When Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was first announced, it was with Scott Derrickson as director. Derrickson, whose past works include Sinister and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, directed and co-wrote the first Doctor Strange, which got good reviews and grossed $677 million worldwide. But shortly after the sequel was announced, Derrickson left the project over creative differences. In his place, Marvel hired Sam Raimi, whose three Spider-Man films from the 2000s helped lay the foundation for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

While many fans are thrilled to see Raimi’s return to Marvel, Doctor Strange himself, Benedict Cumberbatch, was not happy to see Derrickson leave the project. He told The Hollywood Reporter that he Derrickson leaving the sequel was not his decision and that he was “sad to hear about it.” He added:

I completely respected the studio’s decision, and it was done very amicably. The grown-ups called and just talked me through it. And that was that.

That’s not to say Cumberbatch didn’t enjoy shooting with Raimi, who he calls “an assured pair of hands, who knew the world.” (Doctor Strange 2 was filmed in late 2020 and early 2021,) And he said it definitely felt like a Sam Raimi movie. (“He’s got certain Raimi traits. The smashed-zoom close-up. The mixture of just on the level of horror and just on the level of camp. There’s fun in there, but there should be some real thrills as well.”) One big difference between the first and second movie: More improvisation. “There was a lot more freedom this time around,” Cumberbatch claimed.

The first Doctor Strange is good, but a scary, campy, funny, thrilling, improvised Sam Raimi sequel sounds pretty good to me. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is scheduled to open in theaters on March 25, 2022.

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