When Doctor Strange director/co-writer Scott Derrickson recently revealed that he would not be returning to helm the 2017 superhero film’s sequel due to those ever pesky “creative differences”, some may have thought that the Marvel Cinematic Universe production was in trouble. Well, there’s no trouble anymore as both Variety and Deadline report that Sam Raimi is in talks to take over as director on the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and you could not have asked for a more perfect choice!
Raimi first burst onto the scene with his gory, shoestring-budget horror Evil Dead, which he shot and financed with family and friends in 1981. The schlocky film became a huge cult hit, and Raimi would go on to make two more sequels, but this time changing things up from horrific nightmares to campy blood-soaked fun. On top of making everything from westerns to crime thrillers to romantic dramas, Raimi would also dabble in the superhero business for the first time in 1990 with the criminally underappreciated Darkman. It was his second shot at the genre that was the most important though.
When Sony launched their Spider-Man trilogy with Toby Maguire for the big screen in 2002, they picked Raimi to helm. The film would not only prove to be massive with critics and at the box office, but it’s no hyperbole to say that without it’s trailblazing, the comic book superhero movie genre would be nowhere near as mainstream and successful as it is today. Raimi’s Spider-Man 2 is still hailed as one of the best comic book movies of all time. Yes, Spider-Man 3 was a wreck but that wasn’t really Raimi’s fault as Sony’s execs ran roughshod over his plans and forced him to include all sorts of elements he disagreed with, like the much-maligned Venom storyline. That the film is still watchable to any degree is because of Raimi.
After the Spider-Man trilogy wrapped in 2007, Raimi stepped behind the camera again only rarely, preferring to produce and write rather than direct. With his proven skills with horror, comedy, and big-budget superhero spectacle though, it’s like Raimi was custom-made for the upcoming Doctor Strange follow-up. Marvel boss Kevin Feige previously said that the sequel would have a PG-13 horror feel, which is something that Raimi excels at. We’ve also heard how this film will be central to Marvel’s future plans (both the WandaVision and Loki series on Disney+ will tie into it, and there are rumours that it will introduce characters like Clea, Brother Voodoo, and Miss America to the MCU) and having a respected, fan-favourite veteran like Raimi in charge will not only boost the confidence of fans but actually get them even more excited than before. I know I am.
Raimi will have to hit the ground running though as production on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is expected to start in May for a 7 May 2021 release date. The sequel will see Benedict Cumberbatch reprise his titular role as the Sorcerer Supreme, while WandaVision’s Elizabeth Olsen will co-star in some capacity as Wanda Maximoff aka Scarlet Witch. It’s expected that Benedict Wong and Chiwetel Ejiofor will also be back as Wong and Mordo respectively, but Rachel McAdams will not be reprising her role as Strange’s medical colleague Christine Palmer.
Last Updated: February 6, 2020