Benedict Cumberbatch is in for arguably his best half-year run to date in the MCU going from December 2021 to May 2022. This year, he'll lead the way in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which is already building substantial hype ahead of its debut. He also ended last year with Spider-Man: No Way Home, where Doctor Strange's botched spell helped lead to, currently, the sixth-best box office haul in movie history.
Cumberbatch was one of the earliest confirmed additions in No Way Home. He'd become the third MCU mainstay to team up with Tom Holland's Spidey after Robert Downey Jr. in Spider-Man: Homecoming and Samuel L. Jackson in Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Fans had just a glimpse into what Marvel was planning for the Spider-Man threequel once Cumberbatch jumped on board, as Jamie Foxx's Electro was the only other rumored inclusion at the time. That helped kick off an avalanche of leaks and announcements over the next year, leading to No Way Home being the biggest cinematic experience in a long time.
Even being no stranger to huge movies, Cumberbatch got to play an intricate role in No Way Home as the threequel blew away audiences and critics alike.
While discussing his excitement about his second solo adventure, the star also touched on a bit of doubt he had in regards to No Way Home doing what it did culturally.
Benedict Cumberbatch on Doubting No Way Home
In an interview with Empire, Doctor Strange actor Benedict Cumberbatch looked back on the success of Spider-Man: No Way Home while sharing his excitement for the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Addressing the switch in directors from Scott Derrickson to Sam Raimi on Multiverse of Madness, Cumberbatch could only say that fans' heads are "going to be spun" while looking at its release. He also hinted at how much Raimi's fingerprints are on the film after he took over directing duties from Scott Derrickson:
“Once it became Sam, it was always about making it a Sam Raimi picture. Your head’s going to be spun."
Empire also released a new still image from the sequel featuring Strange, Benedict Wong's Wong, and Xochitl Gomez's America Chavez. The three were said to be deep into an important conversation as Wong sports a new outfit too.
Looking back to his time making No Way Home, Cumberbatch didn't hide that he had his doubts about the chatter that was building behind the scenes.
Specifically mentioning what Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said about "the future of cinema." the actor didn't want to buy too much into the hype behind No Way Home. In the end, he admitted to being ignorant about the matter:
“I think when Kevin Feige first said, ‘We’ll know about the future of cinema, or the cinemagoing experience, after this film,’ I was like, ‘Okay, everyone’s drinking too much of the Kool-Aid around here. My ignorance was showed up.”
No Stopping No Way Home
Even though fans doubted at one point that Marvel Studios would get to make a third Spider-Man movie, there was eventually no question about what No Way Home could do upon its debut. The most surprising part of it all was how those expectations were just the precursor to what would become the defining event of the year upon its debut.
Being a part of a film that literally brought three generations of Spider-Man stories together, Cumberbatch certainly saw signs of what could be a movie that could separate itself from the pack. It seems mostly that he was trying to remain professional on the matter, regardless of how exciting it was, or he could've simply been trying to stay on task and do the best job he could as Doctor Strange.
The reception for No Way Hone clearly floored Cumberbatch as the outing broke box-office records and became one of the best critically-reviewed movies of the era, all in the span of a few days in December. He is now part of an elite class of stars with multiple billion-dollar blockbusters under his belt, and he realized how blind he was to the inevitable with No Way Home's success.
Now, he looks ahead to potentially another round of this mayhem with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which already has the internet ablaze thanks to its trailer from Super Bowl LVI.
He praised Sam Raimi's impact on the film after the directorial switch; Raimi's influence is seen in a big way after his past superhero movie success on the 2000s Spider-Man trilogy. Cumberbatch specifically described fans' heads spinning when the sequel comes out, and with what came through in that Super Bowl trailer, spinning heads could be the least of what happens.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is now playing in theaters worldwide. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will arrive on May 6, 2022.