Sam Raimi, Doctor Stranges 2’s director, discusses how working for Marvel Studios differs from working for Sony. Scott Derrickson was originally set to direct the sequel to Doctor Strange, but he left the project due to creative differences. Several months later, Raimi confirmed that he had signed on to direct the sequel, which marked his return to the superhero genre. It’s been nine years since he last directed a film, 2013’s Oz the Great and Powerful, and it’s been 15 years since his last superhero project, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
After working together on the Spider-Man trilogy from 2002 to 2007, Sony was extremely pleased with Raimi’s work. Shocker, Rhino, Mysterio, Vulture, and Black Cat were all set to make appearances in Spider-Man 4, with Tobey Maguire was the director’s choice for the role. Despite the fact that the script for Spider-Man 4 was finished, Sony decided to cancel the film in 2010 due to the poor reception of Spider-Man 3. It was replaced by Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man by Sony.
Raimi discussed the differences between working with Marvel Studios and Sony in an exclusive interview with Screen Rant. When asked if directing Doctor Strange 2 was more of a “full circle” moment for him than seeing Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man: No Way Home, he replied that he had enjoyed working with the Marvel team. Feige and Marvel have a firm grasp on their characters, but Raimi had to battle the marketing team and teach other studios about superheroes in order to make the film he wanted. Although Raimi didn’t explicitly name Sony as the studio he was referring to, it’s clear which one it is. Here’s what the Doctor Strange 2 director had to say:
Well, seeing Spider-Man: No Way Home was more like a full-circle moment, to see those characters come back. But this is a new adventure. It’s really exciting to work with this new team. And the head of the team is my old friend Kevin Feige, who really cares about the integrity of the characters, and therefore it’s a real pleasure to work for him. Because oftentimes, making movies before with the superheroes, you’d have to teach a studio who a hero was and argue with your marketing department. “No, it’s not funny. It’s supposed to be serious.” But Marvel owns these characters. They’re out there to protect the integrity and be true to the characters, and the marketing is really clear. And the message is clear.
Superhero movies like Spider-Man, Blade, and X-Men laid the groundwork for the genre today. Sony’s Marvel universe has struggled in the last 14 years, whereas the MCU has thrived. Their solo Spider-Man villain films have not received the same critical acclaim as Tom Holland’s Spider-Man trilogy, even though they collaborated with Marvel Studios on the trilogy.
The Morbius film in particular received negative reviews, as did the two Venom films, which received best mixedd reviews. Kraven the Hunter, Madame Web, El Muerto, and Venom 3 are among the upcoming spinoffs that Sony hopes to improve upon following Raimi’s comments.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is Raimi’s biggest film to date, but it makes sense that Maguire’s return in Spider-Man: No Way Home was more of a full-circle moment for the filmmaker. Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy is one of his most popular works to date, and he worked on it for five years.
Even though studio meddling is often blamed for the failure of superhero movies to connect with audiences, that has never appeared to be an issue in the MCU. Raimi’s work on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness appears to have been a refreshing change of pace, so hopefully, that will be evident when the film is released.