It seems like a million years ago already but it was only in February that reports surfaced about Marvel Studios possibly approaching legendary director Sam Raimi to take over Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Raimi — director of the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man trilogy and mastermind of the Evil Dead franchise — was said to be in talks to helm the Sorcerer Supreme’s second solo adventure following the departure of the first Doctor Strange’s director, Scott Derrickson, last year.
There has been little news on the Doctor Strange 2 front since then, except for a release date shift and a report that pre-production was still underway despite Hollywood’s shutdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. Raimi, however, pretty much confirmed that he was directing Doctor Strange 2 earlier today on a conference call to promote his new Quibi series, 50 States of Fright.
Asked whether he ever thought he’d be directing a Doctor Strange movie after referencing the character in his second Spider-Man outing, Raimi responded, “I loved Doctor Strange as a kid, but he was always after Spider-Man and Batman for me. He was probably like Number Five for me. Great comic book character. He was so original.”
Raimi continued, “But no, when we had that moment in (Spider-Man 2), I had no idea that we would ever be making a Doctor Strange movie. So it was really funny to me also that coincidentally, that line was in (the Spider-Man movie). That’s all I’ve got to say. I wish I had the foresight to know that I was gonna be involved in the project.”
The moment in Spider-Man 2 that Raimi mentioned was a scene in which Daily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons) and his assistant Hoffman (Ted Raimi) are trying to come up with a catchy name for new villain Dr. Otto Octavius. Hoffman suggests, “Doctor Strange,” to which Jameson replies, “That’s pretty good…but it’s taken!”
Marvel itself has not officially confirmed Raimi as the director of Doctor Strange 2, and Raimi’s somewhat circumspect remarks do leave the slightest bit of wiggle room — note that he mentions being “involved” with the project without directly confirming that he’s directing it. But this is the closest we’ve gotten to a confirmation so far, and with the coronavirus situation putting the brakes on so much of the normal film news cycle these days, we’ll take it.
We’ll have more from Raimi later this week on 50 States of Fright, which has premiered this week on Quibi with a story directed by Raimi himself, called “The Golden Arm.” As for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it is currently set to open in theaters on November 5, 2021.