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Screenwriter Michael Waldron On How Rick And Morty Was A 'Great Training Ground' For The MCU - Exclusive

While some filmmakers like "Spider-Man" and "Evil Dead" director Sam Raimi seem to be tailor-made to direct films like "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," the creatives behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe also seem to have a knack for selecting talent you would never expect to write or direct their superhero films.

Among the most noteworthy filmmakers to make a huge impact on the MCU are "Captain America" and "Avengers" directors Anthony and Joe Russo. The filmmaking brothers got their start writing and directing the crime comedy "Welcome to Collinwood," and contributed their filmmaking expertise by directing episodes of such notable sitcoms as "Arrested Development" and "Happy Endings" (via IMDb). Another seemingly nontraditional choice to head an MCU project would be Matt Shankman, whose directing gigs prior to being hired to helm "WandaVision" included the TV dramas "The Good Wife," "House," and "Fargo," as well as the sitcoms "Ugly Betty" and "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia."

Perhaps what makes "Multiverse of Madness" screenwriter Michael Waldron so unique is that his background is rooted in the live-action and animated worlds of "Community" creator and "Rick and Morty" co-creator Dan Harmon. Starting on both shows in 2014 as an assistant, Waldron steadily rose in the Hollywood ranks, and before too long, he was hired to be the showrunner for the MCU's Disney+ series "Loki." As one of the filmmakers who set off the events of the MCU multiverse via the actions of Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Sylvie (Sophie Di Martino) in the "Loki" Season 1 finale, it only made sense for Marvel Studios to hire Waldron as the writer for "Multiverse of Madness."

Reflecting on his career in an exclusive interview, Waldron told Looper that his past work on "Rick and Morty" provided him with more relevant experience to handle his MCU projects than people might think.

Michael Waldron trained in the Rick and Morty universe

New in theaters, "Multiverse of Madness" picks up after the events of "Spider-Man: No Way Home," where Peter Parker (Tom Holland) interfered with Dr. Stephen Strange's spell to make everyone forget that he's also Spider-Man. As a result, the botched spell allowed for foes of two versions of Spider-Man from other universes to enter Earth's dimension through a hole in the multiverse. "Multiverse of Madness" finds Strange entering the multiverse to aid gifted teen America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez). There's danger involved, though, since the young teen is being pursued by Wanda Maximoff, aka Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), who seeks to extract America's rare powers to effortlessly venture across alternate universes.

Like its MCU predecessors, "Multiverse of Madness" is not only about its visual razzmatazz. As such, Michael Waldron believes that's why his past work on "Rick and Morty" was crucial to his development as an MCU writer.

"I was an intern on the very first season of 'Rick and Morty.' It was so much a part of my own origin story as a writer and then getting to come back as a writer," Waldron shared with Looper. "And I came up under Dan Harmon. That's a great training ground for the MCU because it's big, crazy sci-fi with a strong emotional heartbeat at its core, which I think is exactly what the MCU does so well. I'm lucky to have been a part of it."

Also starring Rachel McAdams and Chiwetel Ejiofor, "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" is now in theaters.