‘Doctor Strange’ Almost Had a Completely Different Villain
Marvel movie scripts go through a ton of editing and plot reworking before they’re finally handed over to their directors, and Doctor Strange was no different. It’s a more ambitious film from its predecessors in many ways, not the least of which is introducing audiences to a new superhero and an entirely new way of thinking about the Marvel multiverse. Unsurprisingly, the writers went through a few villain ideas before it landed on the one Marvel president Kevin Feige felt would be most appropriate for the movie, but apparently we were very close to getting a completely different big bad. (Warning — SPOILERS ahead for those of you who haven’t seen the movie yet, so proceed with caution.)
In an interview with Empire about his new film, director Scott Derrickson discussed first the villain fakeout — Mads Mikkelsen’s Kaecilius was the one in all the promos, but it actually turns out he’s just a henchman for dark dimension ruler Dormammu, who wants to conquer the Earth (don’t they all). Derrickson also said that in an earlier draft of the script, he actually almost had Nightmare as the main villain of the movie. Nightmare’s thing is he’s a ruler of a different dimension known as the Nightmare Realm, holding dominion over the multiverse’s bad dreams. Sounds pretty nefarious, but Feige nixed the idea, on account of the fact that introducing the audience to a bunch of dimensions at once might blow our minds faster than Tilda Swinton could punch our souls out of our bodies.
The trouble with starting with Nightmare is getting across the idea of the Dream Dimension as another dimension. The movie was challenging enough. It’s already an exposition-heavy movie… Dormammu made the most sense. And he is the most present villain in the comics.
Dormammu is definitely the dude who always has it in for Strange, and probably the one Marvel could most sensibly throw into any of the next movies in our current Phase, like Thor: Ragnarok or Infinity War. Derrickson’s dreams of Nightmare may have to wait for the Doctor Strange sequel, if it happens.