Sam Raimi Returns To Marvel

April 6th, 2022Sam Raimi Returns To Marvel


When DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS opens in May at AMC Theatres, it will officially mark the end of Sam Raimi’s 15-year superhero movie drought, a period that began following the release of SPIDER-MAN 3.

In an exclusive interview with AMC Theatres, the visionary director, who helped usher in a new era of comic book movies with his landmark SPIDER-MAN trilogy just like he did with horror 20 years earlier with the EVIL DEAD franchise, discussed his longtime admiration of the Doctor Strange character, why he came back to the genre after all these years, and the challenges that he took head-on during the planning stages and production of the upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movie.

Sam Raimi Didn’t Think A Doctor Strange Movie Was Possible

Despite admitting that Doctor Strange has long been one of his favorite comic book characters, Sam Raimi never imagined the magical superhero would get his own movie, let alone two. And while there’s a good chance modern comic book movie fans immediately recognize the character played by Benedict Cumberbatch and hold him in high regard alongside some of the other superheroes, this wasn’t always the case, as Raimi pointed out.

“He was like a second or third tier character for Marvel. Obviously, their big popular names were Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, The Avengers, Captain America, Thor. And because none of those other movies were being made, I actually never imagined they would make a Doctor Strange movie. Just seemed far from possible.”

But a lot has changed since Doctor Strange was introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe back in 2016, and now more obscure characters are becoming major players in the expanded cinematic universe, which is something Raimi is thrilled about.

Raimi On ‘Superhero Overdose’ And Coming Back To Marvel

After releasing three successful SPIDER-MAN films in the span of five years, you would expect Sam Raimi to take a much-needed break to figure things out. However, the prolific filmmaker has only released two movies since 2007, with the most recent being OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL in 2013. When discussing his long absence from the big screen over the past decade, Raimi described it as “superhero overdose,” a feeling that was brought on by the production of the Tobey Maguire trilogy that slowly began to wear off over time.

“I haven’t seen all the movies, all the Marvel movies because after making three of the SPIDER-MAN movies, I had a little superhero overdose and I had to get away from them for a bit; but I saw IRON MAN. I was blown away with the characters and the great direction. And then I saw the first AVENGERS movie and I thought they really are finally bringing Stan Lee and Steve Ditko’s great visions to the screen.”

But admiring comic book movies and joining a production of one are two completely different things, and it sounds like Raimi needed a little push to reenter the world he helped revolutionize two decades ago. Luckily for him and the rest of us, the stars aligned during the early development days of DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS.

“I heard that Marvel was in a jam and they, their director had fallen out, Scott Derrickson, due to creative differences and they had to shoot right away and the script needed work. And that’s the kind of job I like, with challenges. I thought it would be really interesting. So I wondered how making movies of that size had changed since I last embarked on one in 2013.”

When given the opportunity, Raimi said he was going to step back into the pilot’s seat and was ready to be dropped into the cockpit for this mind-bending superhero epic.

The Challenges Presented In The Multiverse Of Madness

Going into DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS, Sam Raimi knew that he, the actors, and entire crew would face some challenges before the movie was finished, but that was part of the process he enjoyed quite thoroughly. With the Multiverse not yet having been shown in the Marvel Cinematic Universe by the time they started production on the movie, Raimi and his crew were given the freedom to describe that which is impossible or doesn’t exist and translate it to film.

And while some would be scared of jumping into the unknown, especially with so much riding on it, Raimi saw this as a great job for anyone in the industry because of those challenges.

“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?”

Another challenge that presented itself during the early planning stages of DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS was making a movie that was its own thing but also connected to various movies and shows within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially with characters like Wanda Maximoff having prominent roles in the upcoming multi-dimensional adventure. And then there are the lingering effects of Thanos’ master plan coming to fruition in AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR and its unraveling in 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.”

In order to pull this off, Raimi had to absorb all kinds of knowledge about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, its characters, and biggest events so that he could make the next logical installment in the ever-expanding franchise. But as is the case with the other challenges, this too was something Raimi really, really liked.

You will be able to see all the work Sam Raimi put into DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS when it opens this May at AMC Theatres nationwide.


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