Marvel Studios president and producer Kevin Feige clears up misconceptions Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a horror film after returning Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson described the sequel as "the first scary [Marvel Cinematic Universe] film." Officially announced at San Diego Comic-Con over the summer as part of Marvel's Phase 4 film slate, Multiverse of Madness is inspired by the Marvel Comics that "dipped into the gothic and the horror and the horrific," Derrickson said in July, and Feige notes Multiverse of Madness will feature "scary sequences" similar to films directed or produced by Steven Spielberg:
"Multiverse of Madness is the greatest title we've ever come up with, by the way, which is one thing that's exciting about it," Feige said when appearing as guest speaker at the New York Film Academy. "I wouldn't necessarily say that's a horror film, but … it'll be a big MCU film with scary sequences in it."
Recalling his childhood in the 1980s, Feige cites the Spielberg-directed Raiders of the Lost Ark and Temple of Doom, as well as the Spielberg-produced Gremlins and Poltergeist.
"I mean, there are horrifying sequences in Raiders that I as a little kid would [cover my eyes] when their faces melted. Or Temple of Doom, of course, or Gremlins, or Poltergeist," Feige said. "These are the movies that invented the PG-13 rating, by the way. They were PG and then they were like, 'We need another [rating].' But that's fun. It's fun to be scared in that way, and not a horrific, torturous way, but a way that is legitimately scary — because Scott Derrickson is quite good at that — but scary in the service of an exhilarating emotion."
Derrickson, whose past works include horror films The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Sinister and Deliver Us from Evil, said at Comic-Con he didn't want "to do just another sequel to do a sequel."
"If I'm gonna do it," he said from Hall H, "it has to go into the territory that drew me into the Doctor Strange comics in the first place, which is how they dipped into the gothic and the horror and the horrific, and we're gonna make the first scary MCU film."
Plot details remain under wraps, but joining Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular Sorcerer Supreme is Cumberbatch's Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame co-star Elizabeth Olsen, who first returns as Wanda Maximoff in Disney+ spinoff series WandaVision, set to tie into Multiverse of Madness.
Feige also teased the film will introduce an unexpected character to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness opens in theaters May 7, 2021.