There’s a lot of speculation about the next phase of Marvel films and what’s beyond all that. On the top of everyone’s speculation list- Blade. The second most-talked-about is Thor: Love and Thunder. The third one then has to be Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness.
Even with a title like that, there’s a lot being described and a lot for fans to dive into. Over-speculative nerds like myself are drooling over the possibilities of the multiverse now that at least the phrase and idea were introduced in Spider-Man: Far From Home. Although the reality of it didn’t pan out in the film, it doesn’t exclude the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) proper from diving into it with the Sorcerer Supreme.
As theories pop up and speculations abound, one theory seems to pique our interest: the idea of introducing Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films in the Doctor Strange sequel.
In "Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness", Strange will take a brief detour to the Sam Raimi Spider-Man universe. This is why Jameson says the name ‘Dr. Strange’ is "taken" in Spider-Man 2. from FanTheories
Theories Gone Wild
Reddit user u/loutermit posits that Raimi fans will remember a one-off line from Spider-Man 2 where James Jonah Jameson suggested a name for Doctor Otto Octavius. One reporter chimes in with “Doctor Strange,” and JJJ says that the name had already been “taken,” without any further explanation. (Related: Rumor: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness To Introduce OG Nick Fury)
The fact that J.K. Simmons reprises his role as J. Jonah Jameson in Spider-Man: Far From Home seems to be the only evidence reinforcing this theory. Perhaps this character from the Raimi trilogy had crossed over into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The multiverse is a thing in the MCU as it was introduced in the first Doctor Strange film. The Ancient One tells Dr. Stephen Strange, “This universe is only one of an infinite number. Worlds without end. Some benevolent and life-giving. Others filled with malice and hunger. Dark places where powers older than time lie, ravenous and waiting.” The Ancient One even asks Doctor Strange, “Who are you in this vast multiverse, Mr. Strange?”
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness -The First Horror Film for Marvel?
Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson took the stage at Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con to announce the Doctor Strange sequel. Not only did he announce the film, but he noted it would be a horror film and feature Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch. Not only will Olsen’s Scarlet Witch play a prominent role in the film, but it will tie in heavily with the upcoming Disney+ series WandaVision. (Related: Elizabeth Olsen: Disney+ WandaVision Show Set in 1950s)
A Horror for the Spider-Man Films?
There’s definitely a few holes in this theory when you really try to flesh it out. How will Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man films fit in with the announced horror element of Doctor Strange. The tones of the two franchises seem more of a clash than a melding of two franchises. (Related: Namor Rumored to Appear in Black Panther 2 or Doctor Strange 2)
Although Raimi has some horror genre films under his belt, his Spider-Man movies were tonal shifts from movies like The Grudge and Poltergeist. They feel more like Hudsucker Proxy and carry a lightheartedness to them that Doctor Strange in its first film just didn’t muster.
If they make it work, then kudos to the writers and the director. It’ll be interesting to see what they do for the next Doctor Strange film. But there’s a lot of characters in there already without involving Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy.