Doctor Strange 2: Why Loki's Head Writer Had So Much Fun Jumping Back Into The MCU With Sam Raimi

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange in Avengers: Infinity War

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Writer Michael Waldron has been on quite a ride in the Marvel Cinematic Universe recently. First he recruited to work within the superhero franchise as the head writer of Disney+’s Loki, and then he was brought aboard Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness to rewrite the script. The latter project is being directed by Sam Raimi, and Waldron had a great time working with the Evil Dead filmmaker on the Master of the Mystic Arts’ next solo movie.

CinemaBlend’s own Nick Venable recently sat down with Michael Waldron to talk about his work on Loki, but the conversation also turned to his soon-to-premiere Starz series Heels. At the time Waldron joined Loki, Heels, which Starz had previously shelved despite most of Season 1 having already been written, decided to put that back into rotation, hence why Mike O’Malley served as showrunner instead of him. Nevertheless, Waldron’s experience on Heels made him more comfortable writing for dramas, which helped informed Loki’s tone. When Nick asked if it was more satisfying going straight from Loki to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, as opposed to having to wait a long time between the projects, Waldron answered:

Yeah, I mean, God, it was a weird year, as it was for everybody. I was getting ready to go to Atlanta to be on set for Loki when I got basically pulled onto Doctor Strange 2, and was starting in on that with Sam Raimi. So I ended up spending all of my 2020 on Zooms with Sam, figuring out that movie, and that was a blast. Then I got to be in London for five months at the top of this year making that movie. So yeah, it was great. It was really fun to go from from Loki straight into Doctor Strange. It was a totally different thing, you know, making a show about a villain to making a movie about a hero. It was good, and felt like I got to work completely different muscles. And then just getting to be on the set with Sam Raimi, there's nothing cooler than that.

Originally Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was going to be directed by Scott Derrickson, who helmed the first Doctor Strange movie. However, by early 2020, Derrickson relinquished his directorial duties due to creative differences (he’s still credited as an executive producer), and soon after, Sam Raimi, who previously helmed Tobey Maguire’s Spider-Man trilogy, was tapped as his replacement. Clearly this worked to Michael Waldron’s benefit, but along with getting to spend so much time with Sam Raimi, he also appreciated the opportunity to work on a story centered on a tried-and-true superhero, as opposed to Loki, which chronicled a variant of the eponymous supervillain going on a redemption journey.

Along with the previously-mentioned projects, Michael Waldron also has plenty of comedy experience from working on shows like Community and Rick and Morty. When asked if his comedic background helped with going into the darker world of Doctor Strange, Waldron said the following:

Comedy helps, because if nothing else, it's just, like, the pace. I think the pacing of comedy is similar, in a way, to the pacing of thrillers, of thrilling movies. Sam likes to work at an accelerated pace and everything, and that was something I was very comfortable with from Rick and Morty, from Loki. So our sensibilities clicked very well.

It sounds like Sam Raimi and Michael Waldron made for an effective pairing, so it’ll be interesting to see how their collaboration on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness turns out. Outside of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Stephen Strange visiting other realities, no specific plot details for the sequel have been revealed yet. The rest of the main cast includes Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo, Benedict Wong as Wong, Rachel McAdams as Christine Palmer and Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez, and Tom Hiddleston will reportedly reprise Loki as well.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will cast its spell in theaters on March 25, 2022. In the meantime, you can catch Michael Waldron’s Heels work on display when the show premieres Sunday, August 15 at 9 pm ET on Starz. Don’t forget that Loki Season 1 is also available to watch in its entirety on Disney+, so make sure you’re subscribed to the streaming service.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.