WLE attended the virtual press conference for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on Sunday, May 1, 2022. Representing the film was Benedict Cumberbatch (Stephen Strange), Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff) Benedict Wong (Wong), Xochitl Gomez (America Chavez), Sam Raimi (Director), Michael Waldron (Screenwriter), and Kevin Feige (Executive Producer). Prior to the press conference, we as the press were invited to see the first 15 minutes of the film, which gave those who saw the opening scenes the ability to ask a few questions tied directly to the actual film from the footage they saw. Here are what I believe were the five major takeaways from the Doctor Strange 2 press conference.
5. Elizabeth Olsen on how she now approaches playing the character of Wanda
I feel like in the previous films before WandaVision, I took up a lane for storytelling that was more grounded in sincerity, love, loss, and grief. And with WandaVision, I got to become like, anything and everything. And I really got to grow her into a woman and lead her to accept that she is this mythic woman. That is her destiny and I hope that in this film, people see that continuation of her acceptance of who she is. And the journey that she has taken to get to this moment. I feel like she has way more clarity now than ever in this film.
4. Xochitl Gomez on what her character, America Chavez, will bring to the film
One thing that was so important to me was that this is a very adult movie. There are lots of adults in it. It’s very heavy. And so, I wanted to make sure that America still had that youthfulness and still had that fake it ’til you make it resilience. But when you’ve got some crazy stuff happening it’s a little hard. But I think one thing that really helps is that she is 14, which is younger than she was in any of the comics. That really helps in writing a new introduction which I think Michael Waldron did beautifully.
3. Michael Waldron on writing the script and were there any changes to the script that happened during the pandemic?
It was done early on. We never changed it. We have a locked script. It’s really easy. I had the great benefit of inheriting the bulk of these characters. And so, I think that was what certainly centered me creatively. You know, Stephen, Wanda, Wong, obviously America is a new character that Xochitl was originating, but in a lot of ways, I was just a steward of these characters on the page and so, you know, there was a lot of opportunities to collaborate with these tremendous actors who know them better than I could. And that, I don’t know, as the script evolved, which is very much was all the time, you’re really refining it and I guess it’s leaning on the people who have been doing it even longer than we have in this individual chapter. It’s a real team effort putting this story together.
2. Benedict Cumberbatch on exploring different sides of Dr. Strange
I just think what the Strange we know learns from that. This multiversal narrative structure or idea is like it is in our own lives. We play multiple roles. We have an incredible capacity and imaginative space in our subconscious to imagine ourselves in different circumstances in our dreamscape and I feel that this is an extrapolation of that in the sense that he’s meeting other versions who are essentially him, but they’ve made different choices in different circumstances with different outcomes. So, it’s a great fuel from a very odd spectacular self-therapy, really. Conversations, not just with me as an actor with my character, but with the character and other versions of the character. And just a lot of fun as well to sort of shift up the look, to shift the attitude or the mannerisms or the abilities and show same but different. And it’s a fine balance. And we pushed it on some levels and less so on others and just very much, you know, the finessing skill that Sam has to hold all this complexity and go with what makes the most sense for our hero, for the story. But, you know, I just wanted to throw down as many opportunities as possible. So, that was a wonderful gateway into doing that.
1. Kevin Fiege on the challenge of keeping spoilers and secrets from leaking online
The unfortunate truth is you don’t [LAUGH] and therefore you need to make sure that the experience itself works regardless of what has been spoiled or not. We still do as good of a job as we can, and I think a lot of people are getting good at not spreading it. You know, if somebody steals something, don’t spread it around because it just potentially lessens the experience, but in a lot of ways, No Way Home showed that it did not lessen the experience. So we will continue to do the best that we can, but the most important thing is, delivering the movie or the show that delivers regardless of what you know going in.