Marvel’s Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness has been a major box office success for the studio and writer/director Sam Raimi, and yes, you’re supposed to leave the theater with mixed feelings about the multiverse.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Michael Waldron, the screenwriter, explained that inspiration for the film came from a blockbuster horror/action film of the 1980s in his efforts to leave you “truly terrified.”
Waldron is a veteran of the MCU, having written for Disney Plus’ Loki. In addition, he served as a writer for Rick & Morty, meaning that he is no stranger to stories that revolve around cranky magical geniuses navigating the multiverse and time travel.
And while it may be surprising that a veteran comedy writer assigned to a Marvel film leaned into the horror genre, director Raimi made his bones with the Evil Dead franchise, which is still going strong. And with three-quarters of a billion dollars at the box office in its first week, it looks as if it was the right move.
In the Rolling Stone interview, Waldron said this:
“I was watching Aliens a lot as I was writing. Because just tonally this movie is a thriller and a [feature-length] chase. I just love how Aliens goes to great lengths to tell you how badass the space Marines are — and then they just get slaughtered. Then you are really scared of the Xenomorphs for the rest of that movie, and that’s what I wanted to accomplish with Wanda.
At the end of that Illuminati sequence. I hope you were truly terrified of the Scarlet Witch. It’s been awesome being in the theater hearing the cheers, then the gasps and the groans. [Laughs] I mean, you know, people were feeling something at the movies. That’s good!”
If you haven’t caught Doctor Strange 2, you still have time to groan in a crowd.