‘Doctor Strange’ Lost Out on Jessica Chastain When She Rejected Joining the MCU in the ‘Coolest Way’

Marvel missed a big opportunity to pair Benedict Cumberbatch and Jessica Chastain in Doctor Strange. A screenwriter for the project revealed that Marvel wanted to cast Chastain to play Cumberbatch’s romantic interest in the film. But instead of joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Chastain rejected the offer in the “coolest” way possible.

Doctor Strange Jessica Chastain
‘Doctor Strange’ missed out on Jessica Chastain | Gabe Ginsberg/WireImage

Chastain wants to be a superhero

Chastain’s wish to become a superhero came true when she landed the part of Vuk in Dark Phoenix. The shape-shifting creature was a villain in the movie who manipulated Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey.

Unfortunately, the film was a major bomb for Fox, making only $250 million in worldwide ticket sales against a $200 million budget. Doctor Strange, on the other hand, had a budget of around $200 million and pulled down $677 million at the box office.

The film was also released around the same time that Disney bought out Fox, a deal that gave Marvel the rights to X-Men. The studio will likely reboot the entire franchise, especially given its lackluster reception over the years.

It is unclear if Chastain will ever reprise her role as Vuk now that X-Men is under the Marvel umbrella. But there was a time when she was offered a spot in the MCU and turned it down.

Chastain rejects Marvel’s ‘Doctor Strange’

Screenwriter C. Robert Cargill recently opened up about Chastain’s rejection on his podcast titled Junkfood Cinema. According to Indie Wire, Cargill revealed that Marvel wanted to cast Chastain as Christine Palmer, but the actress had no interest in joining the MCU unless it was as a superhero.

“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 explained. “It was the coolest rejection ever…”

Doctor Strange was a big hit for Marvel in 2016. The movie’s success opened the door for the upcoming sequel, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

After Chastain’s rejection, Rachel McAdams got the part, though we still do not know if she will be reprising the role in the sequel.

The Multiverse of Madness was originally scheduled to open in theaters in the spring of 2021. The studio has now pushed the release date to November of that same year. Director Sam Raimi will be replacing Scott Derrickson at the helm.

‘Doctor Strange 2’ delayed

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Marvel recently announced its plans to delay all of the Phase 4 projects. This includes Doctor Strange 2, though Derrickson believes the delays will turn out to be a good thing.

Taking to Twitter, Derrickson revealed that Doctor Strange suffered a five-month delay because of Cumberbatch’s busy filming schedule. The extra time allowed Derrickson and his team to flush out the script and figure out the visual effects.

“The pushing of all these big tentpole release dates will increase their overall quality — more time for script & production design development. Blade Runner looks so amazing because Ridley Scott & his team took a year during the 80-81 actors & WGA strikes to perfect the visuals,” Derrickson added.

Marvel was originally slated to kick off Phase 4 with the release of Black Widow in May. That film has been pushed back to November, while The Eternals will now open in theaters in February of 2021.

Fans were pretty disappointed by the delays, but if Derrickson is right, the postponements will result in a better end product.

Everything we know about the ‘Multiverse of Madness’

With Doctor Strange 2 not scheduled to hit theaters until 2021, filming will likely get underway sometime in the fall. Unfortunately, Marvel has been very tight-lipped about the project, though fans have speculated about which villain might appear in the film.

Several villains have been thrown into the discussion, including Nightmare and Mephisto. But some fans believe that Karl Mordo will actually be the main antagonist. We already know that Chiwetel Ejiofor will be reprising his role as Mordo, so it is not that big of a leap to think he will be the villain.

We also know that the events in WandaVision and Loki will have an impact on the Multiverse of Madness. Both of these shows are scheduled to premiere before Doctor Strange 2, so fans will have to wait and see how things unfold.

Marvel has not commented on the reports surrounding Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.