In January, director Scott Derrickson abruptly left the production of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the sequel to his 2016 MCU entry, over creative differences. A month later, Sam Raimi entered talks to take over directing the sequel, leaving the production on track. And then… we didn’t hear anything. Until now, that is. While speaking with ComingSoon.net, Raimi casually and cheekily confirmed that he’s directing Doctor Strange 2 — all through the lens of a joke made in his other superhero movies.
Back in the 2000s, Raimi made a trilogy of Spider-Man films. While some of my colleagues may disagree, I find Spider-Man 2 to be the best of the bunch. And in that middle chapter, as J.K. Simmons‘ J. Jonah Jameson brainstorms with Ted Raimi‘s Ted Hoffman on what they should call Alfred Molina‘s Doctor Octopus in the Daily Bugle, one name thrown out is “Doctor Strange” — before Jameson quickly asserts it’s already been taken. Raimi explained the relevance of this joke as it pertained to his current gig:
I loved Doctor Strange as a kid, but he was always after Spider-Man and Batman for me, he was probably at number five for me of great comic book characters. He was so original, but when we had that moment in Spider-Man 2 I had no idea that we would ever be making a Doctor Strange movie, 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.
So, while Strange himself may have been able to see the universe in which Raimi wound up directing his second solo film, for Raimi it remains a happy coincidence — and one that he, on the record, seems to be officially saying he’s doing!
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness comes to theaters November 5, 2021.