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In a magical turn of events, Sam Raimi is returning to the Marvel fold. The filmmaker, who oversaw the original 2002-07 Spider-Man trilogy, is in talks to direct Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
The move comes after the surprise Jan. 9 news that Scott Derrickson, who helmed the 2016 Doctor Strange movie, was exiting Multiverse of Madness over “creative differences.” Derrickson will remain on board as an executive producer.
Raimi’s Spider-Man films starred Tobey Maguire and combined the schlocky sensibilities he’d honed making cult classics Evil Dead and Dark Man with the 1960s-era comics of Spider-Man creators Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. The trilogy was a big success for Sony’s Columbia Pictures, earning more than $2.5 billion globally, though the third installment failed to excite fans and critics. As fate would have it, Raimi included a Doctor Strange joke in 2004’s Spider-Man 2.
In the years since leaving Peter Parker behind, Raimi has spent most of his time producing films such as Don’t Breathe and Crawl, and directing 2009’s Drag Me to Hell and the 2013 hit Oz the Great and Powerful, starring his Spider-Man star James Franco.
Multiverse of Madness once again will star Benedict Cumberbatch as the Sorcerer Supreme. It is said to be Marvel Studios’ first scary movie and will be connected to the upcoming Disney+ series WandaVision, which is set to bow in December and stars Paul Bettany and Elizabeth Olsen. Olsen’s Scarlett Witch will appear in Multiverse of Madness, which has a release date of May 7, 2021. It is eyeing a May production start.
In addition to starring in 2016’s Doctor Strange, Cumberbatch has appeared as the character in Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
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