There was some concern when the news broke earlier this year that Scott Derrickson, director of the first Doctor Strange film, was parting with upcoming sequel. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was said to lean heavily into horror stylings, and some speculated that Derrickson’s “creative differences” departure might have pushed the horror envelope a little too far for comfort over at Marvel. Today’s news would seem to push that envelope all the way through the door.
Sam Raimi, best known for being the mind behind both The Evil Dead and its sequels as well as the original Spider-Man trilogy, is now in talks to take over the directing job from Derrickson, who remains on Multiverse of Madness as an executive producer.
Raimi’s involvement would mark a noticeable difference from Marvel Studios’ management of their films, often favoring filmmakers who’ve come from smaller-scale projects, like Jon Watts (Cop Car) handling the MCU’s Spider-Man films, or directing duo Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck leaping from dramas like Half Nelson to Captain Marvel. Even the now-titanic Russo Brothers were working in TV sitcoms in the years leading up to Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Raimi on the other hand, is an absolute veteran, indicated by his aforementioned trilogies.
If the Multiverse of Madness negotiations lock in, this would be his first time working as a feature director since 2013’s Oz the Great and Powerful. Raimi has otherwise been busy producing various projects, including last year’s Crawl as well as Ash vs Evil Dead, the series continuing his own Evil Dead films, on which he also served as director for some episodes.
Though Disney declined to comment, that we’re hearing of talks of this magnitude at all would hopefully indicate something of an amicable settlement. Personally I’d be thrilled to see a legend like Raimi bring his expertise to Marvel’s slate, and certainly for a project that would look to toe the line between horror and blockbusting action he suddenly seems like the only choice for the job.