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SYFY WIRE Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Benedict Cumberbatch teases Sam Raimi's impact on 'Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness'

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness arrives in theaters everywhere Friday, May 6.

By Josh Weiss
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness YT

Your mind still reeling from the Multiverse of Madness trailer that dropped during the Super Bowl last weekend? Don't expect the feeling to go away. In fact, things are about to get even stranger (pun intended) with the upcoming MCU sequel to 2016's Doctor Strange. "Your head's going to be spun," teased Benedict Cumberbatch during a conversation with Empire for the magazine's April 2022 issue.

The project marks Sam Raimi's first directing gig in almost a decade. Since the release of Oz the Great and Powerful back in 2013, the Spider-Man alum has focused on his role as a producer for titles like Evil Dead, Don't BreatheCrawl, and Nightbooks. His return to the Marvel Universe was confirmed in the spring of 2020 when Scott Derrickson (The Black Phone) decided to part ways with Multiverse of Madness over creative differences with Marvel Studios. The existing screenplay co-written by Derrickson and C. Robert Cargill was scrapped in favor of a new one from Loki head writer/executive producer Michael Waldron.

"Once it became Sam, it was always about making it a Sam Raimi picture," Cumberbatch explained. That's been evident in all the footage released so far, which features one of the director's favorite storytelling hallmarks: an evil version of the main hero.

Poised to take the multiverse concept to new heights (fans are losing their minds over the tease we may have seen Patrick Stewart in the Big Game spot), Multiverse of Madness has the potential to rival Spider-Man: No Way Home at the global box office. No Way Home, which brought back a slew of fan favorite characters — including past Peter Parkers like Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield — is currently the sixth-highest grossing movie of all time. It's a remarkable achievement in a time when the COVID-19 virus continues to smother ticket sales.

"I think when Kevin Feige first said, 'We'll know about the future of cinema, or the cinema-going experience, after this film, I was like, 'Okay, everyone's drinking too much of the Kool-Aid around here," Cumberbatch admitted, teasing Strange's follow-up as "similarly ambitious" in its narrative scope. His skepticism soon came undone (much like the fabric of reality) when Tom Holland's third solo Spider-Man film became the first blockbuster since 2019 to make $1 billion worldwide. "My ignorance was soon showed up."

Touching on the multitude (or multiverse, rather) of theories regarding high-profile cameos from across all of Marvel history — films, comics, you name it — the actor joked, "Spoiler alert: there are not three Spider-Mans in it. There are five. We just upped the numbers."

Only five? Those are rookie numbers, Strange. You gotta bump those up.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness arrives in theaters everywhere Friday, May 6.