Exiting the project mere months before cameras were expected to begin filming, director Scott Derrickson unexpectedly left the Doctor Strange sequel over “creative differences.”
As of right now, no one knows for sure why but the word on the street is that Derrickson wanted to make it a straight up horror and MCU head honcho Kevin Feige didn’t. Whatever the reason, his departure will no doubt leave Marvel scrambling to find a replacement. While some of my choices are a bit unconventional, I believe each one has the talent, style and/or unique vision necessary to do something interesting with the property.
These are the Ten Best Directors to Helm Doctor Strange in The Multiverse of Madness.
10. Benh Zeitlin
It’s been almost a decade since his first film premiered but its unforgettable imagery still lingers. A mix between Pippi Longstockings and a live action Miyazaki film, Beasts of the Southern Wild was a modern day fantasy brimming with stunning imagery. Zeitlin knows how to create eye catching set pieces that feel like pieces of your childhood imagination long since forgotten. He creates nostalgic memories out of magic, a skill set that would be invaluable for a film about a wizard.
09. Duncan Jones
After the release of his first two films Moon and Source Code, Jones quickly became a must watch director for fans of sci-fi but after his last two films failed to connect with audiences (that being the critically panned Warcraft and Mute respectively), Jones lost a lot of that goodwill. The easiest way to get it back? Direct a no stakes sequel to a guaranteed money maker. He clearly has the talent (you don’t accidentally make films as good as his first two films), he just needs to be properly guided and Marvel is the perfect studio to do it.
08. Tommy Wirkola
With each film he does, Wirkola tries to challenge himself by taking on a new genre and by embodying a director of the genre he’s tackling. Basically what I’m saying is, he likes mixing it up and keeping it fresh by never repeating himself and by imbuing his films with the essence of different directors. You can see shades of Rodriguez, Raimi, Bekmambetov and Duncan Jones in his various films which is the perfect trait for a replacement director. He’d bring his own distinct sensibilities to the project whilst maintaining the feeling of the previous one by channeling the original director. It’s the best of both worlds.
07. Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead
Now that Derrickson has left the project, we don’t know for certain if Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will be the MCU’s first horror film or not but if it is, it’s only logical that you’d hire a horror director to helm it. Wan and Del Toro make the most sense but they’re both busy on their respected projects. As is Wingard and Flanagan. While that may seem like I’m picking Benson and Moorehead out of desperation, they were actually the first two that popped into my head when thinking of potential replacements. With three films under their belt, the duo are among the freshest voices in recent horror cinema. While never outright scary, their films nevertheless tackle big ideas (two of their films involve time loops, which is on brand for Strange) and have unique visuals that would make them perfectly suited for the sorcerer supreme.
06. Tarsem Singh
It seems like the directors that are more style orientated tend to be one hit wonders. Directors like Joseph Kosinski, Rupert Sanders and Jean-Pierre Jeunet all had gorgeous looking debuts but have all gone on to lukewarm careers. I don’t know if it’s a curse or if style over substance can only get you so far but it seems to affect a great number of visionaries. The worst example of which is Tarsem. He has made some of the best looking films I’ve ever seen but is undoubtedly a victim of diminishing returns. I doubt he’ll ever make a film as good as The Fall again but if he hitches his wagon up with the MCU, there’s a strong possibility that he’ll make one that’s as gorgeous. Which is saying a lot.
05. Dario Russo
Because of his unique abilities and powers, Doctor Strange is a character who’s adventures are perfectly suited for any number of genres. They can be fantasy, action, supernatural or horror. Sometimes all at once. His stories aren’t bound by realism or have to adhere to any semblance of logic and because of this, Doctor Strange, above all else, is weird. To adapt him properly, you have to get a little weird with it. The first film barely scratched the surface of weird but based on the subtitle of the sequel, Derrickson was planning on going all in on the bizarre aspects of the character.
If that’s the case, there’s no man better suited for the job than the creator of Danger 5. A pastiche of men’s adventure magazines and 70s era pulp, Danger 5 is an insane amalgamation of influences and ideas, most of which don’t make any sense but are all ridiculously amazing. Russo has a unique sense of humor and hiring him would definitely be a gamble but so was Gunn and that turned out great, so roll them dice Feige.
04. Hiro Murai
With some of the best music videos and episodes of TV on his resume, Murai is certainly poised for the big leagues. A frequent collaborator of Donald Glover’s, Murai can not only bring Glover onto the project to help rewrite it (which would be a win considering Atlanta is pretty much the best thing on TV right now) but could potentially get him to star in it as well. Glover has already appeared in the MCU but after his spooky as fuck and unrecognizable performance as Teddy Perkins, there’s no reason why he can’t show back up under prosthesis. Just imagine him as Teddy in the role of Nightmare. Shudder.
03. John Krasinski
Although it wasn’t, as many people mistakenly believed, his first film, A Quiet Place hit with the same impact as an out of nowhere debut. While it wasn’t perfect, the film showed a ton of promise, as does its sequel, which looks to be a huge step forward in terms of quality. The film may fall apart under even the tiniest bit of scrutiny but that’s more to do with the script than the direction. The story is flimsy but it’s clear that Krasinski has a good eye for visual storytelling and with him and his wife already having a good relationship with Marvel (he auditioned for Captain America back in the day and she turned down Black Widow), he might be a shoe in.
02. Deborah Chow
Since television has become increasingly more cinematic with each year, it’s only natural that studios will look to the medium for new voices and with Kate Herron being too busy with Loki and Michelle McLaren being too picky (she passed on Wonder Woman over creative differences), Chow feels like the perfect fit. She’s lent her talents to a number of great shows and its only a matter of time before she gets her big break. The last director(s) Marvel hired because of their work on TV were the Russos and they ended up making the most successful film of all time. Just saying.
01. Joseph Khan
When it comes to Joseph Khan, whether or not he becomes the next big thing in Tinseltown isn’t a matter of if but when. For the last two decades, he’s been the most in demand music video director in the industry. If you’ve seen any music video released within the last twenty years, odds are, he directed it. He works fast, has a unique vision and is insanely creative, which is why every artist wants to work with him but his massive music video catalog is not why he’s on this list. Nor is it why he’s number 1, either. The film that earned him this spot and the reason I think he’d be a perfect fit for Strange (and any other Marvel property) is Detention.
Even if Detention was the only thing he had ever done, I would still sing his praises. It is by far, the most unique film of the 2010s. It’s a horror comedy that’s also a parody of teen films that includes time travel. It somehow fits almost every genre imaginable into one 90 minute package and does so effortlessly. That film should’ve rocketed him into super-stardom but since no one saw it (or the film he made before and after), it didn’t. Which, for anyone else, should’ve been the end of their career but Khan is too talented to let failure be their demise. He is a star about to go supernova and if they play their cards right, Marvel could be there when it happens.
Who do you think should replace Scott Derrickson on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness?