Even though Dr. Stephen Strange and Wanda Maximoff, otherwise known as the Scarlet Witch, are set to team up in next year’s power Marvel Universe sequel “Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness,” a cameo including Benedict Cumberbatch, initially set for the finale of Disney Plus’s “WandaVision” television show, fell into its own oblivion.
Now some are wondering if this was a strategic move for the franchise, or simply virtue signaling.
In a Rolling Stone interview for the May print edition, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige said Cumberbatch’s Dr. Strange was written out of the television show’s final episode because series runners decided his appearance would “take away” from Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda.
“Some people might say, ‘Oh, it would’ve been so cool to see Dr. Strange,’” Feige said in the interview. “But it would have taken away from Wanda, which is what we didn’t want to do. We didn’t want the end of the show to be commoditized to go to the next movie — here’s the white guy, ‘Let me show you how power works.’”
Feige’s said a deal with Cumberbatch to appear in the episode was struck and would have served to pave the way between the television show and the cinematic feature due out next year.
There were even plans to incorporate Dr. Strange into the stories by having him manipulate television commercials that would be messages to Wanda, with Cumberbatch appearing in one of the advertisements, series head writer Jac Schaeffer said in the interview.
Nixing the crossover, Feige said, also meant the movie itself needed to be rewritten.
Conservative podcast Louder with Crowder Host Steven Crowder said in a post on his website Tuesday that Feige was just virtue signaling.
“Kevin Feige wanted everyone to know what an ally he is,” Crowder said in the post. “Hey ladies, look what I did. I got a white guy cut out of the movie so that the girl looked better.”
Instead, the final episode allowed Wanda to come to terms with her new powers on her own before joining Strange in the upcoming movie, according to a CNET article.
CNET reported that Cumberbatch apologized to fans about the no-show during a recent Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.
“If it didn’t happen, then I am sorry about that,” he said on the show.
As for Olsen, she is defending her character’s actions after taking a whole town hostage and forcing them into a situation comedy fantasy.
“She had to get away before the people who have to hold her accountable got there,” she said. “And where she went is a place that no one could find her. Because she knows that she is going to be held accountable, and I think she has a tremendous amount of guilt.”
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