Scott Derrickson has called it quits for the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe film, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness slated for release in 2021.

In a statement issued to Variety, Marvel Studios cited “creative differences” as the reason for Derrickson exiting the project.

The statement reads, “Marvel Studios and Scott Derrickson have amicably parted ways on ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ due to creative differences.”

It continues, “We remain grateful to Scott for his contributions to the MCU.”

Related: Rumor: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Will Introduce The Illuminati

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – JULY 20: Benedict Cumberbatch of Marvel Studios’ ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ at the San Diego Comic-Con International 2019 Marvel Studios Panel in Hall H on July 20, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

Derrickson issued his own statement on Twitter, “Marvel and I have mutually agreed to part ways on Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness due to creative differences. I am thankful for our collaboration and will remain on as EP.”

While the news seems shocking, Derrickson might have provided a hint back in December, when he wrote on Twitter, “Studio release dates are the enemy of art.”

A day later he would quote David Lean, “You can make a bad film from a good script, but you can’t make a good film from a bad script.”

Related: Rumor: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness To Introduce OG Nick Fury

According to Variety, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is set for production in May and isn’t expected to have any delays. However, with this recent news, naturally the studio is now searching for a director. Derrickson will still serve as Executive Producer according to his statement.

Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness was originally planned as Marvel’s horror entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Benedict Cumberbatch is expected to reprise his role as Stephen Strange, and would be joined by Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff.

The film was expected to tie in with upcoming WandaVision show on Disney Plus and fully feature a multiverse in the MCU.

Creative Differences

Source: Doctor Strange

The citing of creative differences happens all the time between studios and directors. Collin Trevorrow  recently split ways with Disney and Lucasfilm for Star Wars Episode IX. In fact, Lucasfilm has split was with a number of directors due to creative differences.

Phil Lord and Chris Miller also cited their approach to the Solo film clashed with Lawrence Kasdan’s, and that led to their departure from the director’s chair.

Doctor Strange’s Villains

Just before Marvel Studios and Derrickson announced they were separating due to creative differences, a new rumor emerged that indicated Marvel Studios was looking for two villains, one a 30-40 any ethnicity female and the other a 30-40 African American villain.

Related: Doctor Strange 2 Villains Revealed

Discussing Film speculated those villains could be Nightmare and either Lilith or Morgan Le Fay.

Doctor Strange writer C. Robert Cargill previously revealed Nightmare would be the main villain in a Doctor Strange sequel.

After Cargill’s confirmation a rumor began swirling in September that there might be a gender swapped version of the Nightmare villain starring Eva Green for the upcoming film.

Rumor: Marvel Studios to Gender Swap Nightmare with Eva Green for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

What caused the rift between what Derrickson saw for the film versus what the studio wanted is unclear. They did have a bit of a task in trying to tie-in a streaming series with the movie. Luckily, production did not start on the film yet. Which means all of this happened at the back end of development. But they will need to get that director’s chair filled out soon.

We’ll be keeping an eye on it in the meantime.