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The biggest Avengers twist so far might’ve lost Marvel its director for a key MCU Phase 4 movie

Published Jan 26th, 2020 2:39PM EST
MCU Phase 4 Timeline
Image: Marvel

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe will resume in May, when Black Widow launches, a film that could set up an amazing storyline, according to recent leaks from sources who’ve supposedly seen the film. But Black Widow might not even deliver the biggest Avengers plot twist in Phase 4, as there’s a different movie that could do that.

I’ve explained quite a few times that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness appears to be the most important film of the next phase. Marvel already confirmed its connections with the WandaVision and Loki TV series, and revealed the film will introduce a hero we never expected. Separately, rumors have claimed Multiverse would bring us our first taste of mutants, with Deadpool and Wolverine supposed to make cameos. Rumors also said that Namor and Miss America will show up in the film, and claimed that the film could deliver a massive, unexpected twist. That plot detail might be why Scott Derrickson, who directed the first Strange movie, and Marvel decided to part ways. Mind you, some huge spoilers follow below, assuming, of course, the leaks pan out.

Any rumors, whether it’s about the MCU, the PS5, or the iPhone 12, should be taken with a grain of salt, so don’t get too excited, or too disappointed, by what follows next. But two distinct people took to 4chan in the past few days (via Bounding Into Comics) to explain what went wrong between Derrickson and Marvel.

The first, more detailed thread explains that both work ethics matters and creative differences convinced the director to abandon the project. He’ll still produce the film, though. Derrickson apparently wanted to kill off Rachel McAdams’s Christine Palmer and Benedict Wong’s Wong characters early in the movie and destroy the cloak of levitation as well. Kevin Feige and co. weren’t having it.

Scarlet Witch, however, is apparently what annoyed Derrickson most. Feige wants the formidable Avenger to become the villain of Strange 2, something we’ve heard of before, whereas Derrickson wanted Nightmare to be the villain. Here’s that full leak (emphasis ours):

I don’t really know where else to post this because I don’t want to lose my job.

Derrickson has been a problem since he started breaking the story for Strange 2. He refused to meet deadlines and was constantly coming up with excuses. He frequently blamed Disney even though they were being very accommodating to him.

The only reason he was ever signed on to direct was because Kevin Feige went to bat for him. Feige stood by him the whole way, trying to meld his vision of the movie with where the MCU is going.

Derrickson wanted to kill Rachel McAdams in a horror movie cold open. He also planned to kill Wong, destroy the cloak of levitation, and pack the movie full of jump scares. He was basically going to treat the entire supporting cast he himself introduced like the Warriors Three in Ragnarok.

Needless to say, there’s a lot that didn’t work with that vision. Wong isn’t going anywhere, and the higher-ups were adamant about that.

Aside from his bad attitude and refusal to hit deadlines, the straw that broke the camel’s back was Scarlett Witch. Feige has huge plans for the character, and Wandavision is setting them all up. Feige sees her as the main villain of the picture and thinks her arc is the most important. Derrickson really wanted Nightmare to be the driving force and to lean into the horror he was wreaking on Strange’s life.

One heated argument ended with Derrickson yelling “why don’t you just call the movie Scarlett Witch then!” And hanging up on Feige.

After cooler heads prevailed, Derrickson came back, hat in hand, to apologize and request to be let off the project. The request was obviously granted, and here we are. I have no idea who is going to replace him. People seem to be in a panic around here, but I’m also hearing that Feige/Disney already has someone in mind that they’ve been eyeing a long time. The name I’ve heard around the office is Darren Lyn Bousman but take that with huge amounts of salt.

The claim that Bousman might direct the Strange sequel is also something we can’t verify at this time.

Separately, a different 4chan leaker said in a much shorter post that it was Namor’s inclusion in the plot that became the tipping point that forced Derrickson to drop out of the film:

Rumor has it that the tipping point that caused Scott Derrickson to drop out of the movie were last-minute script revisions to include Namor now that Marvel Studios has regained the full rights. Derrickson wanted more time to work on the new script, while Marvel Studios was set on the May start date.

Kevin Feige did tease that the movie would feature the introduction of an “unexpected” character in a way that would actually make a lot of sense, and Derrickson recently posted an image of Doctor Strange drowning with Namor in the background, probably a reference to the behind-the-scenes drama going on.

We’ve heard rumors that say Namor might appear in Strange 2, just as we’ve heard that he could be the villain of Black Panther 2, a movie that already has a 2022 premiere date. More recent reports say Marvel got back the full rights for Hulk and Namor, suggesting the latter wouldn’t get a standalone movie, but could be used in various projects. Again, these are just rumors and speculations, but they’re interesting nonetheless.

Strange 2 should start shooting soon, as it’s set to premiere on May 7th, 2021. Marvel does have to find a director first.

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.

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