Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness writer Michael Waldron denies being forced to include Illuminati, opens up about reshoots

Michael Waldron, the writer of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, spoke about the Illuminati sequence and whether it was studio-mandated or had a different lineup originally.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness screenwriter Michael Waldron, who also served as the head writer and creator of the Disney+ series Loki, has spoke about the many twists and turns of the latest Marvel movie. Doctor Strange 2 debuted to mildly positive reviews last week, and featured a scene midway through that many believed was either a studio mandate or an excuse to deliver fan service.
Waldron said in interviews following the film’s release that the sequence in which Doctor Strange is introduced to the Illuminati–a panel of superheroes in charge of things in a parallel universe–was always a part of his early drafts. He also confirmed that many versions of the line-up were considered before they finalised on the one we saw in the film.
The final lineup included Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch), Reed Richards AKA Mister Fantastic (played by John Krasinski), Black Bolt (Anson Mount as the Inhuman leader), and Patrick Stewart as Professor X.
“The Illuminati was there from my very first draft. That was always there. And that was not Marvel mandated. That was me,” Waldron told Collider. “It wasn’t even in my outline. I just basically felt like my second act was boring and I was like, ‘I need some crazy shit to happen,’ so I wrote that sequence in. There were never any cameos mandated and the purpose of reshoots was never any of that. It was always, how can we clarify character? How can we strengthen these arcs? How can we make things clearer? That was the point of any reshoots or additional photography.”
Admitting that the lineup changed over time, he told IndieWire, “We couldn’t [include them] or we decided for other reasons to go in different directions, [there was] actor availability. It’s all about, what’s the right alchemy of that team? That’s a tricky scene to write, because you have to kind of build in the history and dynamics of that Illuminati team in a relatively short amount of time and keep it interesting for the audience, but ultimately focused on Strange. It’s like, what’s the most compelling version of this team that’s true to who they are in the comics, but also represents a group of folks the fans would be excited to see?”
He did, however, confirm in a Rolling Stone that no scene with Tom Cruise as Superior Iron Man was filmed and cut out, denying fan speculation. Although he admitted that he brought Cruise’s name up to Marvel in initial discussions about the project.
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Directed by Sam Raimi, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has made over $500 million worldwide and is expected to make Rs 125 crore in India by the end of the week.