Doctor Strange has fought mystical beings in dark dimensions and faced the might of Thanos but now faces his most potent threat: reshoots.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the Benedict Cumberbatch-starring sequel to Marvel Studios’ 2016 installment, has been prescribed a major new shoot.
In what sources describe as being “significant,” the new shoot, taking place in Los Angeles, is both “additional photography” and “reshoots.”
How significant? Insiders say that Cumberbatch and company are undertaking six weeks of shooting, if not more, working six days a week. Sam Raimi remains as helmer, and Loki head writer Michael Waldron is still on board writing the new material. It is unclear what actors in addition to Cumberbatch are involved. The crew involved is familiar with the Marvel method and worked on recent pickups for the upcoming Spider-Man: No Way Home and additional shooting for next year’s Oscar Isaac series, Moon Knight.
One source played down the severity of the shoot: “Even while in the middle of production, Marvel is scheduling you for more shooting,” adding that the size and complexity of Marvel movies necessitate additional photography.
One insider scoffed at the size and scope: “We’ve had bigger reshoots on other MCU movies.”
However, other sources have their eyebrows raised at the length. “They’re here until the end of the year. That’s like a whole other movie,” said one.
Several factors appear to be driving the shoot. One insider said about two weeks are dedicated to principal photography that was held over from the initial shoot that took place in the U.K. due to what is described as actor availability issues. The insider played down concerns that the reshoots were related to retooling the story.
Another reason for the shoot concerns catching up on production slowdowns from COVID-related matters that hit the initial U.K. production. It was those slowdowns that reared their head when they unexpectedly affected the Marvel release schedule in October.
On Oct. 18, Marvel and Disney announced the pushing back of Multiverse of Madness from March 25, 2022, to May 6, 2022. Thor: Love and Thunder, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, The Marvels and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania hopscotched backward into new dates as well.
First announced at Comic-Con in 2019, Multiverse of Madness is an ambitious project for Marvel, with one aspect dealing with alternate versions of fan-favorite superheroes, much in the way that the recent Disney+ series What if …? reimagined Marvel mainstays.
The movie has had its fair share of challenges. Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson had co-written a script and was due to direct when creative differences led to a parting of ways in January 2020. Raimi and Waldron were then brought on to, as one source says, create a whole new movie, on an accelerated timetable to boot.
Multiverse of Madness started production in the U.K. in November 2020 but paused in January 2021 due to a worsening pandemic. It then restarted and ostensibly wrapped in the spring.
Still, despite story concerns apparently playing a minimal part in the new shoot, it is evident that working in the multiverse requires Reed Richards-level thinking. Half the time, a Marvel movie has to tie to past movies while setting up future movies, and increasingly, TV series.
Despite the major shoot underway, the mood with cast and crew is not downbeat. “There is a pervasive enthusiasm,” one source described.
On Thursday, Cumberbatch spoke about the reshoots on Jimmy Kimmel Live, where he was asked if he knew what the reshoots were going to be.
“Like everything with Marvel, it comes in fresh, pretty much, most mornings,” Cumberbatch said with a laugh when questioned. “It’s really exciting and the film is shaping up to be something special.”