How Doctor Strange 2 was changed by Spider-Man: No Way Home
Exclusive: Reshoots and last-minute changes to the earlier Marvel movie made life interesting for Multiverse of Madness director Sam Raimi.
The last two Marvel movie releases have been a Spider-Man film starring Tobey Maguire, and a film directed by Sam Raimi – but somehow, these aren’t the same film.
“I know! I thought of that, too,” Raimi, now promoting his new Marvel film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, told RadioTimes.com when we asked about this almost-Spider-Man (2002) reunion.
“I miss Tobey. It’d be great to work with him again one day.”
Still, despite this missed opportunity there’s plenty of shared DNA between 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Home and Doctor Strange 2.
In the new movie, the events of No Way Home are referenced by Cumberbatch’s Sorcerer Supreme – and behind-the-scenes, Raimi has revealed just how closely the two films were intertwined during production.
“On that film, I had inside knowledge,” Raimi said. “Marvel executives pulled me aside, and said, ‘Sam, here’s what we’re going to do.’
“They explained to me the plot. I laughed my head off when I heard it. It was just so outrageous. And it worked just as much as everyone hoped it would – even more so.”
But that wasn’t the end of the interaction. While Doctor Strange 2 was originally supposed to take place before No Way Home – with the multiverse plot elements an after-effect of what happened in the Benedict Cumberbatch movie, rather than the other way around – the release order was shifted.
This, plus on-the-fly changes to No Way Home during shooting, meant last-minute changes to Multiverse of Madness as well.
“Myself, producer Richie Palmer and Michael Waldron, our writer, had to stay in constant touch with the Spider-Man team, because we had to know the latest updates on how their script was changing,” Raimi told us.
“You know, while we were shooting, they were shooting. But they were making changes. And we had to call them and say, ‘Does Doctor Strange remember anything of the multiverse? Or does he not remember the multiverse?’
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“We had to really keep tabs so that we carried a nice through-line forward from the last film.”
Raimi also revealed details of other reshoots to the film, which required some clever cast juggling due to conflicting schedules.
“Most of the reshoots we did were having to do with actors’ availability,” he said. “We had to shoot many scenes with one actor when actually there were three or four actors in the finished scene. So the real actor and three stand-ins, one time. And then the second actor, with three different stand-ins, another time. Etcetera.
“And then we would composite these pieces together. That primarily was the subject of our reshoots.
“Yes, the order of the Marvel movies changed a bit – but it didn’t affect us too much,” he added.
Altogether, it sounds like a lot of confusing and conflicting plates to spin for a director who confessed he had to be “re-educated” after taking a break from superhero movies for the last few years. But to Raimi, it was all part of the job.
“It was just a little bit more to think about,” he admitted. “But it’s something that had to be kept tabs on.
“I came in more as a craftsman whose job it was to pick up the bridge that had been built to a certain point, and create my extension in an interesting way, and leave it off with the next bridge-builder to carry on.
“Because so many millions of fans have been following 27 or so of these episodes, I want to please them. I mean, primarily, I’m an entertainer.”
Read The Big RT Interview with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness director Sam Raimi on RadioTimes.com this Saturday.
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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is in UK cinemas now. For more, check out our dedicated Movies page or our full TV Guide.
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