For the most part, every frame of every film is the culmination of an incredible amount of work done behind the scenes in pre-production. It’s a complicated process that some find daunting and the most laborious part of making a film. Marvel Studios films are typically full of visual spectacles that fans don’t see until they’re fully realized after dozens and dozens of hours of work by concept artists. However, for every piece of concept art that makes it through pre-production, there are countless more that don’t when the scenes they are created for are cut either from the script or end up on the editing room floor.
In that regard, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness may have been one of the most maddening films for concept artists whose work was never adapted to the finished product. Originally, the film was set to be directed by Scott Derrickson and it is very likely that a good deal of pre-production work was done before he departed the project. Sam Raimi took over the film with writer Michael Waldron and the two went to work on creating an entirely different film which meant all new concept art had to be created. At the heart of the film was a MacGuffin known as the Book of Vishanti, a magical tome that Multiverse of Madness co-producer Richie Palmer described as “a magical book that gives— if you’re good, it will give you the power you need to defeat any bad. It will fight the Darkhold; it is good, and it is pure.”
The film wasted no time introducing the Book of Vishanti as fans were thrown into the middle of America Chavez and a Variant Doctor Strange’s pursuit of the tome in the opening scene. With the Darkhold-influenced Scarlet Witch after Chavez’s powers, the Book of Vishanti, which Palmer described as the “greatest power of good” in the Multiverse became Chavez’s best hope at survival because it served as the antithesis of the Darkhold.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Book of Vishanti. It exists in the space between universes, and is not for any one sorcerer to wield or keep as their own. The Darkhold has the quality about it where you want to possess it and you want to keep it. The Book of Vishanti is the opposite. It’s for everyone and all sorcerers.Richie Palmer
In the Marvel Comics, the book was created by Agamotto, the first Sorcerer Supreme of Earth. Agamotto was the son of the Elder God Oshtur and with her and the alien god, Hoggoth, formed a trio of god-like beings known as the Vishanti. Over centuries, the Vishanti became the guardians of Earth and its Sorcerers Supreme. Having served as Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme, Stephen Strange has come face-to-face with the group before and thanks to some newly located concept art created by Aaron Black, it seems that the idea for him to meet up with them in Multiverse of Madness was tossed around at one point.
Obviously, the Vishanti didn’t make the final cut and all that can be done is to speculate about what Strange’s visit to them might have entailed. The concept art for the trio is stunning, however, and given the importance the Vishanti play in the comics, it would not be surprising to see the idea revisited somewhere down the road.