In an interview with Rolling Stone, Feige confirmed that Benedict Cumberbatch’s Dr Strange was initially meant to appear in the series. In fact, the studios already had Cumberbatch sign a contract for his appearance as the final WandaVision episode was initially intended to bridge the show and future films together.
As fans would know, Marvel is an expert at planting easter eggs, clues and cameos and WandaVision had plenty. On top of the eggs we do know after following the show closely, Feige revealed that the in-universe commercials were going to be messages from Strange to Wanda, and the team had talks about having Cumberbatch appear in one of the ads too.
In the end, Feige decided against it as he didn’t want Dr Strange’s cameo to detract from Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and her own story.
“Some people might say, ‘Oh, it would’ve been so cool to see Doctor Strange,’ but it would have taken away from Wanda, which is what we didn’t want to do,” he said. “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.’ “
Apart from Strange, fans were also hoping to see Mephisto (especially with the return of “Quicksilver” and numerous hints by Kathryn Hahn’s Agnes), Magneto and possibly even the Fantastic Four. Whilst it would have been interesting to see how all these additional characters would have changed the narrative and how we as an audience experience the strange happenings in WandaVision, Feige has a point.
WandaVision, as we now understand it, is Wanda’s debut as Scarlet Witch and how the power she amassed was through processing grief and the loss of both her brother Pietro and her lover Vision. If Dr Strange had appeared in the finale, the conversations around the show would be dominated by his appearance, not Wanda’s traumatic journey. Fans wouldn’t remember WandaVision as Scarlet Witch’s becoming, but rather how it ties into the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness film.
Feige wanted to avoid a season two The Mandalorian outcome where the biggest impact on fans was Luke Skywalker’s appearance and not the journey Grogu and Din Djarin had throughout the entire season – and that’s understandable.
Unfortunately for the team behind Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Strange’s removal from WandaVision would mean rewrites are underway. All we fans can do, is sit and wait for its eventual release on 25 March 2022.
Excited for a new era of MCU films? Check out new footage and a full list of release dates for Marvel Phase 4, including Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Eternals and Spider-Man: No Way Home.