Reader, remember roughly two-ish months ago, when we were all anxiously awaiting WandaVision's finale, convinced that we would see Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange somehow materialize in Westview to help Wanda Maximoff beat Agatha Harkness in a magic battle? Remember, when after the post-credits scene depicting -- SPOILER ALERT – the Scarlet Witch holed up in a remote cabin practicing her magic, the disappointment we felt in realizing that our glimpses of Photon, White Vision, and a brief clip of Captain Marvel's voice in episode 7 were the only MCU cameos we were going to get this time around?
Well folks, despite the show's Doctor Strange-less run, it seems that our hunches were actually somewhat correct. According to Rolling Stone, not only was the Sorcerer Supreme to-be originally supposed to appear on WandaVision, a tidbit that has essentially become common knowledge within the Marvel fandom, but the plans for his cameo could also explain one of WandaVision's vaguer elements – the highly-coded, era-themed commercials appearing in each episode of the show's Wanda-produced sitcom within a sitcom. Despite the allure of bringing the beloved, albeit tricky to pronounce actor and his character into the mix, the decision to give Cumberbatch the WandaVision axe came from fears surrounding the hero upstaging Wanda's narrative arc throughout the show, according to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige.
“Some people might say, ‘Oh, it would’ve been so cool to see Dr. Strange,’” Feige explained. “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.’”
Yet before he was cut from the series, the commercials that appear in each episode, popular fodder for fan theories surrounding the Hex and larger themes at play, were originally supposed to act as direct messages from him to Wanda, with the star even in talks to make a cameo in one of the slots, the show's head writer, Jac Schaeffer explained. Yet as we saw in WandaVision, even without Doctor Strange's involvement, the commercials he inspired remained, existing as one of the show's few elements not entirely explained through the Westview Phenomenon, ScreenRant noted.
However, Cumberbatch's absence from the Disney+ series didn't only impact the show but also rippled into his character's own eponymous sequel, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, set to hit theatres next March. Considering his exclusion from the show, WandaVision would no longer provide proper context for the film, meaning the movie, which will also feature Elizabeth Olsen returning as her iconic character, had to be rewritten, a change Feige says is representative of Marvel's creative process, “a wonderful combination of very dedicated coordination, and chaos. Chaos magic," he described.
So, folks, although we may have missed out on a Doctor Strange cameo, at least one of the show's many unsolved mysteries has been retroactively cleared. Now if we could only figure out the identity of the missing person Jimmy Woo was investigating …