Marvel Studios is inching closer to its latest theatrical release with May's Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which features longtime Hollywood veteran Sam Raimi as director. While Doctor Strange 2 is Raimi's first entry in the expansive Marvel Cinematic Universe, the horror master has a history with some of Marvel's biggest names in film.
That experience came with directing Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man trilogy from 2002 to 2007, bringing the web-slinger to life for the first time alongside Kirsten Dunst's Mary-Jane Watson and Willem Dafoe's Green Goblin. Now, Raimi gets to lead the way on one of the MCU's biggest solo movies in history - one that opens the Multiverse and could bring in potentially dozens of Marvel legacy characters.
Raimi found himself taking on a story that had a great amount of setup, with Doctor Strange having appeared in his first solo movie and four other team-up efforts before Doctor Strange 2. In a recent interview ahead of his latest film's release, the director shared what he had to learn in order to fully prepare himself for his MCU debut as a filmmaker.
Sam Raimi on Learning about MCU History
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness director Sam Raimi spoke with AMC Theaters about the preparation he did for his first MCU movie.
Speaking more broadly about the challenges of making a film like this, Raimi welcomes it because of the way it "puts demands on you as an artist" and how it can be done differently:
“A great job for all to have is to describe the impossible because it really, it puts demands on you as an artist. What could it be like, something I've never seen before, heard before, touched before? How can I describe it to the medium of film?”
He also shared how he had to do his research on the MCU specifically, touching on where the universe was after everything that Thanos did in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame:
“At the same time, I had to become aware of the Avengers lore and where the whole Marvel universe was, where Wong's character was and what the state of the universe was after Thanos.”
Doctor Strange 2 Director Taking Marvel Classes
Sam Raimi is someone that knows his Marvel history as well as almost anybody in the business; after all, he was the one who put a reference to Doctor Strange in Spider-Man 2 a dozen years before Strange got his first solo movie. Even so, the director made sure that he was completely up to speed with the MCU's biggest events leading up to this film, especially with Doctor Strange 2 being an event in and of itself.
His specific mention of Thanos also indicates just how much the world is still feeling the effects of the Mad Titan's universe-altering snap. While it's unclear how much that event will play into the plot of Doctor Strange 2, especially more than a year after The Snap in the MCU timeline, Strange unquestionably has the supervillain in the back of his mind moving forward.
There may not be much time to touch on Thanos' impact with just over two hours in the film's runtime and an entire Multiverse's worth of adventures to touch on in the sequel. Even so, Raimi's preparation should serve him well as he looks to expand on the story that Phase 4 of the MCU is building.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will debut in theaters on May 6.