A few months ago, I was bummed to learn that Scott Derrickson would be stepping down from director duties on the Doctor Strange sequel. Then a month later, I was pumped at the reports that Sam Raimi might be taking over.

But with everything going on in the world, that’s the last we heard about the project until now. Coming Soon spoke with Raimi about his upcoming horror anthology series for Quibi and for the first time, Raimi confirmed he is indeed directing Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

The confirmation came up during a discussion about the rumors where it was pointed out that years ago, Raimi had snuck a Doctor Strange reference into Spider-Man 2. In the scene where J. Jonah Jameson and his assistant editor, Ted, are kicking around potential names to call Dr. Otto Octavius, “Doctor Strange” is one of the names Ted suggests. “That’s pretty good,” says Jameson, “but it’s taken.”

It was while reminiscing on that prescient reference that Raimi confirmed he’s taking over for Derrickson on the sequel.

“I loved Doctor Strange as a kid, but he was always after Spider-Man and Batman for me, he was probably at number five for me of great comic book characters. He was so original, but when we had that moment in Spider-Man 2 I had no idea that we would ever be making a Doctor Strange movie, so it was really funny to me that coincidentally that line was in the movie. I gotta say I wish we had the foresight to know that I was going to be involved in the project.”

So there you have it. He’s the director who will be guiding Stephen Strange through the mad reaches of the multiverse.

“If if there’s any director who knows his way around a comic book movie – and a horror-tinged one at that,” I wrote at the time of his rumored involvement, “it’s Raimi.” I fully stand by that statement. That’s not to say I’m not bummed about Scott Derrickson stepping down. Derrickson is a uniquely cerebral and philosophical filmmaker, and the sequel will miss the existential nuance he brings to his work. But the Doctor Strange sequel was always going to be a tricky beast to wrangle. While Marvel is more open to taking risks in Phase 4 than it was in earlier years, the weirdness of Doctor Strange still has to fit within the overall umbrella of the MCU. And there few directors who have the balance of a deep knowledge of comic books and character motivation, a deft touch with humor, and who can masterfully craft horror elements like Raimi.

This must be a dream come true for the longtime filmmaker. He hasn’t been in the director’s chair since 2013, but it’s not often a director gets to make a movie about one of his favorite characters while growing up, let alone making a movie about two different favorite characters. With Derrickson still on board as producer to guide him and maintain character continuity, here’s to hoping Raimi can recapture some of the magic that made Spider-Man 2 one of the greatest comic book movies ever made.

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