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Sam Raimi Hints At The Real Villain In Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness

The highly anticipated Marvel extravaganza "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" is about to break loose in theaters nationwide. Written by Michael Waldron, the film takes place a few months after the events of "Spider-Man: No Way Home," in which the multiverse was accidentally opened by Dr. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in an effort to help Peter Parker (Tom Holland). In this altered landscape, Strange and his allies — including Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Wong (Benedict Wong) — must travel through the multiverse, where they will face unforeseen horrors of the likes the MCU has never depicted thus far. The film also stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Karl Mordo, Michael Stuhlbarg as Nicodemus West, Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez, and Rachel McAdams as Christine Palmer.

Much of the excitement surrounding the movie has to do with the fact that it's the big Marvel comeback for former "Evil Dead" director Sam Raimi, who helmed the original "Spider-Man" trilogy starring Tobey Maguire prior to the beginning of the MCU. Not only is "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" Raimi's first MCU film, it's also his first directorial project in nearly a decade, with his last film being 2013's "Oz the Great and Powerful."

In the weeks leading up to the film's release, Raimi has been discussing all things Marvel — from what it was like to see Maguire reprise his role as Spider-Man for "No Way Home," to which MCU films he watched before taking on "Doctor Strange" — but in a recent interview, he more directly hinted at who the real villain (or villains?) of "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" may be.

Raimi implies there may be more than one villain

In an exclusive interview with Erik Davis of Fandango, Sam Raimi noted that the goal from the start was to make the MCU's first horror-tinged big screen outing. In that same vein, when the interviewer prodded deeper about the darker aspects of the plot, going so far as to ask Raimi whom he perceived the villain of the movie to be, Raimi's answer was both elusive and interesting. 

"Well, there's iterations of our characters throughout the multiverse," Raimi said. "So, if I were to say Strange ... I'm not really supposed to answer this question, but I might be saying altered Strange. Same with Wanda and Mordo. But I would say, at different times, all of the above."

Now, while it's entirely possible (if not probable) that Raimi is hiding plot twists here — the MCU does love to keep secrets, as seen in the first "Doctor Strange" movie, where the surprise villain ended up being Strange's comics archenemy, Dormammu — this quote does indicate that the film's heroes and villains — whichever variants they may — will definitely come in shades of gray. Raimi also discussed dealing with different versions of each of the characters throughout the multiverse. He said, "I think that was the most interesting thing — to see Benedict Cumberbatch bring out a part of his personality that was slightly unique to create one of his altered selves. Or to watch Lizzie maybe bring a darker part of herself out to create an altered version of herself. The slightest tweaks they could come up with made it very interesting for me."

Fans can decide for themselves who they think the real villain is when "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" premieres in theaters this weekend.