Let’s face it: many of the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are littered with destruction. In The Avengers, we saw Loki reign hell upon the biggest city in America. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, we saw Ultron launch an entire city into the sky. Hell, even in Captain America: Civil War, the characters had to cause millions of dollars in damages during the infamous airport fight sequence.
In an interview with The Wrap, Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson said he wanted to break the norm and move past absolute destruction of the biggest set pieces.
“You can create screen stimulus in other ways,” said Derrickson. “But you just have to create. You have to be inventive… It’s about a different approach to screen stimulus and to giving people their money’s worth when they’re paying to see a big event movie.”
It’s no secret that the introduction of Stephen Strange brings something we’ve seen little of thus far in the MCU: magic. Before Doctor Strange, everything could have been explained with science; super-soldier serums, Alien/Inhuman DNA, and advanced technology have all been used in the MCU so far, but not magic. And according to Derrickson, it wasn’t an easy task.
“It was hugely challenging. There was a commitment that I had to not repeating magic of the past because I think magic in movies has become signified by certain things. Magic wands, going back to “Fantasia,” and certainly the “Harry Potter” franchise had it’s own way of dealing with magic, ” Derrickson reflected when talking about the challenges of developing the magical side of the MCU. “And I just wanted to find a new way to make it feel more tactical and real and surreal. And to root it in gestures as opposed to spoken incantations and things like that. And it was always an attempt to redefine what magic can feel like.”
Now that we have magic and mystical beings that travel across dimensions, it was clear from the beginning Doctor Strange would have to have mind-blowing visual effects. And for that, Derrickson drew on the Sorcerer Supreme’s creator himself: Steve Ditko.
“Some of them, like the dark dimension, that’s straight from the comics. That was really an attempt to capture the quality of that artwork. I think most of the time it was a desire to get my head into what the comics were, at the time, in the ’60s. It was so psychedelic, and so reaching for the surreal I think is the best way I can put it,” said Derrickson. “In a free-flowing, fun kind of way. That’s what psychedelic art was, that’s what psychedelic music was. And so I was so immersed in that in my own mindset that I didn’t want to make something that was nostalgic. I wasn’t trying to reach back to the ’60s aesthetic. … I’ve got these incredible tools in visual effects. What can I do that’s the 2016 version of that?”
There’s been plenty of speculation that actor Benedict Cumberbatch is going to be the face of the MCU in a post-Tony Stark world, and Derrickson hinted that he wants to continue to be involved with Cumberbatch and company. When asked if he could choose another superhero film to direct, Derrickson had a fairly easy response: “Doctor Strange 2”.