Doctor Strange really was a pretty strange addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Wowing fans and critics with character and visuals, it sadly fell again into the trap of the villain problem, with Kaecilius failing to impress. (Oh well, at least we still have Baron Mordo.) But it certainly was another feather in Marvel Studios' already impressive cap, raking in $660 million worldwide, and sitting pretty at a 72 on Metacritic and 90% on Rotten Tomatoes.
A good part of this outpouring of love comes from the "strangeness" of the movie. From the psychedelic visuals that do Steve Ditko proud and just bagged #DoctorStrange an Oscar nomination for Best Visual Effects, to the inverse ending, which sees a city being restored, not destroyed, and the hero defeating the ultimate villain with words and smarts, not fists and robot suits, Doctor Strange was a bit of an odd fish.
But like Guardians of the Galaxy, the movie's efforts to set itself apart from the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been incredibly successful, and the good Doctor is now firmly cemented as part of the #MCU going forward.
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Indeed Doctor Strange marked a departure from the typical Marvel fare in many ways, not least of all because the man behind the magic — Scott Derrickson — was considered an odd choice for the franchise, given that his directing back catalogue was almost entirely in the horror genre.
There was little horror in Doctor Strange of course, that scene with #BenedictCumberbatch's "broken" hands in incredibly realistic prosthetics aside. In fact it was more of the opposite, the movie adopting the fun and light tone we've come to associate with Marvel, littered with incredibly silly, yet effective, gags.
And toward the end of production, it was reported that Dan Harmon had been brought on board for some re-writes. Dan Harmon, in case the name escapes you, is the creative mind behind the quirky hit sitcom #Community, and co-creator of Adult Swim's wildly popular and boldly subversive animated show Rick & Morty alongside Justin Roiland.
Harmon is not a name typically associated with big budget blockbusters or Hollywood franchises like the MCU, so the news came as somewhat of a surprise. And it wasn't known exactly what he was getting up to with Doctor Strange — until now, that is. Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson spoke to MovieFone in a new interview following the major success of the movie, and finally clarified exactly how Harmon got involved.
Indeed, before Derrickson and Harmon even met to work on the movie there was already a connection there, as Derrickson revealed that actor Joel McHale — Community star and long-time collaborator with Harmon — is his "best friend." Additionally, Derrickson admits that he's a long-time admirer of Harmon's work, having seen every episode of Community multiple times.
So when Harmon was brought in to add his creativity to Doctor Strange it was a great opportunity for Derrickson. Describing Harmon as "odd and quirky," Derrickson revealed that he viewed a cut of the movie and gave feedback, contributing in bits and pieces toward the finished product.
As Derrickson told MovieFone:
"[Harmon] had a really striking analysis. Because he hadn't read any of the scripts and didn't know the Doctor Strange mythology and I'm not sure how much of a comic book fan he was. But he saw the movie, loved it, and had some breakdown things that were very helpful. That alone was probably his biggest contribution."
Additionally, Harmon did write his own little pieces for the movie, contributing some scenes as suggestions for the finished product. But even as weird as Doctor Strange was, Harmon managed to go weirder, and most of his scenes didn't make it into the final cut.
"There are some jokes that might have stayed in there, but for the most part, the scenes were a little too out in Dan Harmon-land, even for 'Doctor Strange.'"
For us Community and Rick & Morty fans it's a bit of a shame to hear that Harmon's scenes weren't included, as the specific weirdness of his humor would've been a welcome addition to the movie. But blockbusters will be blockbusters, and likely Harmon's work wouldn't play well with the studio model. Ah well, at least we have Taika Waititi's specific brand of weirdness to look forward to when Thor: Ragnarok releases toward the end of the year. Watch this space.
Would you liked to have seen a bit of Harmon-humor in Doctor Strange, or do you think it was great as it was? Sound off in the comments, and check out our Easter Egg breakdown below!