Marvel needs to create new alchemy and do it soon. The studio has lost the director for its planned “Doctor Strange” sequel. Variety reports that filmmaker Scott Derrickson (“Sinister”) has parted ways with Marvel on ‘Multiverse Of Madness,’ the ‘Strange’ sequel due next year. Derrickson confirmed the news on Twitter this evening as well, writing, “Marvel and I have mutually agreed to part ways on Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness due to creative differences. I am thankful for our collaboration and will remain on as EP.”

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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is scheduled for release on May 7, 2021, and given these films take at least a year to complete, they’ll have to find a replacement and rather soon as ‘Multiverse’ should be shooting by the end of the Spring at the latest.

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Marvel’s statement is virtually word for word the same, and the two parties must have mutually agreed on the wording. “We remain grateful to Scott for his contributions to the MCU,” they said.

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Benedict Cumberbatch is reprising his role as the master of the mystic arts, and the film will also star as Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff, aka the Scarlet Witch. In fact, ‘Multiverse of Madness’ is set to be the first movie that ties directly into the events of a Disney+ show, in this case, “WandaVision,” which is expected on the streaming channel at the end of 2020. How they connect is unclear, but Marvel has hinted that both series and film will explore the magic side of Wanda’s powers (as opposed to just her telekinetic ones), lean into that element of the character more and take on more horror movie overtones (Derrickson’s forte before directing Marvel movies).

The search for a new replacement director is on now, and there is expected to be no delay in production or release date. Derrickson recently cryptically tweeted “studio release dates are the enemy of art,” and one suspects this is the reason he’s leaving the project, perhaps not feeling completely satisfied with the script. Still, the show, and pre-production, must go on soon.