Before the Marvel Cinematic Universe became the box office and cultural juggernaut that it is today, there were a smattering of successful superhero films that ultimately paved the way for Marvel Studios. In the early-to-mid aughts, Sam Raimi directed Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2, which are arguably one of the best movies of the genre in the 2000s.

Then, in 2007, Spider-Man 3 came out. 

The third installment in the Tobey Maguire-led franchise was poorly-received, especially the portrayal of Peter Parker under the control of the symbiote. Spidey fans lambasted Raimi, and all the good will he built up from the prior two films was gone. So how did we get to the point where Raimi confirmed last year that he will be directing Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness?

“I didn’t know that I could face it again because it was so awful, having been the director of Spider-Man 3,” Raimi told Collider. “The Internet was getting revved up and people disliked that movie and they sure let me know about it. So, it was difficult to take back on.”

When Marvel Studios was thinking about who could helm the sequel to 2016’s Doctor Strange, Raimi’s name came up, and instead of removing himself from consideration, he had one lingering question emerge. “But then, I found out that there was an opening on Doctor Strange 2,” he continued. “My agent called me and said, ‘They’re looking for a director at Marvel for this movie and your name came up. Would you be interested?’ And I thought, ‘I wonder if I could still do it.’”

“They’re really demanding, those types of pictures,” Raimi said. “And I felt, ‘Well, that’s reason enough.’ I’ve always really liked the character of Doctor Strange. He was not my favorite, but he was right up there with the favorites. I loved the first movie, I thought [director] Scott Derrickson did a wonderful job, an incredible job. So, I said, ‘Yeah.’ They left the character in a great place. I didn’t think I would be doing another superhero movie. it just happened.”

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will hit theaters on March 25, 2022.