Doctor Strange 2 Director Sam Raimi Says He Made A Marvel Movie First, And A Sam Raimi Movie Second [Exclusive]

After revolutionizing the superhero movie genre twenty years ago with the seminal "Spider-Man," acclaimed filmmaker Sam Raimi returns to theaters this summer with another tale of suspense based on another Marvel Comics hero. This time around, rather than swinging around New York City with the friendly neighborhood web-slinger, the modern horror master is applying his craft by universe-hopping with Benedict Cumberbatch's Master of the Mystic Arts in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness."

Although, with his status as an auteur, would working within the confines of the Marvel Cinematic Universe hinder Raimi's creative process? After all, we've heard the stories from Edgar Wright, Patty Jenkins, and Ava DuVernay about not seeing eye to eye creatively with the House of Ideas. The writer and director behind the "Evil Dead" franchise recently gave some us some insight into his approach to the Sorcerer Supreme's (and I guess Dr. Stephen Strange's) next feature film.

New toys

While speaking to /Film's own Jacob Hall in our recent interview with him, Sam Raimi discussed what it was like for him to work on the upcoming Phase Four movie. First, while it's well documented that he's a massive comic book fan, he didn't really set out to add a bunch of his favorite characters or story arcs into the mix. Instead, he ended up focusing on playing with all the super cool new toys that Marvel Studios had just added to their toy box:

"[What you see] was really the look we were after. Everything else really came out of the storylines from the previous Marvel movies, as far as setting us up to where our movie would go. It wasn't about 'Hey, let's bring in a favorite character' because we had so many characters that we had to service that there really was no room for anything else except to recognize what they needed and do them justice."

Trust the process

Raimi went on to compare the collaborative process with Marvel to being an architect working with a firm. Rather than having more free reign as a freelancer, you are tasked with certain jobs when you're part of a firm and are called upon to use your unique skills when called for. At the end of the day, he was able to stretch and exercise some filmmaking muscles that he doesn't often get to use versus the ones he used with "Spider-Man" or "Darkman": 

"It was a really exciting thing for me to do because usually ... I'm like if I was an architect, I would design unique buildings and try and scare them with this one and thrill them with that one. But this job [...], it's more like this is an existing series with established characters and a fan base. And the job is to complete mile 16 of a bridge that had been under construction for 15 years. And it takes a different set of skills to do that. It's got to work with what went before. It's got to lead into what's coming. It's got to be handled to hold the same audience expectations that those other films did. It's got a great bunch of challenges that are unique to this particular job and it was great to exercise those muscles."

Sam I am

Finally, if his comments cause long-time fans to worry that "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" won't feature his signature flair, guess again. Even though things didn't work out in the MCU for Wright, Jenkins, or DuVernay, Raimi seems to have had an experience closer to Taika Waititi, James Gunn, and Ryan Coogler, who were all able to let their voices shine while making a few of the most memorable superhero movies in recent history. 

And even though he works within the parameters of Marvel's massive multiversal story, it sounds like he still manages to keep things feeling like a uniquely Sam Raimi film — mostly by virtue of this being a film made by him. His plan wasn't to specifically put a "Sam Raimi" stamp on the "Doctor Strange" sequel. Rather, it became am example of his signature style just by him working on it:

"No, that was never the plan. It was always to do justice to that which existed and to make a great experience moving forward and to set up future films. I think just any time a director reads a book or reads the screenplay and tells the crew what the part of it is, that is their style imprint. Just looking at it through the lens of your own mind's eye, imparts your style to a piece and your sense of pace about [how] the scene should run and focusing on what's important and what's dramatic — just those choices. Sticking with the Marvel universe, that really was how I approached it."

You can see the fruits of Sami Raimi's labor when "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" hits theaters on May 6, 2022.