In the 12 years of its existence, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has had a run remarkably free of tumult. Only one major role has ever been recast, with Don Cheadle taking over for Terrence Howard as Tony Stark bestie James Rhodes. And only a few directors have left after being involved with production: Edgar Wright left during the first Ant-Man before filming had even begun, and Marvel let James Gunn go for Guardians of the Galaxy 3, only to rehire him a few months later.

But as Marvel continues to grow, it’s inevitable that more of this will happen, and so is the case this week: Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson and Marvel have decided to part ways with Derrickson walking away from Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness. The news came from Derrickson himself.

Ah, yes. The dreaded “creative differences.” One has to wonder if Derrickson, who seemed keen on going all-in on horror, was deterred from his vision by the considerably more conservative Disney, which is likely the case. It’s also worth wondering if the release of Fox’s The New Mutants, which now seems to be planted firmly in director Josh Boone’s original horror aesthetic after it being mired in development hell before and after the Disney-Fox merger, had something to do with the decision to go in a different direction for Doctor Strange 2.

In any case, there are pros and cons to this move: According to reports, there are no plans to push back the production start date from this May, with a release still scheduled for May of next year. That potentially means this decision to mutually part ways was made a while ago in order to give Marvel time to get its ducks in a row before Derrickson publicly announcing his departure – or Marvel already knows exactly what it wants to do with the film.

It is a real disappointment to lose Derrickson’s unique creative voice at Marvel, however. Plenty of fans were looking forward to seeing his ultimate vision and the cerebral weirdness he brings to his films unleashed. But it’s a comfort to know he’s staying on as executive producer. Even if it’s not his hand steering the ship anymore, he should at least have input and ensure that the Sorcerer Supreme’s characterization and world-building remain consistent.

Plus, this gives the director even more time to work on his own individual projects, most of which are co-written with longtime creative partner C. Robert Cargill, and to get back to horror. And from the looks of it, he already’s teasing a few exciting projects on the horizon:

He already has two projects – Two Eyes Staring and When Gravity Fails – in the pipeline, and considering how busy he usually is, we can assume he’s quietly working on a few more projects that have yet to be announced. But failing that, writing partner Cargill already has an idea for their next pitch:

I’m just saying, if any writer duo could find a way to make Cats even weirder, it would be Derrickson and Cargill. Your move, Universal!

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