Sam Raimi is making his long-awaited return to the superhero genre, as his Marvel Studios movie, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, will released in theaters this Friday, May 6. The acclaimed filmmaker, who directed the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), is reflecting on his return to the superhero movie genre, 15 years after the end of his beloved Spider-Man trilogy.
In a new interview with Rolling Stone, the filmmaker discussed stepping back into superhero features, and his memories of the original Spider-Man trilogy, which is widely regarded today as a turning point for superhero movies.
However, the series’ last installment, Spider-Man 3, garnered mixed critical reviews when it was released in 2007, as compared to the high praised its two predecessors received. Although a fourth film was planned and in development, it was ultimately cancelled in favor of a franchise reboot, 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man, which was instead helmed by Marc Webb.
During his Rolling Stone interview, Raimi revealed that production on Spider-Man 4 was stopped because of issues with the script, which wasn’t up to the standard he had for the film.
“It was a very painful experience for me,” the filmmaker told Rolling Stone writer Brian Hiatt. “I wanted to make a Spider-Man movie to redeem myself for that. [The aborted] Spider-Man 4 — that was really what that was about. I wanted to go out on a high note. I didn’t want to just make another one that pretty much worked. I had a really high standard in my mind. And I didn’t think I could get that script to the level that I was hoping for by that start date.”
During the interview, Raimi also discussed the ideas he had for his fourth Spider-Man movie, including the possibility of his Evil Dead series star Bruce Campbell playing Mysterio. In the MCU, Mysterio was played by Jake Gyllenhaal in 2019’s Spider-Man: Far from Home.
The director was also interested in feature Kraven the Hunter as the main villain in his third Spider-Man sequel. The character will soon to be played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson in a standalone spin-off, called Kraven the Hunter. The superhero film is being directed by J. C. Chandor and will be distributed in theaters on January 13, 2023 by Sony.
Raimi also talked about the possibility of reuniting with his Spider-Man star, Tobey Maguire, for a belated trilogy sequel. However,the director revealed that here would be many challenges in getting his Spider-Man 4 movie made now, even after Maguire reprised his iteration of the character in last year’s hit crossover film, No Way Home. But Raimi hasn’t rule out the possibility of him making a third follow-up in his series just yet.
“My love for the characters hasn’t diminished one iota,” the filmmaker also told Rolling Stone. “It would be the same things that would stop me now that stopped me then: ‘Does Tobey want to do it? Is there an emotional arc for him? Is there a great conflict for this character? And is there a worthy villain that fits into the theme of the piece?’’There’s a lot of questions that would have to be answered. If those could be answered, then I’d love to.”
Also in the interview, Raimi discussed some of the challenges and complications of making a film with Marvel Studios. He revealed that he had “complete creative freedom” while making the second Doctor Strange solo movie. But he also divulged how the existence of other MCU projects that involved his characters affected the writing process for the Multiverse of Madness script, which was written by Loki scribe, Michael Waldron.
“I’m not really sure what the WandaVision schedule was or how it changed,” the helmer said about the Emmy Award-winning miniseries, which premiered on Disney+ early last year, but was initially meant to come out after his film. “I just know that halfway, or maybe three-quarters of the way into our writing process, I’d first heard of this show they were doing and that we would have to follow it.
“Therefore, we had to really study what WandaVision was doing, so we could have a proper through line and character-growth dynamic. I never even saw all of WandaVision; I’ve just seen key moments of some episodes that I was told directly impact our storyline,” Raimi also admitted.
During the interview, the filmmaker also discussed the reshoots he had to do for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. He said they were mostly about adjusting the story after test screenings to help the audience understand what’s happening in the movie, both physically or conceptually.
“There’s a lot of points where the audience says, ‘I don’t understand this concept. Or, ‘I’m aware of this concept, and then you explained it again in the third act.’ ‘Oh, you’re right. The audience knows that already.’ Or: ‘They had to know that in order to accept this next story beat,'” Raimi explained. “A lot of it is test screenings, learning what is confusing on a complex picture like this, or learning things that have overstayed their welcome.”