Doctor Strange fans have experienced a rollercoaster of emotions over the last few weeks, as last month saw the confirmation that original director Scott Derrickson wouldn't be returning for the sequel, with the latest reports being that Sam Raimi, who previously delivered the original Spider-Man trilogy, was in talks to helm Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. While this news would likely excite a number of fans, the news comes with the disappointment that Rachel McAdams, who played Christine Palmer in the original Doctor Strange, likely won't be returning for the film. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is slated to hit theaters on May 7, 2021.
Despite McAdams not returning, Benedict Cumberbatch, Benedict Wong, and Chiwetel Ejiofor are all slated to reprise their Marvel Cinematic Universe roles. Additionally, Elizabeth Olsen is set to appear as Scarlet Witch, with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige often teasing that the events of the upcoming Disney+ TV series WandaVision would play a major role in setting the stage for the Doctor Strange sequel.
While McAdams might not return for the sequel, we shouldn't count her out of the MCU entirely. Natalie Portman starred in the first two Thor films, only for her Jane Foster character to have parted ways with the Asgardian in the franchise, though the upcoming Thor: Love and Thunder is set to see her return after nearly a decade away from the series. McAdams' absence could merely be temporary, as the expanding MCU might allow her character to return further down the line.
Raimi taking over the series could be a major turning point for the MCU for a number of reasons. Prior to delivering audiences Spider-Man in 2002, the filmmaker was known for his horror efforts, such as his Evil Dead trilogy. His ambitious efforts with those films proved to be a success in the superhero world, and, with Feige and Derrickson previously teasing the Doctor Strange sequel would lean much more heavily into the world of horror, Raimi could once again bring those genre sensibilities.
Additionally, fans have been hoping to see elements of Raimi's trilogy embraced by the proper MCU, with last year's Spider-Man: Far From Home seeing J.K. Simmons reprise his role as J. Jonah Jameson for that film's post-credits scene. Raimi helming an MCU film featuring multiple dimensions could confirm the franchise embracing even more elements of that trilogy.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is slated to hit theaters on May 7, 2021.
This news was first reported by Variety.