“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”: The Epic Battle of the Musical Notes

[RELATED: Stephen Strange’s Hello and Goodbye to the Love of His Life, Christine Palmer]

Strange discovers the guardian of this universe – “Sinister Strange”, who guards the Darkhold (the Book of the Damned). While talking to Sinister Strange, Doctor Strange learns that this version of himself mirrors the Scarlet Witch and is her most tragic alternate. Sinister Strange sought out the Darkhold so he could find a universe where he could be happy – the one he was destined to be with Christine Palmer. However, with each universe he encountered, he discovered that all of his other characters were just as unlucky as he was, and in a sinister act he decided to put them all out of their misery. If 616’s Strange ever dreamed of falling off a building, Sinister Strange takes the blame. Sinister Strange then offers a good deal – he will give Doctor Strange the Darkhold if Strange gives him Christine Palmer, who is currently waiting outside Sanctum Santorum. As expected, Strange doesn’t agree to the trade, resulting in an all-out magical battle using literal musical notes.

Reflecting on the stage, during a first visit to the set, titular star Benedict Cumberbatchwho plays both Doctor Strange and Sinister Strange, revealed, “I’m really excited for [fans]selfishly, to see them together on the screen where you have Sinister Strange and our weird cat and mouse, to find out who the other one is and whether to trust them.

“Anything that overflows is used from this point on,” Cumberbatch continued. “This fight, in particular, is a very, very fresh take on what this magic can do.”

More recently, Marvel.com had the opportunity to talk about the director Sam Raimi on the genesis of this scene. “We wanted to do something amazing because we had Doctor Strange versus Sinister Strange,” Raimi shared. “We didn’t want them throwing punches at each other, and we didn’t even want their classic spells clashing. We wanted something we hadn’t seen before. I thought it would be really cool if they used music as a weapon against each other.

“With the help of my excellent screenwriter Doug Lefler, we developed a sequence,” Raimi revealed. “So many people contributed to it, including Bryan Andrews, the director of What if…? We had to design the musical notes in a way that would really have a dramatic impact on screen, so Kevin [Feige] helped me get Bryan on board to design the colors and appearance of the notes so they really had a special feel.

The visual element was only one facet of this battle of musical notes; Raimi also sought the advice of his longtime collaborator, the composer Danny Elfmanwhich culminated in the “Deadly Symphonies”.

“When Sam first described it to me, I said to Sam, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ Elfman shared with Marvel.com. After Raimi shot the scene, he came back towards Elfman to show him exactly what he meant.

“Literally, not metaphorically, these notes fly off the page,” Elfman remarked. “It was working various classic pieces against each other; kind of famous plays. Then, at the very 59th minute of the 11th hour, at the very end, Kevin Feige stepped in and said to just simplify Beethoven versus Bach. I did another pass where it was Beethoven’s ‘5th Symphony’ versus Bach’s ‘Toccata and Fugue’. It really worked perfectly.

“It was a very novel use of an environment,” Cumberbatch told Marvel.com of the final sequence. “It was Strange desperately looking for what was there. It was a lot of fun to do. There was a point where it became a bit like a weird tennis match. I was like, ‘No, it has to be more inventive. We have to blow it up and we have to use different elements. I came up with the ideas for the sound effects, splitting them up and putting them back together. The notes were hitting Sinister Strange like some kind of bullet dotting him, then there was a note that would go into a ball that had to explode.”

Watch the Battle of the Musical Notes come to life on the big screen as Marvel Studios Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is out in theaters now!

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is NOW in theaters. Tickets now available!

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