Add Jessica Chastain to the list of actors who turned down the Marvel Cinematic Universe, inarguably the most dominant franchise at the worldwide box office. During a recent appearance on his Sticher podcast “Junkfood Cinema” via The Independent, “Doctor Strange” screenwriter C. Robert Cargill revealed Marvel was courting Chastain to star as love interest Christine Palmer opposite Benedict Cumberbatch in the 2016 MCU tentpole. The role eventually went to Rachel McAdams. According to Cargill, Chastain rejected the offer because she had no interest in joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe as just an ordinary human character.
“She's like, 'Hey, look, this project sounds awesome, and I would love to do it. But I'm only going to get one shot at being in a Marvel film and becoming a Marvel character; and I trained in ballet, and I really want to wear a cape,'” Cargill said. “It’s the coolest rejection ever…She wanted to be in a Marvel movie, but she wanted to be the superhero, not the badass doctor Night Nurse.”
Chastain would go on to make her comic book movie debut in “Dark Phoenix,” playing the villainous shape-shifting alien Vuk. That Fox-backed superhero tentpole was an infamous critical and box office bomb in summer 2019, tapping out with just $250 million globally on a $200 million production budget. “Doctor Strange” was a hit in fall 2016. The Marvel film made $677 million worldwide and will be getting an upcoming sequel entitled “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”
The “Doctor Strange” sequel is expected to take the MCU into horror territory and will pair Cumberbatch’s eponymous hero with Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch. McAdams is not expected to reprise her role as Christine Palmer in the film, which will find “Spider-Man” helmer Sam Raimi replacing Scott Derrickson in the director’s chair. Cargill is also not involved with the final version as Michael Waldron, the screenwriter behind the MCU Disney+ series “Loki,” is rewriting the sequel script.
While Chastain passed on the MCU, she’s had success in other studio fare such as “It: Chapter Two.” The actress is set to appear opposite Andrew Garfield later this year in Searchlight’s biographical drama “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” and also has the action vehicle “355” in the pipeline.
Disney did a lot of reshuffling with its release calendar recently. Specifically, all of the Marvel Studios Phase 4 movies have been pushed back, including Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The highly-anticipated sequel, which was officially announced last summer, has been delayed a full six months. Though, given the situation at hand right now in Hollywood, this doesn't come as much of a surprise.
Doctor Strange 2 will now hit theaters on November 5, 2021. It had previously been dated for May 7, 2021. That date now belongs to Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. This came about, in part, as a result of Black Widow being delayed. Scarlett Johansson's first solo movie in the MCU was supposed to arrive in May, but had to be pushed back, given that the vast majority of movie theaters around the world are closed right now. Black Widow was bumped to November, where Eternals was slotted, and the domino effect went from there.
Little is known about the sequel currently. Scott Derrickson, who directed the first Doctor Strange, had been set to return. However, he parted ways with the project over creative differences several months back. Sam Raimi Spider-Man, The Evil Dead was reported to be in negotiations to take over the director's chair, but no confirmation on that front has been provided yet. The movie had been scheduled to shoot this summer. It's quite possible production would be delayed as well, which might affect things. Interestingly, with the release date shift, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will now open almost exactly five years after its predecessor, which makes it the longest gap ever in the MCU for a solo sequel.
Benedict Cumberbatch will return as Steven Strange, with Benedict Wong and Chiwetel Ejifor also expected to return as Wong and Mordo, respectively. Rachel McAdams, last we heard, will not be coming back as Christine Palmer. Back when Scott Derrickson was supposed to direct, it was expected that Nightmare would be the main villain. It's unclear at this time if that is still the plan. For the most part, details have been kept under wraps by the studio. Elizabeth Olsen will appear as Scarlet Witch alongside Stephen Strange. The movie will also link up directly to the show WandaVision, which is set to debut on Disney+ in December.
Doctor Strange was released in November 2016 and proved to be a big success, especially considering that many people outside of hardcore comic readers were, at best, only vaguely familiar with the character. The Marvel Comics adaptation grossed $677 million worldwide and garnered largely favorable reviews from critics and viewers alike. Benedict Cumberbatch has since reprised his role in Thor: Ragnarok, Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. We'll be sure to keep you posted as any further details on the project are made available. This news comes to us via Marvel.com.
Marvel Studios has announced the new Black Widow release date. The highly anticipated Natasha Romanoff standalone movie will be released on November 6th. This was the release date for the Eternals movie, which has now been pushed back, along with the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 4 projects. There was speculation that Disney and Marvel Studios were toying with the idea of releasing Black Widow and Mulan digitally, in an effort to skip theaters, but that is obviously not going to happen at this point in time.
The Eternals movie has been pushed to February 12th, 2021, while Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will now open May 7th, 2021. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which was probably going to get pushed back anyway, will now open on November 5th, 2021 and Thor: Love and Thunder has moved to February 18th, 2022. Looking ahead to the MCU's Phase 5, Black Panther 2 will still debut May 6th, 2022, while Captain Marvel 2, which previously did not have a firm release date, has been set for July 8th, 2022.
At this time, it is unclear when movie theaters are going to be able to open their doors again. Some have predicted that sometime in June is likely, though it is not guaranteed. AMC might not even open their doors again after their latest credit rating was revealed. With that being said, Marvel Studios made a wise decision in pushing everything back on their calendar. Black Widow could have come out in the late summer or early fall, but there's really no predicting what the entertainment business will look like at that time. Pushing things further may bum out fans, but there was really no avoiding this situation.
Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige announced the MCU Phase 4 titles at last year's San Diego Comic-Con and received an enthusiastic response from the world. In addition to the big screen titles, Feige also spoke about all of the Disney+ TV shows that are on the way too. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and WandaVision were the first to go into production, but it's unclear if they will meet their release dates now that production has been halted. It is believed that they were mostly complete, but there has not been an official announcement as of this writing.
MCU fans are going to have to wait a bit longer to see some of their favorite superheroes on the big screen. This could end up being excellent news for last-minute story revisions and other things that may need to get changed, meaning we'll get a better movie when the dust settles. Hopefully the world's current situation will pass in the near future so that people can get back to some kind of normalcy. Variety was the first to announce the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 4 news.