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Doctor Strange 2 release is delayed, but this leak says it’s good news

Published Nov 30th, 2021 2:00PM EST
Doctor Strange 2 Release
Image: Sony and Marvel

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Right on the eve of the Eternals red carpet premiere, we learned that Disney delayed many MCU movies, pushing back releases by several months. The surprise delay impacted all of next year’s MCU movies. That includes the highly anticipated Doctor Strange 2 release delay. Kevin Feige explained it during interviews at the premiere, saying it’s all because of production issues. He said we’d have to wait a few months longer for the MCU movies to come out, without mentioning distribution changes or the pandemic. Earlier reports did say that Disney won’t change the release approach by returning to a day-and-date model that it tried with Black Widow.

But then a rumor surfaced, revealing the potential reason why Marvel found itself having to delay Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and all of next year’s MCU stories. If this report is accurate, then Marvel fans should be thrilled about the Doctor Strange 2 delay. Beware, a multiverse of spoilers follows below.

The many Multiverse of Madness leaks

Marvel shot most of Doctor Strange 2 in early 2021, with reshoots taking place over the summer. The film originally had a March 25th, 2022 release date, or three months after the Spider-Man: No Way Home premiere. Both movies are multiverse adventures that might be directly connected. Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) appears in both of them.

With all that in mind, we weren’t surprised to see Multiverse of Madness plot leaks pick up steam in recent weeks. We even saw a full plot leak that revealed everything about the film. We believe we know who the main villain is, how the action unfolds, and how the movie ends. The leak also mentioned most of the big cameos.

We won’t rehash any of those huge spoilers now. But the point is that the leaks made more sense than any 2020 Doctor Strange 2 leaks for the reasons above. The movie is already in post-production ahead of its release, so details have been finalized.

This brings us to the brand new rumor that explains why Marvel decided to push back Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Again, I’ll mention that some big spoilers will follow below.

Spider-Man: No Way Home Trailer
Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) in the first Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer. Image source: Sony

The Dr. Strange 2 release delay

The pandemic and box office performance are constant worries for Disney and Marvel. But these might not be the most significant reasons to push back the entire slate of 2022 MCU movies. Again, when Marvel has to delay an MCU title, this impacts all MCU Phase 4 release plans because all these projects are interconnected.

According to well-informed YouTuber Grace Randolph, test audiences identified story issues with No Way Home and Doctor Strange 2 that might need fixing.

Randolph explained that she’s hearing both of them are “kitchen sink” movies. Test audiences felt both stories needed more work. It might be too late for Spider-Man, but the YouTuber notes that the Sony movie could see its own delay. On top of that, both movies are “down to the wire” when it comes to visual effects. And Marvel is working with “very tight and stressful deadlines.”

Marvel still has time to fix the Doctor Strange 2 story. Randolph said that Marvel is giving Multiverse of Madness extensive reshoots. It’s not just to fix the story problems, “but to add a lot more characters.” Execs at Marvel reportedly felt they were “too light on Easter eggs to please fans. This is supposed to be the Multiverse of Madness, not the Multiverse of Meh.”

Marvel Studios
Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) in a scene from Avengers: Infinity War. Image source: Marvel Studios

The amazing Doctor Strange 2 cameos

Back in early 2020, we heard all sorts of crazy Doctor Strange 2 rumors. This was well before the film’s release, at a point in time where Marvel hadn’t even started shooting it. Those rumors offered wild cameo claims that included Deadpool, Wolverine and other X-Men, and an Iron Man version.

The late 2021 cameo rumors are quite different for the reasons we’ve explained above. Marvel completed most of the film, so people have had access to current information. The leaks I mentioned before gave us a few exciting cameos for the film, including a prominent X-Men member from the Fox universe who might lead the Illuminati in the MCU.

Without naming names, Randolph says that her sources have confirmed some of the leaks going around. “There are some pretty cool characters that are going to show up as part of the Illuminati,” she said.

The YouTuber added that Multiverse of Madness will still play like a Doctor Strange movie rather than an Avengers crossover. But Marvel apparently decided that it needs more characters, so it’s putting them in. In turn, the reshoots will delay post-production work. And that’s supposedly why the Doctor Strange 2 release was delayed.

Other big-time cameos

There has been so much speculation about cameos in the upcoming MCU films. Since Eternals has come out, we are now awaiting Spider-Man: No Way Home as the next film. It has long been speculated that the multiverse allows us to see the Spider-Men from the most recent Spider-Man franchises starring Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. They could be alongside Tom Holland.

Recently, it’s possible that photos from the set have leaked to show that is the case. Surprise cameos could also include Matt Murdock aka Daredevil. We already know that Doc Ock (Alfred Molina) will be in the film, as he was featured in the first trailer. The second trailer came out and confirmed so much of what we already thought. All of the villains we discussed are seen in that breakdown.

Loki and Sylvie in the season finale of Loki. Image source: Marvel Studios

What about Loki?

Speaking of exciting cameos, Murphy’s Multiverse updated its post about the MCU Phase 4 future with the new release date. The Doctor Strange 2 section still mentions Loki (Tom Hiddleston) as one of the film’s surprise cameos. We’ve always expected to see Loki in the movie, but the detailed plot leak we recently saw made no mention of this character. Loki is partly responsible for the multiverse mess, which is something that Strange doesn’t know yet. Randolph makes no mention of the God of Mischief, however. And Murphy’s post isn’t enough to confirm Hiddleston’s involvement in the project.

Finally, there’s one other reason to consider when looking at this movie’s release schedule. Marvel needs time to promote it. Because of its ties with Spider-Man: No Way Home, Marvel might not be able to release a real trailer before the Spider-Man movie opens in theaters. This would be done to avoid spoiling any No Way Home secrets.

Check out the full YouTube clip below for more on Randolph’s rumors.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.