Shang-Chi Director Teases Why Doctor Strange Isn’t Involved

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On paper, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings lends itself perfectly to a cameo appearance by Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange. The titular weapon set to be wielded by Tony Leung’s Mandarin is mystical in nature, and seems like it would be exactly the sort of thing to draw the attention of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Sorcerer Supreme.

Instead, it’s his close cohort Wong that provides some connective tissue to the franchise at large, and the chances are very likely that it may have something to do with Spider-Man: No Way Home. Strange’s involvement in Tom Holland’s third solo outing is already coming under scrutiny after the footage showed him behaving very much out of character, with the old Mephisto speculation being dusted off once more.

While that’s hardly a guarantee we’re actually seeing Marvel Comics’ version of the devil make his debut at long last, it could at least explain why Wong gets involved in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings at the expense of the Master of the Mystic Arts. In a new interview, director Destin Daniel Cretton teased that there’s a reason why Dr. Strange isn’t part of the upcoming martial arts fantasy blockbuster, but he obviously wouldn’t be drawn on specifics.

“I will respond by saying you’re not alone in asking that question and there is a very clear answer to that question. All of those types of, ‘Where people are in the universe at this particular moment’, there are clear reasons why Doctor Strange is not there. I wish we could’ve put Doctor Strange in our movie. But there are very clear reasons why the characters who showed up could show up very briefly, there’s also a very clear reason why they’re not physically in the room. But, all of that is a big conversation with Kevin Feige and the producers and directors who are working on other things.”

Of course, we’ll have a much better idea of what’s been keeping Doctor Strange so occupied when Spider-Man: No Way Home lands in December, but Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is also set to fill in a few of those narrative gaps. Everything in the MCU is connected somehow at the end of the day, but a new mystical element being introduced is sure to tie to the Sanctum Santorum in some fashion.

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