Scott Derrickson’s Marvel replacement may be an old hand at superhero cinema. Variety exclusively reports that Sam Raimi is in talks with Marvel to direct Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Raimi helped start the superhero movie boom of the 2000s with Spider-Man in 2002 and its two sequels. Before his foray into web-slinging, he directed Darkman, a superhero film not based on a comic book or other source material. Outside of masked crime-fighters, Raimi is best known for the Evil Dead horror trilogy; he also directed the excellent Western The Quick and the Dead, and the outstanding noir crime film A Simple Plan. Derrickson left the sequel to 2016’s Doctor Strange due to Hollywood’s favorite catchall phrase, “creative differences.” Benedict Cumberbatch will return as the Sorcerer Supreme, as will Benedict Wong as fellow sorcerer Wong and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Baron Mordo; they’ll be joined by Elizabeth Olsen, reprising her Marvel role as Scarlet Witch. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is set to begin filming in May of this year, with a release date of May 7, 2021.
I certainly didn’t expect to hear Sam Raimi’s name as a potential MCU director. The Variety article correctly observes that Marvel tends to hire less-experienced filmmakers, likely in no small part because their price tags will be significantly lower than someone of Raimi’s pedigree. If they’re willing to spend enough to get the director of Spider-Man on board, they must want someone with a peculiar vision and style, making the most out of the “madness” aspect of Doctor Strange’s multiverse adventure. Bringing in someone as beloved in the geek community as Sam Raimi is will also counter a lot of the misgivings fans have over Derrickson’s exit; when moviegoers doubt your commitment to making a horror-tinged superhero movie, hiring the Evil Dead guy will go a long way towards assuaging their fears. We can also be sure that, if this comes to pass, Doctor Strange will take a hefty beating in the sequel – likely including getting hit head-on by a magical energy blast tracked in a point-of-view shot – and that Ted Raimi and, God willing, Bruce Campbell will show up somewhere. (Imagine Strange finding himself in a hellish realm, and he spies Mephisto sitting on his throne, who grins and says, “Hail to the king, baby.”) As an aside, I was disappointed to read in Variety’s piece that Rachel McAdams won’t be returning as Christine Palmer; I liked her in the first one, and she was an essential part of Doctor Strange’s development, so her absence is unfortunate. Whether this is McAdams’ decision or Marvel’s isn’t known yet, but if the latter, it’s confusing, as Kevin Feige has taken to bloviating about the female presence in the MCU going forward. Is it because he can’t figure out how to have her become the new Sorcerer Supreme? I didn’t appreciate how they swept Betty Ross under the rug after The Incredible Hulk, and I hope they’re not doing the same thing here. Cool news about Sam Raimi, though.
Would you like to see Sam Raimi direct Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness? Are you bummed that Rachel McAdams isn’t returning? What are the chances that Doctor Strange encounters the Necronomicon? Let us know in the comments and stick around Geeks + Gamers for more Marvel movie news!