Marvel head honcho Kevin Feige explained that even after Benedict Cumberbatch had agreed to appear, they ultimately cut him because "it would have taken away from Wanda."
Overall, "WandaVision" was a very well-received and satisfying first foray into television for Marvel Studios. An eclectic pastiche of classic sitcoms and classic Marvel fisticuffs, there was one major cameo fans kept anticipating -- and it turns out they almost got it.
Talking with Rolling Stone, Marvel boss Kevin Feige told the outlet that they definitely had plans to include Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange in the series, which focused on the titular Wanda Maximoff (now better known as Scarlet Witch) and her android paramour Vision.
In the case of "WandaVision," Feige said that they got as far as striking a deal with Cumberbatch for him to make an appearance in the limited series' final episode, but ultimately nixed it because "it would have taken away from Wanda, which is what we didn't want to do."
The decision was such a big change, Rolling Stone detailed that it impacted early production on the "Strange" sequel, as they had to tweak their script to accommodate that cameo appearance not happening.
"We didn’t want the end of the show to be commoditized to go to the next movie," Feige explained. Further, he didn't want Cumberbatch to drop in on Wanda as she's figuring out the full scope of her abilities like, "Here’s the white guy, 'Let me show you how power works.'"
Head writer of "WandaVision," Jac Schaeffer, expounded even further, saying that there was an initial plan for Doctor Strange that would have seen him playing an even bigger role in the through line of the series. It also would have neatly sewn up one of the biggest dangling elements.
From the beginning, "WandaVision's" sitcom reality was interrupted by commercials. They were relevant to each era represented, and they featured the same couple shilling products clearly related to Wanda's trauma in that week's installment. But then they just kind of went away and never really amounted to much.
This was a huge letdown for some fans, who were certain the ads were more than just another enigmatic clue into Wanda's psyche at that moment.
As it turns out, there was a plan for them to actually be Doctor Strange's attempts to communicate with Wanda through this protective world she'd built around herself. He was even intended to appear in one of them as the series progressed, making his message even more direct.
Wanda and Doctor Strange will finally meet up when she joins him for "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" in theaters March 25, 2022.