After Scott Derrickson and Marvel parted ways on the production of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the sequel to Derrickson’s 2016 effort that brought Benedict Cumberbatch‘s take on the Sorcerer Supreme to life, fans began to ask just what might be the creative strife that caused such a sudden split – the kind of public divorce that the MCU hasn’t seen since Edgar Wright walked off of Ant-Man.
Either way, Marvel was in need of someone to step in, and all due respect to Peyton Reed who has done mostly passable work with Scott Lang and co., hopes weren’t particularly high that Marvel would be able to pull miracle out of their pocket. Personally, I figured they’d nab some mediocre horror director and that would be that. But the universe has a way of surprising you, and it did so while I was in the middle of watching Birds of Prey last night.
As it turns out, Kevin Feige decided to team up with perhaps the best possible replacement in Sam Raimi to take the reins on this new Stephen Strange adventure. Yes, that’s right, the man who helped kick off the current superhero movie craze almost 20 years ago is now actively in talks to come back to Marvel (this time under Disney instead of Sony) and take on the Steve Ditko‘s other major co-creation for the publisher.
While Raimi has been off the radar, beyond some directorial work on the now no longer with us Ash vs. Evil Dead series his last big screen effort was the not very good (though I think more fun than it gets credit for) Oz: The Great and Powerful, he’s largely one of the more exciting filmmakers that could have been approached for this project. Think about the combo here, #1) He gets that nervy, paranoid energy of the Ditko Marvel comics better than any filmmaker I’ve seen, #2) When he’s playing in the horror genre, he’s one of the best: from the first Evil Dead to Drag Me To Hell, there’s really nobody better at that in your face, gross-out, action driven style. While this Doctor Strange sequel will of course be PG-13, Raimi has worked within those constraints and even hearkened back to his roots at times – remember that awesome Doctor Octopus sequence in the hospital? I can just see the trailer now and I’m already getting excited.
There hasn’t been much other news regarding the plot, or anything else. We do know that Elizabeth Olsen‘s Scarlet Witch will be the co-star here, tumbling out of the events of the WandaVision series on Disney+, and Rachel McAdams will not be returning for the sequel.
Anyhow, perhaps this is the universe finally correcting for the Edgar Wright debacle, Raimi is right there with Chloe Zhao, Taiki Waititi and Ryan Coogler as among the best filmmakers that the studio has hired, and unlike that trio, he’s worked with Marvel characters before to great success.
Yeah, yeah, Spider-Man 3…whatever, there are parts of that movie that are still more artful than a lot of the superhero rank and file we get these days. Remember that haunting Sandman bit?
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits theaters on May 7, 2021.