Sam Raimi, who helped launch the modern superhero movie with 2002â€™s â€œSpider-Man,â€ is in talks to direct â€œDoctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madnessâ€ for Marvel Studios, Variety has learned.
Raimi replaces original director Scott Derrickson, who Variety reported on Jan. 9 had officially departed the project due to creative differences. Derrickson will remain as an executive producer. Raimi, meanwhile, will need to get up to speed before the filmâ€™s scheduled production start date in May.
More from Variety
Marvel had no comment.
After finishing his â€œSpider-Manâ€ trilogy for Sony Pictures with 2007â€™s â€œSpider-Man 3,â€ Raimiâ€™s output as a director slowed considerably, with just the horror pic â€œDrag Me to Hellâ€ in 2009 and Disneyâ€™s â€œThe Wizard of Ozâ€ prequel â€œOz the Great and Powerfulâ€ in 2013. Instead, heâ€™s been busy as a producer, helping relaunch various horror franchises like â€œPoltergeistâ€ and his own classic, â€œEvil Dead.â€
This is something of a coup for both Raimi and Marvel, given Raimiâ€™s reputation with comic book fans â€” 2004â€™s â€œSpider-Man 2â€ is still widely regarded as one of the best superhero movies ever made. And with 15 features to his name as a director â€” including the beloved horror trilogy â€œThe Evil Dead,â€ â€œEvil Dead II,â€ and â€œArmy of Darknessâ€ â€” Raimi is also the most established filmmaker to join the Marvel Studios fold since the earliest days of the studio, when Kenneth Branagh and Joe Johnston respectively directed the first â€œThorâ€ and â€œCaptain Americaâ€ movies in 2011.
Since then, Marvelâ€™s m.o. has been to hire talented filmmakers whoâ€™ve made just a few (or zero) features before, and nothing at a blockbuster scale, like Joss Whedon, Anthony and Joe Russo, James Gunn, Ryan Coogler, and Taika Waititi. Raimi, by contrast, comes to â€œDoctor Strange 2â€ with his own distinctive visual style and decades of experience with making tentpole movies, especially featuring Marvel superheroes.
Benedict Cumberbatch is returning as the Sorcerer Supreme after his 2016 debut, and subsequent appearances in â€œThor: Ragnarok,â€ â€œAvengers: Infinity War,â€ and â€œAvengers: Endgame.â€ Benedict Wong and Chiwetel Ejiofor are also expected to reprise their roles from the original film as, respectively, fellow sorcerer Wong and Strangeâ€™s compatriot-turned-nemesis Karl Mordo. And Elizabeth Olsen has been tapped to reprise her role as Scarlet Witch, aka Wanda Maximoff, for a storyline that Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige has said will link up with her Disney Plus series â€œWandaVision,â€ which will debut in December.
Rachel McAdams, however, will not reprise her role as Strangeâ€™s colleague Christine Palmer.
â€œDoctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madnessâ€ is scheduled to open on May 7, 2021.
Marvel Studiosâ€™ next theatrical project, â€œBlack Widow,â€ will open on May 1, followed by â€œEternalsâ€ on Nov. 6, and â€œShang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Ringsâ€ on Feb. 12, 2021.
Raimi is repped by CAA.
More from Marvel:
Best of Variety