Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige and director Sam Raimi surprise fans during a screening of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. As the Marvel Cinematic Universe has become concerned with its multiverse concept through WandaVision, Loki, What If…?, and Spider-Man: No Way Home, the follow up to director Scott Derrickson’s Doctor Strange was easily one of the most anticipated movies of the year. The film follows its titular sorcerer as he attempts to protect the universe-jumping America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) from a shocking familiar multiversal threat. In addition to featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange and the MCU debut of Gomez, Multiverse of Madness stars Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams, and Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Multiverse of Madness was going to be directed by Derrickson until he left the project due to creative differences. This, and the film’s horror genre goal, prompted Marvel Studios to enlist the help of Raimi, who worked with Feige on the original Spider-Man trilogy. In addition to horror comedies like the Evil Dead franchise, Raimi is best known for the first live-action Spider-Man films starring Tobey Maguire, which ended with Spider-Man 3 in 2007 after Sony abandoned plans for a Spider-Man 4. After a hiatus from feature films, Multiverse of Madness marks Raimi’s grand return to the superhero genre. As Multiverse of Madness plays in theaters around the world, Feige, Raimi, writer Michael Waldron, producer Richie Palmer, and composer Danny Elfman surprised some lucky fans in Hollywood. Saturday, Redditor tnashty shared a video of the group visiting the “first theater of paying customers” to thank the audience as well as express their love for the long-awaited sequel.
Tom Holland dropping in on those watching No Way Home or Oscar Isaac introducing Disney+’s Moon Knight, Marvel’s stars and creatives have a history of surprising fans at screenings. Marvel Studios and company continue to appreciate the fandom and seem very aware of its wants/needs—something that is apparent in Multiverse of Madness. With a script written by Waldron, the film adheres to Marvel nostalgia in a variety of ways, from cameos, dialogue, and allusions to past projects to memes come to life. That said, what is perhaps even more surprising than a visit from Feige and Raimi in Tinsel Town is Multiverse of Madness itself. It has repeatedly been said that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is very much a Sam Raimi film. The blockbuster is filled with the director's signature brand of camp and pushes the MCU towards horror more than ever before. Despite its PG-13 rating, the film is chilling and brutal in a way fans may not have expected. What this outing represents is Marvel Studios’ willingness to take risks and allow creatives to operate within their comfort zones. To quote Raimi in the video above, “My father always told me, ‘It doesn’t matter if they pay you 22 million dollars for a movie, it’s really not any different than being paid 22 billion dollars for a movie.'” To reiterate, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is currently playing in theaters.