Marvel brought the multiverse to Hollywood Monday night for the world premiere of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness at the Dolby Theatre.
All the film’s stars made their way down the red carpet, some even taking time to mingle with adoring fans lining Hollywood Boulevard, including Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams and Marvel newcomer Xochitl Gomez, as well as director Sam Raimi.
Dr. Strange himself, Cumberbatch revealed to The Hollywood Reporter at the premiere ahead of the film’s Friday debut why he believes Raimi, who has deep roots in the horror genre, was chosen to direct the Marvel Studios sequel.
“I think Sam’s just got the combination of superhero-dom and horror, and that’s what you’ll see hopefully sort of being expressed in this film and the tone of it,” Cumberbatch tells THR. “Any Sam Raimi fan is going to have the most amazing nostalgic hit of shock horror, jump scares and everything else that’s his trademark of him in horror, but also how he handles a complex storyline, rich character deal, evolution with those characters as well from his spider-man trilogy.”
Raimi directed Sony’s original spider-man trilogy back in the 2000s. Ironically, Raimi’s spider-man turned 20 on Tuesday. The iconic director opened up about returning to the Marvel world of superheroes for Madness two decades later.
“It’s brilliant to come back 20 years later and see how everything has evolved and see that Kevin Feige, who was just an assistant on the spider-man movies, came to great prominence and came to rule the Marvel universe,” Raimi tells THR. “And it’s really wonderful that he sees to the integrity of the characters. That’s really, I think, the secret to the success of Marvel.”
Madness is one of the first Marvel features to see a storyline from the superhero powerhouse’s Disney+ series be carried into a tentpole film. Elizabeth Olsen, who plays Wanda Maximoff aka The Scarlet Witch, spoke about transferring her character’s storyline from the hit series WandaVision into the new movie.
“I’m trying to figure out if other people do it,” says Olsen. “I can’t see an example of how we’ve taken these characters from film, brought them into television, and brought them back into film, right? It’s something that’s very exciting, and I love that we got the fans on our side from WandaVision and then carried the journey into this film.”
Olsen, who joined the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Avengers: Age of Ultronalso revealed that while she’s been with the MCU since 2015, she’s never known the full plan for her character or the entire lineup of projects in which she would be featured.
“I know about two of them at a time, but even then I don’t really know my role in them,” says Olsen. “I didn’t think I would be here this long. I thought they’d kill me!”
The actress also revealed what she’s most thrilled for Marvel fans to see in the new movie. “I’m excited for them to see a lot,” says Olsen. “I think it’s going to be a very surprising film. I’m curious how people are going to talk about it without ruining it for others because there are lots of surprises.”
Co-star Benedict Wong agreed with Olsen’s point, expanding, “It’s still Easter in there, you know? There are so many Easter eggs in this film.”
In addition to surprises and Easter eggs, the film also features the return of familiar faces, like Rachel McAdams as Dr. Christine Palmer, who was last seen in the first Doctor Strange film.
“I didn’t know,” says McAdams, on whether she had any inkling she’d be back in the MCU after Doctor Strange. “The MCU goes on and on and on, so you never know, but I didn’t know if I’d be back in this movie or not, so it’s good to be back.”
The movie also introduces fans to new characters, such as America Chavez, played by Xochitl Gomez. As one of the younger stars to join the MCU, the 16-year-old actress spoke about what the experience has been like for her.
“It’s been crazy,” says Gomez. “Rachel McAdams, I mean Regina George, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Cumberbatch. I’m like, literally, ‘What in the world is going on?!’”
The character of Chavez is a member of the LGBTQ+ community in the comics. In the film, it is revealed that Chavez has two moms; a moment seemingly responsible for the movie being banned in Saudi Arabia.
“It’s just great that other people feel represented with her being on screen and I think it’s a really big deal,” says Gomez of her character. She’s representing the LGBTQ [community], Latinas, teens and girls. There’s just so much right there.”
Madness marks the latest Marvel project in Phase 4 to highlight diverse and inclusive storylines and shine a light on perspectives not previously featured in the MCU, such as Eternals which saw the inclusion of a same-gender couple and the MCU’s first gay superhero in Phastos (Bryan Tyree Henry). What’s more, the forthcoming Disney+ series Ms Marvel marks the first Marvel Studios project centering on a Muslim character.
“I think that’s Kevin’s goal,” says Olsen. “Kevin wants to reflect the world that we look at, and that means inclusion and diversity. We have such an opportunity to have representation on our screens, and I’m grateful to be a part of that.”
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness opens Friday.