It’s been 8 months since Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness cast a spell in theaters worldwide, and we are still learning the whole picture about the making of the film. During the second act, when Strange was visiting Earth-838, he came across a team of superheroes that called themselves The Illuminati, in one of the most memorable (and anticipated) sequences in the film. Rumors about the group of heroes appearing in the film had been circulating for a while before it came out, but there was one character in particular that didn’t make the final cut that was heavily rumored to be appearing in the film, Balder the Brave.
A new behind-the-scenes image has emerged, originating from Elizabeth Olsen’s stunt double for the film, CC Ice on Instagram. The image was later shared on the Marvel Studios subreddit account (h/t ComingSoon). The new set image appears to reveal Balder, who was a character that did not make it into the final cut of the film:
WHO WAS GOING TO PLAY BALDER THE BRAVE IN DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS?
Balder the Brave is Thor’s half-brother in the Marvel comics who would have probably wielded Mjolnir in Earth-838. According to the film’s costume designer, Graham Churchyard, while speaking to PhaseZero, the team went really far into designing the look for the character, but they were waiting on the final casting to put the final touches.
Based on the new set picture, the production team behind the Doctor Strange sequel went way beyond the design stage, as the character did make it in front of the camera during production, probably played by a stand-in. Balder was probably edited out of the movie when they couldn’t find an actor to play him.
Rumors circulated for a long time about Daniel Craig being in line to play the character. In fact, concept artist Darrell Warner posted on Instagram a watercolor concept art image of Craig as the Asgardian, and in the comments, stunt double Peter Theobalds (@strangelysaucy), who is credited in the film, said that he went as far as to put on the costume during Balder’s death scene, which was ultimately cut.
It’s assumed that Craig was likely unavailable to play the character (apparently, he may have had COVID at the time Marvel wanted him), and they simply decided to cut the character from the narrative. Speaking to Josh Horowitz on the Happy Sad Confused podcast, Craig played coy about his meant-to-be involvement in the Doctor Strange sequel. He did add, though, that he would be up to join the MCU if the opportunity came his way (and probably is the one depicted in the image above).
WHAT OTHER CHARACTERS WERE CUT OUT OF DOCTOR STRANGE 2?
According to concept art designs, at some point in early development, the Illuminati roster was to have included an Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger variant, though very few details have emerged about him. Tom Cruise was long rumored to be playing Superior Iron Man, but that turned out to be completely made up by online fans. Additionally, screenwriter Michael Waldron also said in the audio commentary of the film that Wasp was in the first draft of the script, with Wanda killing her by clapping her hands when Wasp shrunk down to smash her.
The final roster in the film included Patrick Stewart’s Professor X, Hayley Atwell’s Captain Carter, John Krasinski’s Mr. Fantastic, Anson Mount’s Black Bolt, Lashana Lynch’s Captain Marvel, and Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Baron Mordo. Interestingly enough, none of these actors have been confirmed to be playing their respective characters again, in Earth-838 or any other.
Stewart did hint shortly after the movie’s release that he’d be up for returning to play the role, so whatever that might mean for Avengers: Secret Wars, we shall see. But Krasinski is, from all accounts, not going to play the main MCU Reed Richards (he even said recently he hasn’t been approached by Marvel to return).
WHAT’S NEXT FOR DOCTOR STRANGE?
So far, Marvel Studios hasn’t laid out plans for a Doctor Strange threequel, but the character was confirmed to be returning at the end of Multiverse of Madness, and the post-credits scene certainly teased more adventures. And they might include a classic Doctor Strange ally (and romantic interest) in the comics, Clea, played by Charlize Theron.
We will most likely meet them again in the events of Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, if not earlier. While we wait for that, we have some magic to go around the MCU with the upcoming Agatha: Coven of Chaos, currently in production and aiming for a late 2023/early 2024 release.
Additionally, the Disney Plus series Ironheart is confirmed to be utilizing some magical elements and characters as well, with Anthony Ramos set to portray The Hood. It’s possible there might even be the long-awaited appearance of Mephisto.
What do you make of Balder the Brave’s cut appearance from Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness? Do you wish Daniel Craig would have played the character? And what is your most anticipated MCU project? Let us know on our social media!