In times of great trial, Reddit often becomes a surprising source of information about up and coming movies and productions, thanks to the wonder that is the form of AMA (Ask Me Anything). Such was the case yesterday when Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson took to the r/marvelstudios subreddit to answer fans' questions about the upcoming movie.
Doctor Strange marks the fourteenth movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, releasing November 4, 2016 in the US. And it's going to be one of the most important yet, as it opens up the MCU to mind-bending aesthetics and dimension hopping magic. And, according to Derrickson, it might also be one of the weirdest and most exciting installments yet.
Below is a round up of the best bits from Derrickson's Reddit AMA, and what his answers mean for the upcoming movie.
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1. Will Doctor Strange Contain Horror Elements?
When it was first announced that Derrickson would be helming Doctor Strange, there was much speculation regarding what this would mean for the genre, given that Derrickson's back catalogue consists primarily of horror movies. Different reports from different sources involved with the production came across as conflicting, but now Derrickson himself has answered the question.
UnrealLuigi: You have a lot of experience in horror films. Are there elements of horror in this movie? And how would you compare your experience directing this compared to your previous films? Can't wait to see the movie in a few weeks!!
scott_derrickson: There is no straight horror in the movie, but it is a bit darker and more serious than other Marvel movies. I think the connection between my horror films and this film is the balance of the supernatural/fantastical with very realistic, grounded characters.
Darker and more serious is all very well and good, but we do know there will be moments of levity in it, as seen in exchanges between Strange and other characters in trailers and TV spots.
2. What Was The Visual Inspiration?
The character of Doctor Stephen Strange was created by famous Marvel artist Steve Ditko, who also crafted the psychedelic visuals for which the early comic books are known. We've long heard that said visuals would be used as inspiration for the movie itself, but Redditor Joompar wondered what other inspirations Derrickson drew from for Doctor Strange, as well as what music he liked:
Joompar: Besides Ditko, what other surrealist artists/films did you use as references for the other dimensions? Will there be a 3rd trailer? I see you post a lot about 60s music on twitter, what are your favorite 80s and 90s bands?
scott_derrickson: Escher, Dali, and some modern surrealist photography. But we mostly drew inspiration from the comics and our own imaginations. Don't know about a 3rd trailer. My favorite 80s band is Talking Heads, my favorite 90s band is Nirvana.
Ditko, Escher and Dali? Further proof that this is going to be one trippy experience.
3. How Will Kaecilius Be Handled?
There's an oft-bandied about phrase about Marvel Studios that we've probably all heard by now — that the MCU has a "villain problem." Regardless of what you believe about that statement, it was something raised during the Reddit AMA by Redditor xendlessaibrux about Mads Mikkelsen's villain Kaecilius, a very minor character from Marvel comics.
xendlessaibrux: Considering the often lukewarm responses to villains in most Marvel movies, how did you approach creating yours? Mads Mikkelsen is a fantastic actor, yet he appears to be in what's seemingly a tiny one off role from the canon.
scott_derrickson: What I wanted was a villain driven by a compelling agenda. He is a man of ideas. He has a cogent, defendable point of view, which is what I always find interesting in antagonists and villains.
A "cogent, defendable point of view" sounds pretty similar to Daniel Brühl's Baron Zemo from Captain America: Civil War, who has been hailed as the best villain of the MCU yet.
And, speaking of the Captain America movies, Derrickson compared Doctor Strange to the critically adored The Winter Soldier in terms of tone and seriousness, responding to a question asked by Sundari108:
Sundari108: Apparently you said in an interview the overall TONE of the film resembles that of Winter Soldier, arguably the most serious and less humorous (relative to others) MCU film. Can you confirm this?
scott_derrickson: Yeah, I think that's true. There's definitely some great humor, but overall it's pretty dramatic and grounded.
4. Which Comics Inspired Derrickson?
Whenever a comic book adaptation comes around, the big question always concerns the nature of the material that the filmmakers will be drawing from in order to craft the movie. We'd previously learned that Derrickson had an interest in the early Strange Tales comics, but the AMA revealed some other sources of inspiration.
Alltimefail: Which Dr. Strange stories were you most inspired by?
scott_derrickson: The origin story by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko, The Oath, and Into Shamballa.
Both The Oath and Into Shamballa are very famous stories from the Strange canon, one a limited series and the other a self-contained graphic novel. And they aren't the only ones with which Derrickson has a familiarly. When asked which stories fans who aren't familiar with the character should read, he called the current run by Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo "excellent," as well as recommending:
scott_derrickson: Marvel recently put out a hardcover book series of Doctor Strange comics. Start at the beginning. The early Stan Lee/Steve Ditko Strange Tales and Doctor Strange comics are the best.
5. What Music Will Be In Doctor Strange?
Marvel movies might not be best known for their music, but from Guardians of the Galaxy's "Awesome Mix," to The Winter Soldier's Marvin Gaye tinted soundtrack, there have been notable exceptions. And it sounds like Doctor Strange might be another exception, as Derrickson's own taste has had an impact upon the soundtrack. A '60s tinged impact.
HardRainsAGonnaFall: From your Twitter I see you're a big Bob Dylan fan. If you had to use one of his songs for the movie, which would you use?
scott_derrickson: I looked for a place to use Bob Dylan in the movie, but I just couldn't find the right place for one. But we do have a '60s Pink Floyd song. Fuck yeah.
6. What's Happening With Baron Mordo?
We've previously pointed out that Chiwetel Ejiofor's take on Doctor Strange's nemesis, Baron Mordo, was shaping up to be very different this time around, and this was addressed during the Reddit discussion. Building upon Derrickson's previous comments about the character, he was asked about how this new take will impact the relationship between Strange and Mordo:
albaaca: Hello! You said that Mordo character will be different in the movie. What sort of relationship dynamic might we expect from him and Strange?
scott_derrickson: He won't be as arch or one-dimensional as he was in the comics. He undergoes a slow evolution/de-volution in this movie.
7. What's Next For Doctor Strange?
Well, we already know that we'll be seeing Doctor Strange next in Avengers: Infinity War, but Redditor halfdecent raised the question of how constrained the planning of Doctor Strange was in relation to the rest of the MCU. As it turns out, where Strange ends up at the end of the movie likely won't have much of an impact upon his appearing in Infinity War:
halfdecent: How much communication did you have with the Russo's about their use of Strange in the next avengers films? Did they consult you much on his character and where you might want him to be at the end of Infinity War?
scott_derrickson: I talk with Joe Russo regularly, but we never spoke about that specifically. Good question though.
8. What's Derrickson's Favorite MCU Movie?
A question that had to be asked, which is Derrickson's favorite of all the Marvel movies?
Makelikeawillis: Favorite MCU movie, not including strange of course ;)
scott_derrickson: Guardians of the Galaxy and Winter Soldier.
Neither come as that much of a surprise. There've already been several mentions of The Winter Soldier when it comes to the Doctor Strange creative process, and Guardians of the Galaxy will likely have a cosmic link to Strange too. Perhaps Doctor Strange will end up being the perfect blend of the two, a cosmic thriller?
9. Will We See Comic Book Spells In Doctor Strange?
Another question of fidelity to the comic books was asked by MiQBonafide, who questioned whether or not we'd be treated to the campy, over the top enchantment spells that Doctor Strange wields in the comic books. While he didn't give too much away on this point, Derrickson did say that comic book readers will be able to recognize some elements in the movie.
MiQBonafide: will the wacky mantras and incantations (Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth, Flames of Faltine, WInds of Watoombs) be heard?
scott_derrickson: You will hear some phrases you recognize.
10. What Was The Biggest Challenge Making Doctor Strange?
A question posed by KyloRen147 gleans one of the most interesting answers of the AMA, as he questioned what Derrickson found most difficult about the production of Doctor Strange:
KyloRen147: What was the toughest challenge while making this movie
scott_derrickson: Staying focused on the characters development while managing such a massive production.
There is always a worry that focus on character will fall by the wayside when the story is swept along with the big budget blockbuster, and that worry is especially prevalent when it comes to a new character being introduced. While we'll have to wait until November 4 to find out for sure, it sounds like Doctor Strange is in pretty good hands with Derrickson.
Bonus: What Do The Marvel Stars Smell Like?
And finally, the questions you've always wanted to know the answer to. What do Doctor Strange star Benedict Cumberbatch and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige smell like?
Alvinng9: What does Benedict smell like?
scott_derrickson: A sandy ocean breeze with a hint of elderberries.
iwasherenotyou: What does Kevin Feige smell like? Is it as beautiful as I imagine?
scott_derrickson: Kevin smells like celluloid.