By Vic Medina
If some of Marvel’s recent cinematic offerings have you bummed, never fear, true believers: Pizza Poppa is here to save the day… maybe. While at the San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend to promote the 4K and Blu-ray releases of Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Bruce Campbell dropped some interesting details that hint at his possible future in the MCU. In a video interview with VarietyCampbell claimed that he had signed a three-picture deal with Marvel Studios, presumably to reprise his Pizza Poppa character from Doctor Strange 2. “This is not a one-off thing,” Campbell said, hinting that the character is “not just a pizza vendor. Not even close,” and adding that the character could be “a building block for the multiverse.”
Given Bruce Campbell’s reputation as a jokester, his comments should be taken with a grain of salt. He claimed that Marvel Studios would be none too happy over his “reveal,” joking “I’m going to get calls. They might pull this interview.” With a sly smile, Campbell joked “Marvel doesn’t care. They’re going to shut you down if you let this slip out.” Although his comments may have been tongue-in-cheek, the idea of more Pizza Poppa would likely be welcomed among Marvel fans.
With the passing of Marvel Comics legend Stan Lee in 2018, recent MCU movies have lacked that common running joke that he provided via cameo. Bruce Campbell and Pizza Poppa could be that common thread that extends across the Marvel Multiverse and provide a laugh at the same time. It would certainly fit in the framework of the Multiverse Saga, the common name given to films and TV series in MCU Phases 4 through 6. It’s certainly not what we expected when Campbell’s cameo first came to light, in which he has a run-in with Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange and Xochitl Gomez’s America Chavez.
Campbell’s appearances in Marvel movies can be traced back to his long-standing friendship with high school pal Sam Raimi. In 1979, he and Raimi raised $350,000 to make their first film, the horror classic The Evil Dead. Campbell starred and Raimi directed, and the film sparked a number of sequels, including a series for Starz, Ash vs Evil Dead. Raimi went on to become a successful director, with films like Disney’s Oz The Great and Powerful, Drag Me to Hell, Darkmanand The Quick and the Deadand often casts Bruce Campbell in his films as a cameo or supporting actor. When Raimi was called upon to direct 2002’s Spider-Man for Sony, Campbell appeared as a ring announcer. He also appeared in the two sequels starring Tobey Maguire as the web-slinger, and when Raimi signed on for Doctor Strange 2Campbell joined officially the MCU.
Indeed, if there is a future for Bruce Campbell and Pizza Poppa in the MCU, there are plenty of projects awaiting them. One of the highlights of Comic Con was the Marvel panel, which mapped out the current slate of Marvel films for Phases 4 through 6. Phase Four, which hit its zenith with 2021’s Spider-Man: No Way Homeofficially ends with Black Panther: Wakanda Foreveropening in theaters on November 11. Phase 5 begins with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania on February 17, 2023, which continues the Multiverse story arc and introduces Kang, the Thanos-like final boss who will menace the Marvel universe until Phase 6 ends with Avengers: Secret Wars on November 7, 2025. Secret Wars is a landmark event for Marvel Comics fans, especially those who grew up in the 1980s. Whether Marvel Studios will wait that long to introduce Spider-Man’s black suit (as the Secret Wars comic did) remains to be seen, but having Pizza Poppa along for the ride would be a nice addition.