The big cameo moment in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness consisted of “piecing together” various shoots with the actors.
🚨There are MASSIVE — and yes, I mean MASSIVE — spoilers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ahead!🚨
Since director Sam Raimi has such a distinct voice in the horror film genre, Michael and Sam worked to make sure Multiverse of Madness “deliberately” felt like a “campy” Raimi horror movie in a lot of places.
One of the most important things for Michael was making sure the film was still driven by the characters’ stories, even though the scale was huge and dealt with the multiverse.
While writing the film, Michael read “all the WandaVision scripts” and watched “early cuts” of episodes in order to fully understand Wanda Maximoff’s journey in that series.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness began filming while WandaVision was airing, so the cast and crew were slowly watching it become a “sensation” while working alongside Elizabeth Olsen and seeing everyone fall in love with Wanda Maximoff and her performance.
Alongside knowing the story for WandaVision, Michael was also told what was going to happen in Spider-Man: No Way Home and how it would affect Doctor Strange’s storyline and the MCU at large.
Elizabeth wrapped filming on WandaVision a few days before flying to London to start filming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Michael explained that it was amazing to see her have “total ownership” of Wanda and the Scarlet Witch.
Elizabeth gave Michael and others on the creative team a lot of feedback and notes on Wanda’s journey in the film, and they even tweaked storylines and moments based on her suggestions.
In fact, one story element Michael collaborated with Lizzie a lot on was Wanda’s ideas about being “reasonable” and calling out Doctor Strange for his actions that make him a hero but would make her a villain. Elizabeth wanted to make sure the audience could understand Wanda’s actions.
Watching Elizabeth Olsen finally tackle the Scarlet Witch while on set was a highlight for Michael and the rest of the team, and he explained it as a “really physically grueling performance on top of the emotional stuff too.”
Michael said that working with Sam Raimi was one of the most collaborative experiences he’s ever been part of, and he learned “a lifetime’s worth from him about making film, about telling stories, about working with actors, and collaborating with an entire crew.”
And Michael was on set “the whole time” during filming, which took place in London during lockdown and then had reshoots in Los Angeles.
In terms of which cameos would happen during the Illuminati scene, Michael described it as an “ever-moving target” of who was available, but the group of characters and actors who ended up on screen was beyond their “wildest dreams.”
When coming up with which characters would be part of the Illuminati, it was all about figuring out which characters Doctor Strange would’ve conceivably trusted and invited to be part of this elite group.
While Patrick Stewart, John Krasinski, Hayley Atwell, Lashana Lynch, and Anson Mount shared every scene together, they were never all together filming. The finished product consisted of “piecing together” various shoots with these actors.
Writing Scarlet Witch absolutely destroying each Illuminati member was “awesome” for Michael, and he loved writing some “cold one-liners” that he knew Elizabeth Olsen would be able to deliver perfectly.
In fact, Wanda’s now iconic “What mouth?” line that she utters before killing Black Bolt was something Sam Raimi came up with while thinking about how she could kill this character.
One of Michael’s favorite moments from set was watching Xochitl Gomez film her first scenes with Benedict Cumberbatch, Benedict Wong, Lizzie Olsen, Rachel McAdams, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, and just seeing her hold her own alongside these “seasoned actors.”
Out of everything that happens in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, one of the things Michael is most excited to see continue is Xochitl’s performance as America.
While Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness notably went through reshoots for a long time, not much of the story changed with them. Michael explained that the reshoots were all about adding to the already existing plot, not about fixing things.
While Wanda’s story is left open-ended at the very end of the movie — listen, I don’t believe for one second that she’s dead — Michael hopes this isn’t the end of her story in the MCU, considering “people love Wanda and Lizzie Olsen.”
In fact, something Michael loved about Wanda’s sacrifice at the end of the movie is that it shows the Wanda we know and love has broken free of the Darkhold’s control, and she does this very “heroic thing to protect Wanda Maximoffs across the multiverse.”
Charlize Theron’s epic introduction as Clea was something the creative team was shooting for, but they still couldn’t believe they managed to have her sign on for the part.
And while there were “other versions” of Clea and Stephen’s first scene together, it always came down to wanting to introduce this character now because Doctor Strange closed a chapter with Christine, and it was time to introduce this love interest from the comics.
And finally, two of Michael’s favorite Easter eggs from Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness are Rintrah, the green minotaur who is a Marvel comics character, and Sam Raimi’s iconic yellow Oldsmobile Delta 88, which has appeared in all of his previous films, like the Evil Dead, all three of his Spider-Man movies, Drag Me to Hell, and more.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is in theaters now!