Marvel superheroes across the TV-movie spectrum may not join forces anytime soon, but that isn’t stopping a few team-ups behind the camera. Case in point. a notable Iron Fist star has Doctor Strange himself to thank for the gig, as Benedict Cumberbatch put in a good word.
While Marvel has a reputation for valuing continuity on both sides of the camera, it’s easy to forget that the first two phases of Marvel movies were essentially put together by hired guns. The early days of the Marvel Cinematic Universe were populated by directors like Alan Taylor, Kenneth Branagh, Joe Johnston, and Shane Black, one-and-done filmmakers who were either not invited or not inclined to go a second round with the studio.
It doesn’t matter if you’re some regular schmo or the Asgardian God of Thunder, living by yourself can get a little lonely. Thank Odin for Darryl, then, the milquetoast desk-jockey roommate of the Avengers’ resident hammer-thrower Thor. We first met the mild-mannered pencil-pusher in a short called “Team Thor,” directed by upcoming Ragnarok helmer Taika Waititi and bundled as an extra with the Captain America: Civil War home media release. That amusing glimpse into the tensions between the two cohabitants was a fan favorite, not to mention a brief preview of the comic sensibility that What We Do in the Shadows (another film about roommates sniping at one another) director Waititi would bring to the Marvel universe.
With the release of Doctor Strange on home video just around the corner, fans are getting an early look at some of the behind-the-scenes features that will accompany the film on DVD and Blu-ray. Just yesterday, for example, Marvel released some of the best best set jokes on the film’s gag reel, showing that even respected Shakespearean actors like Benedict Cumberbatch aren’t above flubbing the occasional line. For die-hard fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, these features are a great peek at how the sausage gets made.
When you get right down to it, there’s something delightfully surreal about watching our generation’s best actors tie themselves to the ceiling and spout metaphysical gibberish at the camera. Doctor Strange may not be my personal favorite superhero movie, but it’s undeniably the one with my favorite cast; Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Mads Mikkelsen would represent an embarrassment of riches for any movie, let alone one focused on time travel and temperamental capes.
Doctor Strange is the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to feature the kind of mind-bending magic absent from most other films in the Avengers series. The Thor movies tend to demur and call their magic science, but Doctor Strange is the Sorcerer Supreme, and as such has powers so great they allow him to bend time and space. The bad news is his enemies can do the same, not to mention summon demons from other dimensions that require blood sacrifices.
Because Doctor Strange is in the MCU, and because the good Doctor himself will be showing up during the Infinity War two-parter, and because we need to get all those Infinity Stones out in the open before the movie hits or it’ll just be a mess of confusion right out the gate, Doctor Strange needed to introduce the Time Stone. But apparently, according to director Scott Derrickson, the Time Stone didn’t actually figure into the plot of the movie at all until very late in the drafting process.
Sometimes humor doesn’t come from jokes, but perspective. And when you’re making one superhero movie after another in the same cinematic universe, it can be helpful to get an outsider’s two cents. That’s what Marvel did when they brought on Community creator Dan Harmon to help with some last-minute script work on Doctor Strange. Now the film’s director Scott Derrickson has revealed what exactly Harmon’s contributions were.
When we talk about blockbuster movies with enormous casts, we often spend our time talking about the directors or the screenwriters or even the stunt coordinators, all of those people who help give the movie its distinct look and feel. But today I raise my glass to the behind-the-scenes administrators who help put together the budgets and shooting schedules. It can’t exactly be easy to bring together two dozen of the world’s most popular actors for one giant superhero brawl, but that is exactly what a few hard-working managers in Los Angeles are currently trying to do for Avengers: Infinity War.
In what is surely the most glorious rumor of the week, the Blu-ray details for Marvel’s Doctor Strange have apparently leaked online, and among the special features listed is perhaps the most special of all — something titled “Team Thor: Part 2,” which appears to be a follow-up to the hilarious mockumentary short that debuted at last year’s Comic-Con. Marvel isn’t releasing the Blu-ray until February 28, which means our fingers are going to be pretty stiff from all the crossing they’ll be doing until then.