Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is set to fully explore the concept of alternate realities and will likely explain the rules behind the MCU's multiverse. The sequel will showcase the return of Benedict Cumberbatch's titular sorcerer alongside Elizabeth Olsen's Wanda Maximoff.
The original behind-the-scenes plan for Multiverse of Madness was for Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson to take directing duties, but creative differences led to his departure. It was then revealed that Sam Raimi would take over the directing chair from Derrickson.
Raimi is best known as the director of Tobey Maguire's original Spider-Man trilogy. The veteran filmmaker led 2002's Spider-Man, 2004's Spider-Man 2, and 2007's Spider-Man 3. Many would agree that Spider-Man 3 is the weakest entry of the trilogy, especially after poor reviews from both fans and critics.
The negative reception for Spider-Man 3 denied Raimi the opportunity to direct the planned fourth film for the web-slinger, making the threequel the abrupt finale for both the cast and crew.
Now, Raimi has opened up on why he decided to return to Marvel after the disappointing finish of Spider-Man 3.
Sam Raimi Opens Up About Spider-Man 3
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness director Sam Raimi sat down with Collider to talk about the mental challenges that he faced when considering a return to Marvel filmmaking after handling the poorly-reviewed Spider-Man 3.
Raimi admitted that he didn't know how to face the Marvel challenge again, revealing that it was "so awful" to serve as the director of the Tobey Maguire-led threequel.
"I didn't know that I could face it again because it was so awful, having been the director of Spider-Man 3. The Internet was getting revved up and people disliked that movie and they sure let me know about it. So, it was difficult to take back on."
The veteran filmmaker then revealed the story of how he took the job for the Doctor Strange sequel, admitting that he "always really liked" the Marvel sorcerer while also praising the first movie handled by Scott Derrickson:
"But then, I found out that there was an opening on Doctor Strange 2. My agent called me and said, 'They're looking for a director at Marvel for this movie and your name came up. Would you be interested?' And I thought, 'I wonder if I could still do it.' They're really demanding, those types of pictures. And I felt, 'Well, that's reason enough.' I've always really liked the character of Doctor Strange. He was not my favorite, but he was right up there with the favorites. I loved the first movie, I thought [director] Scott Derrickson did a wonderful job, an incredible job. So, I said, 'Yeah.'"
Raimi finished by saying that he took the job simply because "it just happened:"
They left the character in a great place. I didn't think I would be doing another superhero movie. It just happened."
Sam Raimi's Redemption in Doctor Strange 2
Sam Raimi's latest comment about Spider-Man 3 goes to show his real feelings about the threequel.
Interestingly, this isn't the first time that Raimi described Spider-Man 3 as awful, since he made a similar comment in a previous 2014 interview. When asked about a one-word description for the threequel, Raimi openly said "awful," cementing the fact that the film is the worst of the trilogy.
After a negative reception from the Marvel fanbase, returning to the world of superheroes is definitely a challenge, but Raimi's comeback proved that one bad movie isn't enough to hold a good director down. In a way, taking over a massive sequel like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness should serve as Raimi's redemption story in the context of superhero films.
There's already evidence that Multiverse of Madness is in good hands. The film's lead stars, Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen, both praised the directing prowess of Raimi.
Cumberbatch described the more “creative” feel of the sequel compared to the previous origin story or the first film and the “beasts that were the Avengers films,” whereas Olsen added that Raimi "is a very specific filmmaker" whose "playfulness" allowed her and the director to "discover new things" while making the Doctor Strange sequel.
This is an early sign that the collaboration between the cast and Raimi is in full swing, and it's reasonable to assume that Marvel Studios is also giving him the freedom that he needs to perfectly craft a well-balanced sequel.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is set to premiere in theaters on March 25, 2022.