Coming to theaters May 6 is the long awaited and much delayed “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” The film dives headfirst into the waters of magic and parallel universes that recent projects have merely dipped a toe in. Prior to the films release, the case and creative team gathered for a virtual press conference.
On the panel was executive producer and president of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige, director Sam Raimi, screenwriter Michael Waldron, Benedict Cumberbatch (Stephen Strange), Benedict Wong (Wong), Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff/Scarlett Witch) and Xochitl Gomez (America Chavez).
The panel began with a discussion of Sam Raimi’s role in the making of the modern superhero film.
Feige: It’s surreal. And as you say, yes, particularly surreal that it’s full- circle with Mr. Raimi. I was a young producer who just felt lucky to be in the same room with him. And now, I’m an old producer that just feels lucky to be in the same room with him.
Raimi: Well, th-there were really a lot of Marvel movies being made when we made the Spiderman movies with Kevin. Kevin was also working, I think, on the X-Men movies… And the Iron Man movies. So, Kevin and his boss, Avia Rod, were already developing the Marvel Cinematic Universe even back then. So, I was very fortunate to get that directing job. I loved Spiderman. I’m glad it had a moment in helping be one of the first MCU movies.
Also part of the conversation was how Stephen Strange and Wanda Maximoff’s roles as Avengers have changed over the years since they first entered the universe.
Cumberbatch: He’s quite a maverick. He’s quite an outsider. He doesn’t immediately strike you as a leader despite his prominence in the MCU at this moment. And that’s what makes him really interesting. And conflicted, I think as a hero… And I think we see in the film an iteration of somebody who we’ve seen very omnipotent, very creative and sort of omnipresent… and yet, we haven’t really understood what the cost of that is…. So, as far as a leader goes, I would say more of a self- examination in the way that Sam [Raimi] described. Of holding up a mirror to him through this incredible narrative structure we have of a Multiverse of other selves, than it is examining what his potential is to lead.
Olsen: I feel like in the previous films before “WandaVision,” I took up a lane for storytelling that was more grounded in, you know, sincerity, love, loss, grief. And with WandaVision, I got to become like, anything and everything. And really, really grow her into a woman and leading her to accepting that she is this mythic woman. And that that is her destiny. And I hope that in this film people see that continuation of her acceptance of who she is. And the journey that she has taken to get to this moment, I feel like she has way more clarity now than ever in this film.
Finally, Xocitl Gomez and Michael Waldron discussed the balance of bringing fresh ideas to a 15-year-old franchise.
Gomez: One thing that was so important to me was that this is a very adult movie. There’s lots of adults in it. It’s very heavy. And so, I wanted to make sure that America still had that youthfulness and still had that, you know, fake it ’til you make it resilience. But when you’ve got some crazy stuff happening it’s a little hard. But I think one thing that really helps is that she is 14, which is younger than she was in any of the comics. So, I mean, that really helps in writing a new introduction which I think Michael Waldron did beautifully.
Waldron: You know, Stephen, Wanda, Wong, obviously America is a new character that Xochitl was originating, but in a lot of ways, I was just a steward of these characters on the page and there was a lot of opportunity to collaborate with these tremendous actors who know them better than I could. And that, I don’t know, as the script evolved, which it very much was all the time, you’re really refining it and I guess leaning on the people who have been doing it even longer than we have in this individual chapter.
“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” opens in theaters only on May 6.