Why was Spider-Man not included in Multiverse of Madness?
Doctor Strange costume designer Graham Churchyard spoke to Twitter user @ScarletWitchUpd in a video interview about Marvel’s original release plan for Multiverse of Madness to be released in 2021 before Spider-Man: No Way Home until COVID-19 completely shifted all of Marvel’s Phase 4 slate.
Additionally, America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) would have joined the Master of Mystic Arts in the third installment of the Spider-Man: Homecoming trilogy. “Spider-Man: No Way Home was supposed to come out after Multiverse,” Churchyard recalled.
He continued, “And then with Covid, it came out before. So Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in his new costume and America Chavez were supposed to go into Spider-Man, and Spider-Man was supposed to come in a brief cameo appearance in Multiverse. And you know, Covid just shook it all up.”
Multiverse of Madness was originally set for a July 2021 release date when Marvel announced their Phase 4 slate at San Diego Comic-Con 2019. The movie underwent multiple changes through the course of its production. Original Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson stepped down over creative differences, and was replaced by original Sony’s Spider-Man director Sam Raimi. With COVID-19 affecting the theatrical business worldwide, Marvel then delayed Multiverse of Madness to May 2022. Sony, however, kept No Way Home in its December 2021 release date.
Raimi’s involvement with Multiverse of Madness drew high speculation among MCU fans about not only a cameo by Holland, but also original Spider-Man actor Tobey Maguire. Ultimately, references to the Wall Crawler were limited to a dialogue exchange between Strange and America Chavez about the events of No Way Home. As a result of the release date swap, Chavez’s appearance in No Way Home was reworked into Ned Leeds’ handling of the Cloak of Levitation and Strange’s sling ring.
Doctor Strange’s next MCU appearance remains unknown while a fourth Spider-Man movie with Holland has stalled development due to the ongoing strike. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now streaming on Disney+.