Riding on the coattails of ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’ comes the much anticipated MCU outing ‘Doctor Strange in The Multiverse of Madness’. Picking up where we left off, with a crack in the works of the world as we know it, Stephen Strange unwittingly befriends America Chavez and finds himself having to face off against faces old and new to save the world and the multiply universes.

Directed by Sam Raimi, the latest entry yet again brings something fresh to the table incorporating elements from both the previous films and the Disney+ range of MCU series alongside an abundance of surprising (and not so surprising) cameos and easter eggs that will keep the die-hard fans gasping and flinching from start to finish.

During the recent press tour for the movie Kevin Feige, Sam Raimi, Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez and Michael Waldron enlighted a number of journalists at the press conference, trying not to reveal the secrets of the joys to be had from the movie.

Related: Interview – Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen & Benedict Wong on the multiverse & Sam Raimi

Benedict Cumberbatch on kicking off the next phase of the MCU

“He’s quite a maverick. He’s quite an outsider. He doesn’t immediately strike you as a leader, despite his prominence in the MCU at this moment. And that’s what makes him really interesting. And conflicted, I think as a hero. It’s the humanity that keeps people coming back for more. And I think we see in the film an iteration of somebody who we’ve seen very omnipotent, very creative and sort of omnipresent. Yet, we haven’t really understood what the cost of that is. What it is that’s fueling that, both him as a person, but also within this mysterious realm of sorcery magic. So, this one is about examining that and finding his flaws, his faults, his humanity, as well as his strengths. And renewing our understanding of him and deepening our understanding of him.”

Elizabeth Olsen on her evolution from the original films to Wandavision and now the Multiverse of Madness

“In the previous films before WandaVision, I took up a lane for storytelling that was more grounded in sincerity, love, loss, and grief. With WandaVision, I got to become anything and everything. Really grow her into a woman, and leading her to accept she is this mythic woman. That is her destiny. I hope that in this film people see that continuation of her acceptance of who she is. The journey that she has taken to get to this moment, I feel like she has way more clarity now than ever in this film.”

Xochitl Gomez on joining the MCU as America Chavez

“One thing that was so important to me was that this is a very adult movie. There are lots of adults in it. It’s very heavy. So, I wanted to make sure that America still had that youthfulness and still had that, fake it ’til you make it, just resilience. But, when you’ve got some crazy stuff happening it’s a little hard. But I think one thing that really helps is that she is 14, which is younger than she was in any of the comics. So, that really helps, in writing a new introduction which I think Michael Waldron did beautifully.”

Michael Waldron (writer) on the challenges of keeping to the 20 year-long storylines of the MCU.

“We have a locked script. It’s really easy. I had the great benefit of inheriting the bulk of these characters. So, I think that that was what certainly centred me creatively. Stephen, Wanda, Wong, obviously America is a new character that Xochitl was originating, but in a lot of ways, I was just a steward of these characters on the page and so there was a lot of opportunities to collaborate with these tremendous actors who know them better than I could. As the script evolved, which it very much was all the time, you’re really refining it and I guess, yeah, it’s leaning on the people who have been doing it even longer than we have in this individual chapter. It’s a real team effort putting this story together.”

Sam Raimi on working with the legacy actors and their input in the script and lining up the storyline with the Spider-Man: No Way Home and WandaVision.

“They’re opinionated. They know their characters better than anybody. So, they’ll recognize in playing of the scene this is untrue. This feels like a manipulation or could it be more real. We’d make changes in the moment trying to riff on that very good idea. Then when you’ve got great team members as a director, you really wanna pull the best of their ideas together and make something better than you could’ve made on your own. That’s exactly what working on this movie was like for me. Great actors, great ideas, a script that was constantly changing. But it was a very lively process. Not only that but the other movies that we have storylines from, some were being made concurrently or had just finished. Like WandaVision had just finished or Spider-Man: No Way Home was also shooting. Our movie referenced those films. We had to have meetings with the director saying what does Dr. Strange know by the end of No Way Home? Does he even remember the multiverse? We have plenty of questions that Michael had to take into the script in the moment and take their chances and that change rippled through our movie.”

Benedict Cumberbatch on playing different versions of Stephen Strange.

“I just think what the Strange we know learns from that. This multiversal narrative structure or idea is like it is in our own lives. We play multiple roles. We have an incredible capacity and imaginative space in our subconscious to imagine ourselves in different circumstances in our dreamscape and I feel that this is an extrapolation of that in the sense that he’s meeting other versions who are essentially him, but they’ve made different choices in different circumstances with different outcomes. So, it’s a great fuel from a very odd spectacular self-therapy, really.”

Kevin Feige on keeping plot details under wraps.

“Well, the unfortunate truth is, you don’t. [LAUGH] Therefore, you need to make sure that the experience itself works regardless of what has been spoiled or not. We still do as good a job as we can, and I think a lot of people are getting good at not spreading it. You know, if somebody steals something, don’t spread it around because it just potentially lessens the experience. In a lot of ways, No Way Home showed that it did not lessen the experience. So we will continue to do the best that we can, but the most important thing is, delivering the movie or the show that delivers regardless of what you know going in.”

Kevin Feige on representing the LGBTQ+ community in the film.

“We always say that these films represent the world as it is and the world outside your window, as they used to say in publishing. That aspect of America’s character is from the comics, so we always want to adapt them as well and as truthfully as we can. I think when people see the movie, much like in life, it is not any one thing that defines any one character. She’s a 14-year-old girl figuring out this very traumatic element of her life, which is not the LGBT issue. It is the fact that she keeps being tossed around the multiverse. Being truthful to that and showcasing that. That is not, what the movie is about, but it is an important part of the character she becomes in the comics. So we wanted to touch upon that.”

Doctor Strange: The Multiverse of Madness is out in cinemas now.