Marvel’s latest feature, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, has proven to be a bona fide hit with critics and audiences alike. Sitting at a rating of 74 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, the film has garnered an impressive $800 million at the global box office. While many fans of the film have enjoyed its foray into the Marvel multiverse, others have appreciated the work of the project’s director, legendary horror filmmaker Sam Raimi. In making Multiverse of Madness, Raimi injected many horror tropes into the film’s narrative, the biggest of which was an undead version of the titular Sorcerer Supreme. While fans enjoyed this nod to the director’s past work, a new interview from the film’s writer, Michael Waldron, reveals that Raimi was initially against including the horror reference in the film.
Speaking with reporters from Polygon, Waldron says that upon setting out to write Multiverse of Madness, he watched all of Raimi’s prior films to get an idea for the director’s preferred style of dialogue. In writing the film in this manner, Waldron hoped to make Multiverse of Madness feel like a Sam Raimi film. Waldron was taken aback when the director told him that he hoped to move in a different direction with the film, not wanting it to feel like a carbon copy of his past efforts. Waldron then had to better explain his reasoning for including the undead version of Strange in the film, pointing out that it was part of the movie’s larger narrative and not just a reference to Raimi’s past films. Upon learning of Waldron’s true intent, Raimi embraced undead Strange and sought to have fun with the concept.
Undead Strange was featured heavily in the film’s promotional material. Initially, fans thought this version of Strange was from an episode of the Disney+ series What If…? that focused on a zombie plague. The episode featured many zombie versions of the franchise’s biggest characters, including Strange, Captain America, and Iron Man. Due to the great response to the episode from fans, Marvel quickly greenlit a spinoff series that will be a continuation of its story entitled Marvel Zombies.