Marvel had to re-do the upcoming “Doctor Strange” movie as well.
It isnt’ known if the re-write had anything to do with the pandemic, which shut down filming when the show was near the finish line. Earlier this year, Feige told TheWrap the reshuffling of the movie lineup didn’t have that much of an affect on the interconnected story (though we now know that Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Val was supposed to debut in “Black Widow” and not “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.”)
“There are little to no changes that we made. A year from now, after all the projects are out, I can be more specific in the minutiae of it, if people are curious,” Feige said back in January. “But right now, without giving anything away, there were no big changes.”