While the coronavirus shutdown has put many Hollywood productions in limbo, leading to potential release date delays for big movies like The Batman and The Matrix 4, Marvel Studios is hopeful that their planned sequel Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will begin filming on schedule. In a report from Variety on the state of multiple productions under delay right now, they note that Doctor Strange 2 is still on track to begin filming in June—when it planned to start production all along. Reportedly pre-production on the movie has continued despite the coronavirus shutdown, with everyone working from home.
That presumably includes Sam Raimi, who entered negotiations to take over as director of the movie following the exit of Scott Derrickson, who helmed the first Doctor Strange but departed due to creative differences.
Michael Waldron, who is serving as head writer on Marvel’s Disney+ series Loki, recently signed on to rewrite the script for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. We know the film will find Elizabeth Olsen co-starring alongside Benedict Cumberbatch as Scarlet Witch, with the idea being that Olsen’s Disney+ series WandaVision ties directly into the story Doctor Strange 2 is telling.
Indeed, it’s not a surprise that Marvel would be focused on trying to keep things running as smoothly as possible during this shutdown. Their meticulously crafted Marvel Cinematic Universe plays out in a very specific order, so it’s not like Doctor Strange 2 can be delayed significantly if the movie’s story is crucially intertwine with the release of WandaVision, which is scheduled to be released on Disney+ later this year.
Filming on Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the Marvel movie that will be released right before Doctor Strange 2, has been suspended in Australia over coronavirus concerns and the May release of Black Widow has now been postponed. No word on how Eternals, Marvel’s November 2020 release, has been impacted, but if this shutdown lasts much longer the lingering post-production work needed to finish that movie may pose a problem re: hitting that release date.
For now, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is scheduled to hit theaters on May 7, 2021.