Why Doctor Strange & Scarlet Witch’s Variants Look The Same

Why Doctor Strange & Scarlet Witch's Variants Look The Same

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness producer Richie Palmer explains why Doctor Strange and Scarlet Witch’s variants all look the same.

A Marvel Studios producer explains why Doctor Strange and Scarlet Witch’s variants all look the same in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Directed by Sam Raimi, the film continues the MCU’s exploration of the multiverse. This meant continuing what was set up in the Disney+ Loki series, including the idea of variants.

In Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Doctor Strange is forced to take on America Chavez under her wing after learning that she’s being hunted by Wanda Maximoff for her powers. This sends him to travel through the vast multiverse where he ends up meeting some of his variants. The same thing happens to Scarlet Witch as she attempts to find a universe where she can be with her sons, Tommy and Billy. Throughout Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, all variants of the sorcerers are played by Cumberbatch and Olsen, unlike Loki, whose variants come in many forms.

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When asked about it in his recent appearance on Empire Special Podcast (via The Direct), producer Richie Palmer explains that this boils down to the specific filmmaking decision. According to the Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness executive, they wanted to highlight Cumberbatch and Olsen’s acting prowess so they asked them to play all their variants. Read his full quote below:

“I think the truth is, we had a two-hour movie to tell the story, and we have Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen, who are literally two of the great actors of our time, let alone superhero movies, and we weren’t going to squander them. I will say, if we went to any more of those universes like Paint Universe, I think as you get further and further away from… should we say the Sacred Timeline? As we get further and further away from 616, our base universe of the MCU, I think there’s room for even the most stalwart characters, like a Steve Rogers, to maybe not look like Chris Evans. I think there is room as you move further away from the main timeline, from the main universe. But, I think it depends on the character, it depends on the actor, it depends on, frankly, the medium we’re telling the story. So, all of the above, but I like that question.”

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Palmer’s candidness is refreshing. Instead of giving a canon response to why Cumberbatch and Olsen play their variants in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, he shares that it’s more of a creative decision. This frees Marvel Studios from any narrative implication from his explanation. For what it’s worth, the franchise still hasn’t laid out specifics with regard to variants and it may never have any particular rules about the looks and forms that they take. So for now, it’s best to leave that up in the air which offers Marvel Studios more creative leeway in terms of how they want to utilize them moving forward. As Palmer said, for actors like Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr., who have already exited the franchise, it’s much easier to bring other stars to play their variants in case Steve Rogers and Tony Stark from other universes are needed in their storytelling.

Aside from the convenience factor, it just makes more sense to see Cumberbatch and Olsen portray variants of Doctor Strange and Scarlet Witch. This way, it’s easier for fans to recognize the differences between them, resulting in the emotional impact of their respective journeys landing better. Beyond Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, however, it’s curious if Marvel Studios will be open to introducing variants of their characters played by other actors or if they have other ones that come in non-human form like Alligator Loki.

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Source: Empire Special Podcast (via The Direct)

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Ana Dumaraog
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Accidental movie and TV fan who is perpetually curious, Ana rekindled her love for writing and married it with everything pop culture. The result is a passionate writer who could ramble (and of course, pen) about films and series multiple hours a day. She has a soft spot for procedurals and old sitcoms (The Golden Girls!) but won’t dare watch any horror films although she’s (ironically) dying to see one. Though a bit late to the party and was an actual Force non-believer, she now finds the Star Wars franchise quite fascinating (fun fact: it was a crazy Jar Jar Binks/Sith theory that drew her in).

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