One of the best fights in Doctor Strange 2 almost didn’t happen

May 15th, 2022 at 1:49 PM
Doctor Strange 2 Super Bowl Trailer

Several weeks before the Spider-Man: No Way Home premiere, Marvel shocked fans with news of MCU release date delays. It started with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which got bumped to early May 2022. Soon after that, we learned of all the Doctor Strange 2 reshoots that were needed, with rumors saying Marvel wanted to fix the story and add more cameos.

Fast-forward to mid-May, and we’re learning more secrets about the movie now that it’s out. Like the fact that a brilliant fight scene in Doctor Strange 2 was from a reshoot session, so it wasn’t even originally in the movie.

If you haven’t seen Multiverse of Madness, you should know that big spoilers will follow below.

Doctor Strange 2 fight scenes

A big Doctor Strange 2 leak that preceded the reshoots mentioned many of the big fight scenes in the movie. And Sam Raimi definitely delivered.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a fast-paced MCU movie from start to end. It’s just over two hours long, but Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) keep running around, trying to evade the film’s villain. That’s Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen), a heartbreaking revelation that becomes apparent early in the movie.

This unexpected confrontation leads to several fantastic fight sequences.

The movie starts with a fight sequence featuring Defender Strange. He’s a variant from a different reality, who battles against one of Wanda’s demons. After that, the fighting moves to the primary MCU reality. And we get the Gargantos battle featuring Doctor Strange and Wong (Benedict Wong).

Wong (Benedict Wong) battling Gargantos in Doctor Strange 2 trailer 2. Image source: Marvel Studios

We then have the Kamar-Taj battle, where Wanda annihilates the sorcerers. The action moves to a different reality, as Strange and America escape. But Wanda follows them by taking over the body of one of her variants. And it’s in that universe where Wanda ends up killing most of the Illuminati members who oppose her.

The movie ends with another Strange vs. Wanda battle where Chavez manages to make Wanda see who she has become. But sandwiched in between the Illuminati and the final battle, there’s a brilliant fight scene that pits Doctor Strange against Sinister Strange.

We knew this face-off was inevitable given the massive Doctor Strange 2 plot leaks out there. But it turns out that Marvel made big changes to the confrontation during reshoots, where it went for an exciting new approach.

Zombie Strange in Doctor Strange 2 trailer 2. Image source: Marvel Studios

The reshoot’s musical surprise

It’s unclear why Doctor Strange attacks the evil version of himself with music, as the film isn’t a musical. And this hero isn’t known for using music in his magic. But the ensuing sequence is certainly a standout feature for Doctor Strange 2.

Sinister Strange is quick to react to the musical attack, fighting the primary Doctor Strange in kind. But it’s the good Strange who ends up winning the musical battle.

Composer Danny Elfman is responsible for the Doctor Strange 2 soundtrack, and he revealed to Fandom that the music battle came during Doctor Strange 2 reshoots.

“The musical battle was very late in the game, and Sam [Raimi] was returning to England to shoot a second time,” Elfman recalled.

Evil Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in Multiverse of Madness trailer. Image source: Marvel Studios

“He says, ‘I’ve got this idea,’ and he’s describing it to me. And I said, ‘Sam, I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.’ And he’s like, ‘Don’t worry, don’t worry, you’ll see it, you’ll see.’ And he comes back, and I look at it, and it’s like, ‘Oh, I get it! You were being literal!’ That was all done after the fact because they’d already shot it. And they were well into creating the effects, and I just had to follow it and try to make it feel like they were hearing music, even though they weren’t. There was a lot of experimentation in how that would work.”

11th-hour edits

Furthermore, the composer revealed that the final score for the music scene came down to the wire, as the music had to be combined with the special effects.

“It was a little bit unclear in the sense that I was writing music, knowing that there are areas where there’d be all these effects, but not quite sure,” the composer said. “And it was really at the very end of the 11th hour because I’d written something, and at that point, I still had several themes from different composers flying at each other.”

Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) performing a spell with a book open on the ground. Image source: Marvel Studios

Elfman continued, “I got a call from Kevin Feige, with Sam on the line on a Zoom, saying, ‘One more pass, Danny. We have 48 hours left in this production. Can you do it? Bach versus Beethoven?’ And I said, ‘Of course! It’s impossible! Yes, I can do it!’ And then the final version of condensing down to really just Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony coming towards Bach’s ‘Toccata and Fugue,’ returning and condensing it that extra bit. It really just happened at the very, very last second and was dubbed into the movie on the last day of the dub.”

We can’t help but wonder what else the Doctor Strange 2 reshoots changed in the script. But the musical battle between the two Strange variants is certainly a win for the film.


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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 closely follows the events in 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.