Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is one of the most hotly anticipated Marvel Phase Four films. Much of this is due to the connections that have been made with 2021’s Marvel Disney+ exclusive shows WandaVision and Loki. Now, although the film is set for a March 2022 release, one of its stars may have just confirmed that Doctor Strange is undergoing additional work.
Benedict Wong, the actor who plays Doctor Stephen Strange’s friend and close ally Wong in MCU films such as the Sorcerer Supreme’s own films, as well as in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, recently talked with Collider about the upcoming Marvel Phase Four films.
— Collider (@Collider) July 22, 2021
Benedict Wong was asked about his current projects and roles in two upcoming Phase Four Marvel Cinematic Universe movies.
In the trailer for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, it was revealed that Wong would be part of the cast, through a scene where the sorcerer faces what appears to be a new version of the Hulk’s nemesis, the Abomination.
The actor first expresses his enthusiasm at working with a mostly Asian cast for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. As he states in the interview:
It's the Asians Assemble! To have Tony Leung, Awkwafina, Ronny Chieng, Meng'er, and Fala Chen, it feels very, very exciting.
Later, as the discussion moves to the topic of the Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness film, the actor talked about his perception with Sam Raimi helming the project:
It's a cracking script. And now, having Sam Raimi involved has been a really wonderful experience.
As the actor further discussed the experience shooting the Doctor Strange sequel, Wong mentions when the production is set to finish:
I like throwing alts, and he likes them, so we just have a bit of a laugh. I just throw anything at the wall, and sometimes it will fall down and sometimes it'll stick. It's amazing, the creative process. As long as you're not afraid to throw something at the wall, it might be right or it might be wrong, but we're all just trying to make something here. We're having a lot of fun. We're finishing that off in September, so we're nearly there.
This is interesting to note as Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness had already experienced delays in production. As with a number of films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Coronavirus pandemic led to delays of varying lengths. However, it was confirmed that the principal photography wrapped up in April, earlier this year.
Possible Raimi pickups and reshoots
Wong’s statement that the production is still ongoing, with additional filming being done until September, is likely in reference to unannounced pickups and reshoots. This is different from post-production which largely involves special effects and editing.
Pickups and reshoots have a projected schedule, but are often made when initial photography requires additional scenes or revisions. In extreme cases, such as from the DCEU Justice League film where Joss Whedon took over for Zack Snyder, reshoots would alter much of the film in such a way that the original vision and scenes would greatly differ. Thus, when Snyder returned to finish the original version, the comparisons can be extremely apparent.
On that note, Raimi is one of the more detail-oriented directors with a reputation for doing multiple takes of the same scene to get it just right. For instance, one cafeteria scene in Spider-Man (2002) where Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) catches Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) and her tray of food required 156 takes before the director was satisfied. As this was still done with mostly practical effects and stunt work, it took considerable effort and patience. The payoff, however, can be worth it, as the Spider-Man scene still holds up as one of the highlights of the film.
If pickups and reshoots for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness are still going until September, it is likely that Raimi is adding and streamlining scenes from the principal photography back in April. Perhaps this is due to the events in WandaVision and Loki that were only revealed after the shows had concluded? Though, hopefully, it will have no further effect on the scheduled release date of the Marvel superhero sequel.
Produced by Marvel Studios and Disney Pictures, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is scheduled for a release date of September 3, 2021. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is projected for release on March 25, 2021.