The North Star That Guided The Script For Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness [Exclusive]

Penning the script for an all-encompassing narrative, like the one in the upcoming "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," can indeed be a daunting undertaking. "Multiverse of Madness" writer Michael Waldron told /Film about his sentiments regarding the challenging writing process, and the constant awareness that this had to primarily be a Stephen Strange movie, despite the film's various narrative threads — a fact that acted as the "North Star" during the writing process:

"We knew from the get-go that, that would be a trap if we got to the point where we had derailed ourselves from making a Stephen Strange movie, that we were in trouble. And so that was always top of mind for us, as we were breaking the story, as we were realizing the madness of the multiverse. It was only cool to us if it informed the journey of our hero. And that was our North Star the whole way through."

"Multiverse of Madness" picks up after a wide range of events that have altered the course of several storylines within the MCU, continuing Strange's (Benedict Cumberbatch) story right after the accidental multiverse fiasco in "Spider-Man: No Way Home." However, that's not the sole reason for the multiverse opening and ravaging the world of the characters we know and love — events that unfolded at the end of "WandaVision" and "Loki" also play an important factor, making "Multiverse of Madness" a playground for numerous narrative threads that enmesh into each other.

'Realizing the madness of the multiverse'

Waldron had to work closely with director Sam Raimi for this project, and the screenwriter revealed how this "absolute dream collaboration" helped him realize the script that went hand in hand with Raimi's vision:

"Working with Sam is, I can't emphasize it enough, it has been the great pleasure of my life and career. It is a meet your heroes situation, just the absolute dream collaboration. He's as generous of a collaborator as I think I'll ever work with. So we've had a blast.

Sam is a master conductor, at hearing your ideas and synthesizing them into his vision for what the movie should be holistically. And so we had a great time. I would say that our meetings over zoom, breaking the story and everything felt a lot of ways, like a writer's room. And it felt like the perfect collaboration between writer, showrunner, and director, and it was just a blast."

This holistic synchronization between the two collaborators definitely worked in favor of creating a compelling story for "Multiverse of Madness," which tackles complex ideas about parallel worlds and identities, and most importantly, furthers the character arc of Stephen Strange himself.

Apart from Strange, familiar faces like Wong (Benedict Wong), Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams), and Baron Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) are also expected to play a key role in the film. As each of these characters might potentially run into their own multiverse variant, it certainly complicates matters, along with the fact that the film also introduces fresh faces, including America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez).

Apart from this, given that it is a pivotal MCU movie, there are bound to be surprise cameos and in-universe tie-ins. In order to incorporate these diverse and disparate elements, Waldron and Raimi surely had to work out a story that connects seamlessly while maintaining focus on the primary protagonist, Stephen Strange, as he is the central character that acts as an axis in an increasingly-complex, ever-evolving storyline.

"Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" hits theaters on May 6, 2022.