WandaVision was originally building up to a major cameo in the finale. And no, it wasn’t Mephisto.
According to a new interview with Rolling Stone, Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige revealed that the cameo was going to be Benedict Cumberbatch‘s Doctor Strange. And Feige also explained why the Sorcerer Supreme was written out of the buzzy Disney+ series.
WandaVision was a hot bed of fan theories and speculation throughout its short but bright nine-episode run. Who was behind this strange sitcom-homaging town? Who is Agatha Harkness? Is anyone actually Mephisto? And what was up with those mysterious fictional commercials?
Many of these questions went unanswered or were debunked, but one of those strange dangling plot threads has been answered: those commercials were actually intended to build up to a Doctor Strange appearance. Feige confirmed to Rolling Stone in the magazine’s May 2021 print edition that the eerie commercials for fictional products like Toast Mate, the Strücker Watch, and Hydra Soak were more than just subliminal reminders of Wanda’s (Elizabeth Olsen) past — they were originally intended to be messages sent to Wanda from Doctor Strange, as he also attempted to break through her sitcom fabrication. (The article is not online yet, but we drove to a store and physically confirmed these quotes are real.) Per Rolling Stone, Marvel had even finalized a deal with Cumberbatch to appear in the season’s final episode. But in a late-stage rewrite, the Sorcerer Supreme was written out, Feige said:
“Some people might say, ‘Oh, it would’ve been so cool to see Doctor Strange. But it would have taken away from Wanda. 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.'”
The WandaVision finale was a divisive one, particularly because it felt like a rush to the finish line of appropriately addressing Wanda’s grief and of setting up the impact of Wanda’s actions through the MCU. The finale already planted the seeds for the Captain Marvel sequel The Marvels with Monica Rambeau’s (Teyonah Parris) newfound powers, as well as Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness with Wanda’s embrace of her Scarlet Witch identity. It was widely speculated that WandaVision would contain a tie-in with the Doctor Strange sequel, so why not bring in Cumberbatch to seal the deal?
But the finale was already cluttered enough as-is, and a Doctor Strange cameo would have only made it even more so, while also taking away from the precious little Wanda time that we actually got. Interestingly, this also means that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness had to be rewritten, too. While this doesn’t confirm the speculation that the WandaVision team was furiously rewriting the series in response to fan theories, it does give a peek at the overall writing Marvel writing process, which Feige described to Rolling Stone as, “[A] wonderful combination of very dedicated coordination, and chaos. Chaos magic.”
You can see the Scarlet Witch and the Sorcerer Supreme team up for real in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, in theaters March 25, 2022.