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SYFY WIRE Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Doctor Strange's 'magic choreographer' explains how magic hand waves work in 'Multiverse of Madness'

There's a purpose behind the action for each and every spell casted by Benedict Cumberbatch.

By Josh Weiss
Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Stephen Strange.

Ever wonder how Marvel Studios developed the unique hand motions for Doctor Strange's spell-casting in the MCU? Well, wonder no more, dear reader! The making-of documentary for Multiverse of Madness — now streaming on Disney+ under the Assembled banner — provides a clear rationale for each and every action taken by the titular Master of the Mystic Arts (Benedict Cumberbatch), as well as the Sorcerer Supreme (Benedict Wong).

This process of creating magical movements is the sole responsibility of Julian Andrews, who holds the rather coveted title of "Magic Choreographer." Come on, who wouldn't want something like that on their resume?! Andrews (whose Marvel credits also include Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame) was brought into the comic book fold when the studio saw his work in a commercial that utilized Tutting, "which is a very niche dance style that uses shapes with hands and arms," he explains in the documentary.

A prime example of how Tutting was adapted for the Marvel Cinematic Universe can be found near the start of the film when Strange takes apart a NYC bus during his fight with Gargantos. "Anytime something involves levitation or movement of matter, this is involved," Andrews says of the sort of "rock on" hand gesture performed by the sorcerer.

"If you see he's flying with his cloak, he's also using [this configurations because] he's the matter. In this [sequence], the bus is the matter and he's connecting to it and then he's just splitting it. In my head, as soon as he's dissected this thing, his energy is already connected to each and every piece. You'll see he chops one of the [tentacles] off 'cause he's dissected it and he's still connected to it. He can just pick one out and chop it; he doesn't have to do another spell or anything [because] he's already connected to it."

"It was a tremendous challenge. It took teams of really great artists," states director Sam Raimi while discussing the amount of effort that went into the Phase 4 adventure. "That was a really exciting challenge to take on: 'Can I — and these teams of artists — make the audience believe that they're taking a journey through multiple universes?'"

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now streaming on Disney+ and available to purchase via digital platforms. The film arrives on DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K Ultra HD Tuesday, July 26 with a maddening amount of bonus features — including a gag reel and director's commentary. Click here for more details. If you're looking for more Doctor Strange content, check out our interviews with screenwriter Michael Waldron and costume designer Graham Churchyard.

Looking for more horror films that will make your spine tingle and blood curdle? You can currently catch Keith Thomas's Stephen King adaptation Firestarter on Peacock and Scott Derrickson's The Black Phone on the big screen. Jordan Peele's NOPE arrives in theaters everywhere on Friday, July 22.