‘Doctor Strange’ Star Puts Marvel Writers on Blast: “I Just Stopped Reading Drafts”

in Marvel, Movies & TV

Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff aka Scarlet Witch in WandaVision's finale

Credit: Marvel Studios

After going through a tedious behind-the-scenes overhaul, one MCU veteran is speaking out about her rocky experience filming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), revealing that she “just stopped reading drafts” after a series of frustrating script changes.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange in 'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness'
Credit: Marvel Studios

Hot on the heels of Marvel’s wildly successful Disney+ series, WandaVision, fans were thrilled to see Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch back in action for the second installment in the Doctor Strange franchise, Multiverse of Madness.

Once again starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular surgeon-turned-sorcerer, Wanda takes on a villainous role for the sequel, now under the influence of the all-powerful Darkhold. With a mission of finding her lost children amid grieving her husband, Vision (Paul Bettany), Wanda will stop at nothing to get what she wants—even if the consequences are deadly.

Wanda Maximoff as Elizabeth Olsen
Credit: Marvel Studios

The movie proved to be a box office hit for Marvel Studios, even if it was met with mixed reviews from fans and critics. Wanda’s characterization and her sudden flip to antagonist after being the pseudo-hero of her Disney+ solo show proved divisive amongst audiences, which “shocked” Olsen herself upon finding out.

Still, behind the scenes, the production of Multiverse of Madness was nothing short of a logistical nightmare. After director Sam Raimi replaced original filmmaker Scott Derrickson in the sequel, it underwent several last-minute script rewrites on top of a round of significant reshoots.

Doctor Strange and Wong
Credit: Marvel Studios

While the exact reasoning for these reshoots remains unknown, many have speculated that this was an attempt to remedy some story-related issues. Of course, the MCU’s Phase Four isn’t exactly remembered favorably amongst fans, so this wouldn’t come as a complete surprise.

In terms of the script, America Chavez actress Xochitl Gomez confirmed in July 2022 that the reshoots completely changed how Multiverse of Madness started. The original opening sequence supposedly featured Defender Strange saving America instead of betraying her and trying to steal her Multiverse-jumping powers—a slight tweak that could’ve altered the tone of the entire film.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange using his magic.
Credit: Marvel Studios

And now, Olsen is letting her thoughts known on the problematic script’s seemingly never-ending changes, calling production a “wild ride.”

Speaking with Josh Horowitz on a recent episode of the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Olsen got honest about her true feelings on the matter, saying that the nonstop stream of issues surrounding the movie’s production culminated in her decision to stop reading drafts:

Horowitz: How much did what I saw of Doctor Strange 2 resemble the initial script you saw of Doctor Strange?

Olsen: It resembled more than I thought it was going to. I mean, there were definitely moments where… there’s a point in making the movie where I just stopped reading drafts.

Credit: Marvel Studios

Despite being in the center of a frustrating cycle of rewrites as the film’s big bad, Olsen chose to “just keep my lane” despite not being overly hopeful in the process:

I was just like, ‘This is going to change again. Just keep me posted with the information I need and you guys fill in the blanks that you need. But I’ll just keep my lane…’ That one was a wild ride.

To make matters worse, Olsen confirmed what many fans believed to be true about Multiverse of Madness’ Wanda problem when she told Vanity Fair that the head writer, Michael Waldron, hadn’t seen WandaVision prior to penning the script.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange
Credit: Marvel Studios

The actress tried to defend this by saying that WandaVision “wasn’t finished yet” by the time Waldron began writing, saying:

It’s a similar arc in ‘Multiverse of Madness’ that it is in ‘WandaVision.’ There could be parallel stories being told there of dealing with grief and loss. Well, I proposed that to the writers who wrote ‘Multiverse of Madness?’ I said, ‘Do you know what we’re doing in ‘WandaVision’? Have you seen it?’ And no, they had not seen it ’cause it wasn’t finished yet.

Zombie Doctor Strange using his magic in Doctor Strange 2
Credit: Marvel Studios

As a result, the MCU alum explained that she had to “attack the same themes” from the Disney+ series in the Doctor Strange sequel and “come at it from a different point of view” so that it wasn’t redundant:

So I had to try and, I don’t know, play it differently, right? I had to attack the same themes in order for it to be interesting for me, I think, and potentially for the audience. I just had to come at it from a different point of view so that it wasn’t repetitive.

From an actress’ perspective, it’s easy to imagine that it might’ve been exhausting to channel different energies for the character of Wanda/Scarlet Witch, especially on top of dozens of script rewrites. Multiverse of Madness also featured a pretty loaded story, complete with flashy cameos and new MCU character introductions that easily could’ve overwhelmed any performer.

Wanda Maximoff in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Credit: Marvel Studios

Thankfully, Olsen’s talent prevailed, and her portrayal of Wanda was undoubtedly a highlight of the movie for critics and fans. While the character’s future in the franchise remains uncertain, hopefully, if she does return, she won’t be affected by similar script changes. 

What do you think of Elizabeth Olsen’s recent comments about the behind-the-scenes drama while filming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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