When Disney brought Sam Raimi into the MCU to take the helm on Doctor Strange 2, the Marvel fanbase anticipated the first ever horror movie in the MCU timeline. And, to be fair, Raimi duly delivered, pushing the boundaries of what previous MCU movies have been able to do in terms of scares and violence. But, believe it or not, the master of the undead initially didn’t want to include zombies in his movie.
If you’ve seen the Marvel Phase 4 movie by now, you’ll know that of the various Doctor Strange 2 cameos is an appearance from a zombie version of Strange from another dimension. You’d think that the inclusion of zombies would be right up Raimi’s street, given his involvement in creating the Evil Dead movies from the ‘80s.
Well, in a recent interview with Polygon, Michael Waldron, who wrote Doctor Strange 2 and the Disney Plus TV series Loki, described how Sam Raimi hesitated about having zombies in the movie at all. Apparently, Raimi feared that people would think he was just riffing on his own legacy of zombie movies, and had to be convinced to go with the idea.
“I was totally writing with Sam in mind the entire time. I had watched all his movies. I tried to really get an ear for the dialogue in his movies, because I wanted it to feel like a Sam Raimi film,” Waldron explained. “But Sam, to his credit, had no interest in coming in and just playing the hits.”
“Sam did not come in and say, ‘I need you to give me a zombie’. And in fact, when I presented the idea of Dead Strange to him, there was a real hesitancy on his part,” Waldron added. “He didn’t want it to seem like he was just saying ‘I want to do my Sam Raimi thing.'”
Apparently, Raimi wasn’t on board with the use of the undead until discussions about the overarching themes of Doctor Strange’s character development, and how the zombie concept played into the bigger picture of the MCU convinced him otherwise.
He made the right call. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is in theatres now.