brake alert: This story discusses key plot points inDoctor Strange in a multiverse of madnessIt’s currently playing in theaters. Don’t read until you see the movie.
As a graduate of “Community” and screenwriter of “Rick and Morty” Michael Waldron Definitely knows the science fiction that cycles between different genres; With “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” Waldron found a soul of affection in director Sam Raimi, who invented intermittent horror between the two genres through the “Evil Dead” trilogy.
Together, Raimi and Waldron produced one of the most memorable – and to some, most controversial – films ever made in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For wits (big spoilers start here): Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) goes all-out to the Scarlet Witch and brutally kills anyone who gets in the way of her mission to find a world where her sons from the Disney+ 2021 series “WandaVision” are still alive. It is a turning point that shocked many. Including Olsen Especially when you kill Wanda illuminatia team of superheroes from an alternate reality that includes Patrick Stewart Charles Xavier (from 20th Century Fox’s “X-Men” films), Anson Mount’s Black Bolt (from the ABC TV series “Inhumans”), and John Krasinski’s Reed Richards, the first time the Fantastic Four leader has appeared in the MCU.
In an interview with diverseWaldron says he understands why Wanda has been violently throwing some fans into the dark side. But he stands by her, pointing to Darkhold – the book of evil magic Wanda received from Agatha Harkness (Katherine Hahn) in “WandaVision” – and Wanda’s unresolved grief as a trigger for her behavior. He also talks about how Kevin Feige, president of Marvel Studios, helped lead the selection of the Illuminati, why Namor (aka Sub-Mariner) wasn’t among them, and how “star Wars“Movie He writes for Feige It features light years of difference from the “Multiverse of Madness”.
When did you know that Wanda would be the villain in this movie?
I came, Sam In February 2020. At first, we were inheriting what the previous administration was doing. Then COVID happened and our start date was pushed back six months. So I had the opportunity to start over and say, “What do we want this movie to be?” And the building block to starting over was for Wanda to be the villain all the way. This must be the story of Doctor Strange protecting Chavez’s America from Wanda. So it was there from the start, really, in what is the final release.
It seems that there was a version where Wanda was not the first villain?
Well, there was the version where she was more – and I did a previous draft where she was more of a member of the group and it got bad in the end. And I always felt like it was just a hedge. There was never a way to properly serve her fall from grace as a supporting character in the movie because there had to be a separate antagonist. We also felt we were leaving the most fun on the table for someone else. Truth be told, after she watched, tried and studied “WandaVision”, she felt it was at this point, in the possession of Darkhold, that she was ready to break badly. I got to that point where I got in the comics, and that we can believe it.
How hard is it to connect what happened in “WandaVision” to this bad spot in “Multiverse of Madness”? I’m sure you’ve seen how some fans have a hard time believing that she’s going to go evil so quickly – have you ever wished that “WandaVision” could have ended more clearly that Wanda was headed to a dark place?
No, I don’t wish WandaVision would have done anything differently. I wouldn’t change a thing about what they did. My interpretation of “WandaVision” is that she confronts her grief and abandons the people under her control, but I don’t think she necessarily resolves her grief in this show, nor do I think she resolves her anger. She might be able to say goodbye to Vision, but I think she fell in love with these kids. I think all those hanging threads are the things that Darkhold preys on when you get Darkhold from Agatha. As you can see in the last scene of “WandaVision”, that tag – the mistake our Wanda makes is that she opens Darkhold. She started reading, and I think that preys on her desire to have and have these children for real this time. Well, that’s how I got there. It made sense to me and it made sense to our teams because we built the story.
So is Wanda from Earth-616 dead now? What was that red light at the end?
I think this is up to interpretation. She introduced a kind of sacrificial act that destroyed Darkhold in every universe, and which protects Wanda in every universe from being seduced by Darkhold. Whether she is dead or not remains to be seen. I know what it means to love characters and not want them to go and hate them when they do bad things. But that’s part of the fun of watching and immersing yourself in things.
Mephisto He’s been the main villain of the MCU for over a year now. Was he playing for this movie in any way?
No. Only in jokes. Only in small portions did she do it in the book room and in the text messages I sent her [“WandaVision” head writer] Jack Schaeffer. Mephisto never played with us.
How is the Illuminati introduced in this film? Do you go to Kevin Feige and say, “I want to bring back Patrick Stewart and Anson Mount? Can we do that?”
This is kind of a combination of us asking, “Well, what if we do this?” But also, Kevin is as excited about this stuff as we are, so sometimes these thoughts come from Kevin saying, “Well, what if we get so and so? I’m going to do it! I’ll make the call!” So he’s as excited about all this stuff as any of us are. It’s a huge effort from the geeky team to see what we can put together for this team.
Where did you get this version of Professor X from? Fox movies or comics and animated series from the ’90s?
a little bit of both. I don’t know if it’s technically supposed to go into detail about these actors or characters, but I worked with that artist so I can talk about making him different, so it was a different version of him. He’s using a line from “Days of the Future Past” he tells Stephen. But also, we drew from the classic cartoon version of that character. It’s a variant that has the attributes of a bunch of different versions of these guys from across the multiverse.
Was Namur a possibility?
[We] Talk about him, because he’s definitely an original member of the Illuminati. But I think Marvel has other plans for him in the MCU. And so he didn’t find his way into this particular movie.
I’m sure you’re aware that fans have been asking John Krasinski to play Red Richards. To what extent did you participate in his selection in this part?
I’m not involved in casting, but as with all of these actors, I worked closely with him to bring this character to life with him and Sam. And especially regarding that, because that was the only character who had absolutely no real precedent in the MCU, at least. Finding out how we want this guy to be – that was so much fun. This particular character is definitely one of my favorite comic book characters.
Do you expect Krasinski to return in Fantastic Four?
It’s someone else’s question.
Well, I will ask this question: Was Wanda always supposed to kill all the Illuminati?
Yes, this was present in my first draft of the script. This was really the craziness of the multiverse for me. You introduced this superhero team that finally makes the audience feel safe, then the crimson witch disembowels them. It was a great way to get the audience off their feet. And then hopefully you’ll spend the rest of the movie terrified of Wanda and what she’s capable of.
Elizabeth Olsen told me that Wanda was originally supposed to kill more people – what did she mean by that?
Well, there were more people. [Laughing] Perhaps not necessarily in this sequence. But I spoke of it as a kind of T-1000 in that attack on Qamar Taj. It cannot be stopped. So yeah, there may be things we never really shoot, but it’s a small one-on-one fight between her and some of these witches. There was some amazing [concept] The art we never actually released.
She was instrumental in creating the Disney+ series.”lokiAnd creating the multiverse as a force within the MCU. Have you ever looked at connecting this show to this movie in any way?
If it was necessary, I think we would be. But as it was, it felt, even to me, like we had just arrived. Nothing would make me happier than to write a dialogue for Tom, Owen, or Sophia. But it seemed like this was a separate story from TVA’s remit. This may have complicated things. You know, this movie was really dealing with a lot, and that could confuse things even more. So I think we would have been fine without it.
Now that you’re done with that movie, how far along are you with the “Star Wars” movie you’re working on with Feige?
We’re finally getting into it in earnest. I mean, I write away. It’s a lot of fun. I enjoy the freedom to do something that isn’t necessarily a sequel or anything. It probably has a bit of a – it doesn’t have the collection of TV shows and movies you offer on top of it, as you did with “Doctor Strange”. So he is cute. It looks like a different exercise.
Planning to play in the Marvel Studios sandbox again?
If they have me, sure. I love working with Kevin and the whole team there. What will it be, who knows? I don’t know if I’ll try to create another show for these guys, or dive into another movie. I learned a lot about output from Sam, so now, unfortunately, I’ll probably have to try that at some point, just to see if I can put everything he taught me to use.
Finally, you have a short cameo as the best man at Kristen Palmer’s wedding – how did that happen?
Sam has just seen my talent and it can’t be ignored. We were always joking about my status in the movie. It was the middle of filming, and Sam said, “Well, you’re there.” Suddenly I’m in a makeup trailer next to Michael Stolberg. It was great. It was fun. I got to shoot with Rachel McAdams, whom I love and is very talented. Right before the first shot, she looked at me and said, “It’s Friday and I want to go home. Don’t screw this up.” I was like, I’m in the major leagues now!
This interview has been edited and condensed.
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