Skip to main content

Sam Raimi confirms he’s working on Doctor Strange sequel — but is he directing?

Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness may have a new director to go with its new release date.

During an interview tied to his upcoming anthology series for streaming platform Quibi, original Spider-Man franchise director Sam Raimi offhandedly mentioned he’s working on the sequel to 2016’s Doctor Strange.

Although he stopped short of officially confirming he’s directing the film, his involvement lends some support to an earlier rumor suggesting he was in talks to helm the movie.

His potential involvement with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness came up while he was discussing a scene in 2004’s Spider-Man 2 in which the Marvel sorcerer’s name was dropped by J.K. Simmons’ character, the irascible Daily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jameson. In the scene, Jameson dismisses the idea of naming the city’s latest villain “Doctor Strange” because the name was already taken.

“When we had that moment in Spider-Man 2, I had no idea that we would ever be making a Doctor Strange movie,” Raimi told ComingSoon.net. “So it was really funny to me that coincidentally that line was in the movie. I gotta say I wish we had the foresight to know that I was going to be involved in the project.”

The director of 2002’s Spider-Man and its two sequels, Raimi hasn’t directed a superhero movie since 2007’s Spider-Man 3 brought the Tobey Maguire-led franchise to an end.

If Raimi does direct Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, he’ll fill the director’s chair vacated by Scott Derrickson, who directed the 2016 film and was initially expected to return behind the camera. Derrickson abruptly left Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in January, citing creative differences with the studio.

Although Derrickson won’t be returning for the sequel, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will bring back Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular Sorcerer Supreme of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film is also expected to feature MCU actress Elizabeth Olsen as her Avengers character, Wanda Maximoff, better known as the Scarlet Witch.

Originally scheduled to premiere in May 2021, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will now hit theaters November 5, 2021.

Rick Marshall
A veteran journalist with more than two decades of experience covering local and national news, arts and entertainment, and…
Marvel’s Doctor Strange 2 will hit Disney+ later this month
Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Last weekend, the box office domination of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness came to an end when Top Gun: Maverick set a new Memorial Day opening weekend record. And while the Doctor Strange sequel hasn't run out of spells yet, Disney+ has already set a premiere date for the film on its streaming service. Fans at home will be able to watch Marvel's latest movie at will starting on June 22. A Blu-ray and 4K release will likely follow later this summer.

To celebrate the announcement, Marvel Studios assembled Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, and Xochitl Gomez for a special "thank you" video.

Read more
Doctor Strange 2 writer on Sam Raimi and Marvel’s multiverse
Xochitl Gomez, Benedict Wong, and Benedict Cumberbatch stare into the camera in a scene from Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

There's no putting the lid back on Marvel's multiverse at this point. After Spider-Man: No Way Home unlocked the door to alternate worlds in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness kicked it wide open with a dimension-hopping adventure across myriad realities within the MCU.

Given the studio's plans for Dr. Strange, it makes sense that Marvel hired someone with plenty of multiversal experience to pen the script for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: Emmy winner Michael Waldron. The Loki and Rick and Morty writer worked closely with director Sam Raimi to bring the filmmaker's vision for a wild, horror-fueled adventure to the screen, tapping into a wide range of characters and comics continuity along the way.

Read more
Where the MCU’s Doctor Strange can go from here
Doctor Strange with shattered pieces of the multiverse in the movie's poster.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness mixed in elements of director Sam Raimi's unique brand of trippy horror, throwing the concept of the multiverse in for good measure. The movie doesn't go into a deep dive into it as some fans might have thought, but it did throw some interesting tidbits of worldbuilding relevant to the MCU and the titular sorcerer and Master of the Mystic Arts.

Perhaps the most intriguing is the concept of "incursions" introduced by an alternate version of Doctor Christine Palmer and a certain post-credit scene appearance that looks to be the main catalyst for the prospective Doctor Strange 3. Even then, though, at least one of the multiversal members of the Illuminati could also contribute to where Doctor Strange moves on from the aftermath of Multiverse of Madness.

Read more