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The Real Reason The Wanda And Doctor Strange Variants All Look The Same

One of the major consistencies throughout Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been the franchise's focus on the multiverse, which has often centered around alternate versions of our favorite heroes. We've seen this concept explored in Disney+ series like "What If...?" and "Loki," and in feature films like "Spider-Man: No Way Home" and "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness." In each of these projects, we meet different versions of iconic MCU heroes from a variety of parallel universes, often looking extremely different than the variants we know and love.

Consider, for example, the three strikingly different versions of Peter Parker (played by Tom Holland, Andrew Garfield, and Tobey Maguire) we see in "No Way Home" or the scene in "Loki" where we meet several unique versions of the eponymous antihero, including one who is literally an alligator. Because Marvel has been so creative with their usage of alternate heroes thus far, it seems a bit confusing that "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" did not continue this trend. Indeed, every alternate version of Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) that we meet looks the same as their Earth-616 counterpart. As it happens, there's actually a pretty simple and practical explanation for this multiversal inconsistency. 

The filmmakers didn't want to sideline Olsen and Cumberbatch

During a recent interview on Empire's "Spoiler Special" podcast (via The Direct), producer Richie Palmer revealed that the decision to make each variant of Wanda and Doctor Strange look the same was the result of not wanting to waste the talents of their exceptional lead actors. "I think the truth is, we had a two-hour movie to tell the story, and we have Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen, who are literally two of the great actors of our time, let alone superhero movies, and we weren't going to squander them," Palmer explained.

Palmer also made a reference to the fact that the universes we see within "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" are not that far off from our own, and as such, these variants of Wanda and Doctor Strange look just like the ones we've come to know throughout the years. "As we get further and further away from 616, our base universe of the MCU, I think there's room for even the most stalwart characters, like a Steve Rogers, to maybe not look like Chris Evans," said Palmer.

As disappointing as it may be that we weren't given any unique iterations of Wanda or Doctor Strange in a film about the limitless possibilities of the multiverse, it makes complete sense for the team to want their lead actors to remain involved throughout the whole film. That said, Palmer certainly made it clear that there is a universe out there where our favorite characters have vastly different appearances — and perhaps we'll be able to see that universe as the MCU digs itself deeper and deeper into the secrets of the multiverse.