Sam Raimi In Talks to Direct Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness

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BY February 6, 2020

After a 2 decade break, Sam Raimi is reportedly considering a return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe to direct Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Of course, when he made his Spider-Man films in the early aughts, there wasn’t an MCU yet. But here’s what we know so far, including how he influenced the rise of comic book movies.

There Might Be No MCU If It Weren’t for Sam Raimi

Sam Raimi Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Spider-Man 2002 Image via Sony Pictures

While the Batman films did well, albeit with diminishing returns, the 1990s largely weren’t great for superhero films. They still made them, of course, but they didn’t enjoy the blockbuster success they do today. That all changed, though, when Sam Raimi made Spider-Man (2002).

The project had been in development for over 2 decades, and the studio, Sony Pictures, went through a who’s-who of hot directors before they hired Raimi. Raimi, a fan of Peter Parker since he was a kid, won the job with his enthusiasm. And that joy showed in the first film.

It also showed in its reception. Spider-Man became the first movie in history to earn over $100 million in its first weekend. Nowadays, that almost seems quaint. While the MCU didn’t officially make its debut until 2008, with Iron Man, it’s clear that the precedent was set. Between Raimi’s Spider-Man films and the beginning of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, it was obvious that there was now an audience for well-made superhero movies.

Sam Raimi Now in Talks to Direct Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Sam Raimi Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Gage Skidmore Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr

Marvel Studios has been meeting with Sam Raimi about directing Doctor Strange 2, according to a report from Variety. Scott Derrickson, who directed the original Doctor Strange, quit the sequel last month. Marvel said at the time that Derrickson would not resume his role due to “creative differences.” Derrickson echoed the statement in a tweet, while confirming that he would stay on the project as executive producer.

While Marvel didn’t comment on Raimi’s possible hiring, it would be a boon for the company. In recent years, the studio has made some bold-ish choices in their hiring, picking directors with scant histories. If they hire Raimi, then that would make him the most experienced recent director. (Early directors in the MCU, like Kenneth Branagh and Joe Johnston, also had established careers before they joined.)

What to Expect from Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Sam Raimi Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Parallel Universes Image by Geralt via Pixabay

Although Raimi still isn’t a sure bet–but he probably is–we do have some early details about the sequel. A human being purportedly named Benedict Cumberbatch is reprising his title role, for instance. Benedict Wong and a guy who’s actually not named Benedict, Chiwetel Ejiofor, are also expected to return. In addition, Elizabeth Olsen, the Scarlet Witch, will join the film for a storyline that will connect to her upcoming TV show, WandaVision. Rachel McAdams, however, will not be coming back for the sequel. There is talk, though, that Tilda Swinton will. The film will be a more horror-themed story that will bring the storied concept of the comic book “multiverse” into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Production on the film is scheduled to begin this May, for a May release next year: May 7, 2021. And speaking of this May, that will also be when the MCU returns to theaters with Black Widow. It’s set for May 1. We don’t know, though, if Marvel realized that’s May Day, aka International Workers’ Day, when they set the date for their movie about Natasha Romanoff’s Soviet roots.

We’d love to hear your thoughts. Are you excited about Sam Raimi coming to the MCU? Let us know in the comments below or on social media.

featured image via Marvel Studios

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Salomé Gonstad is a freelance writer who grew up in the swampy wilds of south Alabama. She now splits her time between the Appalachian wilds (of Alabama) and the considerably more refined streets of New York City. When she's not yelling about pop culture on the internet, she's working on a supernatural thriller about her hometown. Also, we're pretty sure she's a werewolf.

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