'Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness' Leans Into Director Sam Raimi's Horror Background

It's hard to believe, but Sam Raimi hasn't directed a movie since 2013's Oz the Great and Powerful, a big box office hit that I'm sure most people completely forgot about. Thankfully, Raimi's long drought will soon be over with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the sequel to 2016's Doctor Strange. And not only will Multiverse of Madness signal Raimi's return to superhero movies, it will also have the filmmaker returning to his horror roots.

In a recent interview, Multiverse of Madness co-writer Michael Waldron confirmed the sequel would have Raimi leaning heavily on horror, and that's something worth getting excited about.

Multiverse of Madness Horror

Helpful Delays 

The COVID-19 pandemic drastically altered standard operating procedures in Hollywood, but in the case of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the delay ended up being a blessing in disguise. Appearing on Friends From WorkDoctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness co-writer Michael Waldron revealed that COVID delays inspired some changes in the story – changes that embrace Raimi's horror roots.

"COVID just gave me and Sam [Raimi] more time to make it our own thing," said Waldron. "It's cool, I'm glad that there was the chance to maybe push it in a slightly scarier direction, just because Sam does that so well." He added: "[Veering into the horror world is] obviously something that Scott Derrickson, the director of the first movie, does so well, obviously that influence, you feel it even in the first one. Even though it's not a horror movie, there is this sort of spookiness throughout it. It's part of what makes that movie work so well."

Raimi, of course, made a name for himself in the horror genre starting with the Evil Dead films, but he moved on to blockbuster filmmaking with his Spider-Man trilogy. Now, Multiverse of Madness sounds like it's going to blend together those two threads – horror and blockbusters.

"It's a Sam Raimi movie, and it really is," Waldron said "This is Sam Raimi's return to big superhero movies. I think everything you might want out of a Sam Raimi movie, you're hopefully going to get out of this one."

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will continue the Doctor Strange story that began with 2016's Doctor Strange. That film came from director Scott Derrickson, and at first, Derrickson was also attached to helm the sequel. But he eventually departed due to creative differences, and Marvel turned to Sam Raimi to take over.

The sequel will have Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange "continuing research on the Time Stone," only to to have that research "hindered by a friend-turned-enemy, resulting in Strange unleashing unspeakable evil." Elizabeth Olsen will appear as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch, and we'll be picking up with her story  after the events of WandaVisionBenedict Wong, Rachel McAdams, and Chiwetel Ejiofor are also on board, reprising their roles from the first film. And hopefully, McAdams will actually have something to do this time. Also part of the cast is Xochitl Gomez, who is playing Marvel character America Chavez.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness opens on March 25, 2022.