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Marvel Studios and director Sam Raimi lean heavily into the '60s-era psychedelic origins of Doctor Strange in the first trailer for the sorcerer's big screen follow-up: in the Multiverse of Madness. If you've seen Spider-Man: No Way Home, you'll recognize this teaser as the same one that played at the very end of Tom Holland's third solo outing as Peter Parker.
After tearing apart the multiverse, Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is under fire for his "desecration of reality" and needs some help in winning the magical war he just started with Karl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor). To get out of this jam, he turns to Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), who is now living a life of self-imposed exile following the events of WandaVision.
And that's just the tip of the reality-warping iceberg, folks — you've also got the live-action debut of America Chavez/Miss America (Xochitl Gomez); our first look at the tentacled Lovecraftian entity known as Shuma-Gorath; and an evil version of Doctor Strange (this could be a nod to Raimi's Evil Dead films as well as a tie-in to the What If...? anthology series on Disney+).
Watch the trailer below:
"It’s a thrill ride," Michael Waldron, the movie's screenwriter (and creator/EP of Loki) teased to SYFY WIRE over the summer. "It’s a thrill ride with heart like you’d expect from a Sam Raimi superhero movie. Sam’s a genius and the way he moves the camera is really exciting and he’s not afraid to take chances. I think it’s gonna be a really cool experience for everybody."
When it came to further examining the fallout of Wanda's hijinks in Westview, Waldron said he treated the character "with reverence" by working closing with WandaVision head writer/EP, Jac Schaeffer. "[I] really collaborated with her on this next chapter and then working with Lizzie Olsen as well to make sure we were doing justice to the character," he explained. "So, you’ve gotta honor what came before and also be bold in your own choices and just trust that you’re doing something cool."
Known for helming Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man trilogy, Raimi was brought onto the project in the winter of 2020 once Scott Derrickson decided not to return as director (Derrickson cited creative differences with Marvel Studios).
Filming for Multiverse of Madness began in the U.K. last fall before wrapping up in the spring of this year. Six weeks of reshoots recently took place and while that can sometimes mean trouble in the Hollywood space, Cumberbatch allayed those fears with the clarification that the new footage concerns actors and scenes the film wasn't able to secure during principal photography.
"We're in the middle of reshoots and we're working incredible hard to make a schedule work to realize the full potential of the film — bits we want to do better, but also bits that were just impossible to do on the day because logistics, COVID, etc," the actor explained. "We were so delayed in production, because of that. Luckily, not during production too much. Although everything is just a little slower."
Given that the sequel takes place across many different realities, fans are out there wildly speculating (as per usual), with fans claiming we'll see the likes of the X-men, Fantastic Four, and more. Raimi's not giving anything away, though. “They won’t let me say anything," the director told us back in late September. "I guess not...I’m sorry.”
What we do know for sure is that Sorcerer Supreme Wong (Benedict Wong) and Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams) are also along for the ride, which has been described as the MCU's first horror-centric feature.
Its title is a nod to the literary works of H.P. Lovecraft (writer of At the Mountains of Madness) and John Carpenter's In the Mouth of Madness (itself an ode to Lovecraftian fiction).
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness opens a portal into theaters on May 6, 2022.