Doctor Strange was cut from WandaVision to focus just on Wanda and her story

Marvel and DisneyPlus came out swinging at the beginning of the year when they released WandaVision. Wanda’s transition to the Scarlet Witch in WandaVision was some of the best writing Marvel has done, making Marvel a major contender on the small screen. WandaVision also served as a lead in to Scarlet Witch’s appearance in the upcoming Doctor Strange movie. However, Kevin Feige just admitted that Doctor Strange was supposed to make an appearance in WandaVision but that those plans were scrapped. Below are a few highlights from an interview Feige did with Rolling Stone:

“Some people might say, ‘Oh, it would’ve been so cool to see Dr. Strange,’” says Feige. “But it would have taken away from Wanda, which is what we didn’t want to do. We didn’t want the end of the show to be commoditized to go to the next movie — here’s the white guy, ‘Let me show you how power works.’” That meant the Dr. Strange movie, too, had to be rewritten. In the end, Feige says, Marvel’s process is “a wonderful combination of very dedicated coordination, and chaos. Chaos magic.” At one point, back when Dr. Strange was supposed to be part of the story, the in-universe commercials were going to be messages from Strange to Wanda, and there was also talk of having Cumberbatch appear in one of the ads, head writer Jac Schaeffer says.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth Olsen is pushing back on criticism that Wanda got off too easy by flying away without punishment after she forced an entire town of people into her sitcom fantasy world. “She had to get away before the people who have to hold her accountable got there,” she says. “And where she went is a place that no one could find her. Because she knows that she is going to be held accountable, and I think she has a tremendous amount of guilt.”

[From Rolling Stone]

Us Cumberbitches are not amused. How dare Marvel cut Benedict Cumberbatch out of WandaVision? But on a serious note, I am irritated that this just came because now I can’t stop thinking about how Doctor Strange factored into that last episode. It also all makes sense that Doctor Strange was cut because, despite loving that last episode, there did feel like something was missing from it. I know a lot of people felt that Wanda got off easy for what she did in that town but technically everything was done under emotional distress. She didn’t really know what she was doing and she was heartbroken. Wanda losing Vision made that last episode feel so heavy and sad so I wonder if Doctor Strange would have added some levity or hope. I am excited about the upcoming Doctor Strange movie and I am definitely looking forward to how Scarlet Witch plays into the Universe of Madness. I just know there will be a lot of magic, chaos, and great one liners. Now I wanna go rewatch WandaVision, for research purposes obviously.


photos credit: Marvel and via Instagram

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20 Responses to “Doctor Strange was cut from WandaVision to focus just on Wanda and her story”

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  1. Becks1 says:

    Oh I didn’t realize she’s going to be in the next Dr. Strange movie. I’m actually glad they didn’t add him into the series, I think it kept it focused on Wanda and her pain and her journey. WandaVision really was just so well done, whether you’re a Marvel fan or not, it was a great series.

    • Lightpurple says:

      Yes, back at ComicCon in 2019 when they announced the slate of films and TV shows planned through 2022, they announced that she would appear in Dr Strange Multiverse of Madness and brought her and Cumberbatch on stage together

    • Merricat says:

      Agreed. After a brilliant season of work from Elizabeth and Paul, it would’ve been kind of horrible to bring Cumby in at the last minute to inhale the entire spotlight.

    • Myra says:

      Wandavision was such a great portrayal of grief that Doctor Strange would have distracted from her story. I’m sure there will be repercussions for her in the next movie, but that’s another chapter. This particular piece was so well done. Best line: “But what is grief, if not love persevering” *sobs quietly* It’s also what lead me to actually watch the entire collection of Marvel movies for the first time.

  2. Liane says:

    I loved WandaVision as it stands, but I did wonder why Dr. Strange didn’t sense the magic like Agnes did. It seemed like a major flaw in the story that the most powerful sorcerer on Earth didn’t notice something was amiss and come to do something about it. It helps to know it was a creative decision, but I hope when the movie comes out, they have an explanation for him not being around.

    • Christine says:

      My theory is that he knew her magic was unstable which is why he would try to reach her/make her remember the truth through commercials rather than directly interfere. I also read at one point that the upcoming Loki show will touch on this as well since he’ll be dealing with the TVA, so that show may be the connector.

  3. Cj says:

    Tbh the last couple episodes felt rushed with Agatha and the whole explanation of how things happened. I’d have liked that over a few episodes the way they took about 4 to lay the groundwork of the whole tv show thing.

    But I’m glad dr strange wasn’t in it. I’m glad it wasn’t white man shows up to save the day, and she had to fix her own problem alone, make the choice to accept the grief and come into her power independently. And I hope later on in the verse we get to see some way she is making amends to that town and the people to address what she put them through. (Like how Randall Park’s character got a fab magic trick arc from ant-man that even paid off with those cuffs!)

    It’s the little things. I love dr strange but it’s nice that wandavision stayed entirely on Wanda. She was the hero and in many ways the villain, and she didn’t need someone to save her.

    That said, it makes those weird commercials make a lot more sense! And I wouldn’t have minded getting some dr strange in there as a cameo lol. Make us wait for it to pay off in his movie!

    • TeamAwesome says:

      There were supposed to be more episodes, but they had to trim down because of COVID.

    • ReginaGeorge says:

      Right? I chalked some of it up to the pandemic and people not being able to travel to be on set, etc, but the last few episodes did feel very anti-climactic to me. Dr Strange should have sensed the chaos magic and I kept waiting for him to appear in the finale. I wish they had. I loved WV but I feel like the ending was meh. If he was supposed to be the one sending the commercials as a sort of code/sign to her, it would have made better sense.

  4. Sofia says:

    I’ll admit that I did want BC to show up but now I am kinda glad he didn’t. This was Wanda’s story and how she dealt with grief. Having Strange show up would have been cool but it would have taken away from Wanda IMO.

  5. North of Boston says:

    I agree with Liane that one thing that was niggling at me was how the Sorcerer Supreme would not notice or react to such powerful/chaos magic at play one state over from his HQ. I mean if Agnes picked up on it, why wouldn’t Dr Strange?

    But I’m OK with him not appearing in the show, and with how it ended, and its centering itself on Wanda – recognizing and working through her trauma, grief, and understanding her true powers more.

    My guess is when Wandavision was being developed, Marvel thought it would be an interesting little show, centered around a couple of secondary characters, but that it would need some shoring up by one of the ‘big guns’ so bringing in Dr Strange and teeing up the next film made sense on paper. Originally FATWS was supposed to be the big first Marvel Disney+ original series with Wandavision following

    But then a) the pandemic happened and production schedules got shifted with Wandavision becoming the lead off Instead of FATWS, b) I think they realized what a powerful story they had with WV without any shoring up * and c) Cumberbatch was quarantined in New Zealand after his Jane Campion film paused production there. And they decided WV could stand on its own.

    Bettany’s jokes about ‘a special actor I’ve always wanted to work with’ (meaning himself) fueled speculation about a cameo … and Dr Strange appearing seemed to follow the story they were telling especially with Dr Strange 2 on the horizon, but the story didn’t need him.

    * I really enjoyed Wandavision and thought it was very well done, but as with FATWS it felt like something in the last 1-2 episodes was rushed, like elements/characters were quickly tied up and dispatched (even though they weren’t central figures, it would have added to the story- Darcy, Monica, Jimmy, whatever EC’s character was))

    • ReginaGeorge says:

      I felt the same way about both WV and FatWS feeling rushed. WV was having issues due to travel restrictions and Covid, so I can understand that better. FatWS had longer episode running times, but still, 6 episodes? And they had been done filming before WV.

  6. MellyMel says:

    I assumed he would show up in the last episode (post-credit scene to be exact) just cause it made sense, especially since she’s going to be in his next movie. I was kind of disappointed he didn’t, but I agree it did keep the whole episode on her and her emotions, which the show was essentially about. I can’t wait for Universe of Madness so we get more Wanda.

  7. chimes@midnight says:

    I DO think she got off light for the lifelong damage those people in the town, including children, will have. Like, it’s cool, go live in the woods.

    BUT, I also think that was done purposefully, because we as the audience didn’t really want her sent to the Raft or whatever. The show on one layer works as a beautiful metaphor for grief, but it also literally took us on a villain’s journey from normal person / good guy to someone who will leave great harm in their wake. It showed us their perspective and got us on their side for future endeavors more effectively than any tragic backstory or hot guy with a British accent (looking at Loki here) ever could. We watched her mentally enslave people and keep parents from their children, and we are *still* on her side.

  8. Oliphant says:

    In the same vein, I really hope the dr strange movie isn’t all about Wanda, I find the character quite insipid although maybe it’s the actress I dislike. Also hoping dr strange will be more of a horror as has been rumoured!

  9. Oh_Hey says:

    I kept expecting Wanda to tell the government that she’d go with them peacefully but only if they took her to Dr. Strange. The show was ripe for a scene with him and now I know why – because it was there and they cut it.
    I get that the women in marvel get short shrift and this puts Wanda in the front by herself but they shouldn’t have written it to include strange then just cut the scenes. It felt off.

  10. Rapunzel says:

    Wanda’s character was totally destroyed in Wandavision, imo, and will need serious work to redeem for me. She tortured a town full of people for weeks and at the end? She learned nothing. She not only got off to live in the woods… she is reading the darkhold, the book of the dammed, like a freaking idiot. She should know better and to me, it harmed the show that Wanda didn’t go seek out Dr. Stange to help her get control.

    I loved it up until it left Wanda hanging in that “on her way to darker behavior” moment. They keep yo-yoing her between stable and unstable and she needed to pick a lane. The five stages of grief were a huge part of the show, and at the last minute, they undercut her reaching acceptance. I hope she gets there in the next Dr. Strange movie.

  11. Case says:

    I feel like he could’ve been in it briefly without distracting from Wanda’s overall journey. I get the point of not wanting to insert a man to “show her how this works,” but I feel like he could’ve been included without that happening? It would’ve been a great way to tie the show into the Doctor Strange film that Wanda will be part of, so I don’t love the decision to cut him. I adored Wandavision but did think there was *something* missing. Maybe this was it.

  12. Normades says:

    I think they underestimated that a female led psychological drama could be such a hit and thought they had to bring in the big guns (dr. Strange) but then it became a huge hit and they saw they didn’t need him after all.

    I would have loved more Darcy and Woo and am holding out for a series with those two.

  13. Faye G says:

    I am a fan of the show and I love that Marvel placed a female front and center in a very emotional psychological journey. I think the Doctor Strange addition could have taken away from that, especially considering the shows relatively short run time.

    Still, I can’t help but feel that Elizabeth Olsen was miscast in the role of Wanda. She’s decent at light comedy and soap opera -style emotionality, but something about her performance was missing for me. She’s not a bad actress per se but her range seems limited somehow. But I know this is Marvel and not Masterpiece theater so oh, well. I’m looking forward to the new Doctor Strange movie, that’s for sure!