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In the five years before Iron Man launched the Marvel Cinematic Universe and changed blockbuster cinema forever, Sam Raimi was one of the filmmakers helping create an environment in which the MCU would thrive. The acclaimed genre filmmaker and lifelong comic book fan launched his Spider-Man trilogy in 2002, giving us some of the most exciting tentpole films of the era and cementing Marvel's webslinger as a box office mainstay for decades to come.
Now, Raimi's finally returning to the world of superhero movies with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but he hasn't forgotten about Spidey. Speaking to Fandango to promote Multiverse of Madness' theatrical debut in just one month, Raimi addressed the current multiversal climate of the MCU, a climate that allowed Spider-Man star Tobey Maguire to briefly come out of retirement to reprise his role as Peter Parker. Given the response Maguire's return got from audiences around the world, and the presence of the multiverse, is there a chance that Raimi would be interested in a fourth Spider-Man outing?
"I've come to realize after making Doctor Strange that anything is possible, really anything in the Marvel universe, any team-ups," Raimi said. "I love Tobey. I love Kirsten Dunst. I think all things are possible. I don't really have a story or a plan. I don't know if Marvel would be interested in that right now. I don't know what their thoughts are about that. I haven't really pursued that. But it sounds beautiful. Even if it wasn't a Spider-Man movie, I'd love to work with Tobey again, in a different role."
Though the Raimi Spider-Man films have since given way to not one, but two live-action reboots of the character, those of us who were following superhero movies back in the 2000s still remember that Spider-Man 4 was very much a real prospect at one point. For three years at the tail end of the 2000s, Raimi and Maguire were working to make it happen, until both eventually stepped away as it became clear that the announced 2011 release date wasn't going to work out. Sony shifted gears, and we got The Amazing Spider-Man with Andrew Garfield in 2012 instead, but Raimi devotees didn't forget. In the wake of No Way Home's success, fans have taken to social media to voice their support for Spider-Man 4, so maybe someone at Sony Pictures is listening.
In the meantime, Raimi's focused on promoting Multiverse of Madness, a film that very much embraces the idea of alternate versions of characters and different worlds within the wider MCU. Though we already got some multiverse action with No Way Home, Raimi made it clear that this film is much more ambitious in its treatment of the concept.
"I guess I would say that ... Spider-Man [No Way Home] broke open [the idea that] characters from the multiverse could visit our universe," Raimi said. "But this is the first time that characters from our universe will go out into the multiverse and experience other universes. So, it's going to be a continuation, but that, I think, is one of the biggest appeals. Finding other realities, and how they rhyme with our own, or how they are completely the opposite, or variations thereof. I think therein lies the interest of this picture."
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is in theaters May 6.