We reported a few weeks ago that Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson had stepped away from plans to direct that film’s sequel—rather aggressively titled Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness—with “creative differences” being cited as the reason for the split. Now, Variety is reporting on some potentially exciting news about his possible replacement, with news coming that legendary horror director Sam Raimi is in talks to fill the role.
Given that the film is suspected, from the title at least, to dig in deep to the more “eldritch abomination” aspects of Benedict Cumberbatch’s tenure as Sorcerer Supreme, it’s hard to imagine anyone who’d be a better fit (on-paper, anyway) to take up the mantle on Doctor Strange 2. Besides his bona fides on the Evil Dead series, Raimi is also, arguably, one of the prime architects of our current superhero cinematic boom, with his work on the first three Spider-Man movies codifying the basic template that Marvel and its competitors have been working from for years. The idea of a Doctor Strange movie powered by the kinetic sensibilities of Raimi’s early work is a pretty irresistible one to imagine.
The big caveat here, of course—besides all the deal-based ambiguities contained within the phrase “in talks”—is that it’s been seven years since Raimi last directed a movie, and that said film was the not-especially-confidence-inspiring Oz The Great And Powerful. Admittedly, he hasn’t been resting on his laurels in that time—having filled the intervening years with a variety of production duties, many of them centered on his TV series Ash Vs. Evil Dead—but it’s still been 11 years since Raimi directed a really exciting flick. (And even longer if you’re in the camp who doesn’t love the raucously nasty Drag Me To Hell.)
The potential here is obvious; the pitfalls, maybe even more so. Derrickson got a lot of credit for making Doctor Strange one of the most visually distinctive of the MCU’s recent crop; the idea of Raimi doubling down on those aesthetic excesses is hard to deny, even if his recent track record might leave something to be desired.