A guide to ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’


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Mikayla Meachem, Staff Writer

Marvel Studios is on a roll, bringing diehard comic book fans back into theaters. Marvel had a busy 2021, with the release of series like “WandaVision,” “Falcon and the Winter Soldier” and “Loki” on Disney+. The release of “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” grossed $432.2 million worldwide and was the ninth biggest release of 2021. Even after the end of Phase Three and the Infinity Saga, it’s clear that the hype for Marvel is ever-present and isn’t going anywhere.

2021 ended with the highly anticipated “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which closed out the first half of Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, including the concept of the Multiverse, which has brought fans new characters and fan favorites from other universes.

Get your timelines and tickets ready because Marvel’s Doctor Strange is returning to theaters on May 6, so strap in for a maddening ride! As fans eagerly wait to learn of the mysteries and nightmares haunting Doctor Strange and whether Wanda will find her sons, catch up on the universe that is about to be completely changed in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”

Previously in the MCU…

“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” directly follows the events of “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” which begins with the whole world knowing Spider-Man’s true identity. Peter Parker visits his old friend Doctor Strange in hopes that his magic will make everyone forget that he is Spider-Man. With a botched spell and visitors from alternate universes jumping into the current MCU timeline, “No Way Home” brought all three versions of Spider-Man on one screen to return their respective villains to their original universes. At the end of “No Way Home,” Doctor Strange conjures one last spell to completely erase the world’s memory of Peter Parker, including Peter’s girlfriend MJ and his best friend Ned.

What students should expect in “The Multiverse of Madness”

Because Strange’s spells have altered the fabric of reality, the trailer shows his nightmares haunting him, the world and timeline as he knows it is in collapse, so Strange visits Wanda Maximoff, who is dabbling in chaos magic. He is still not listening to Wong, who is now Sorcerer Supreme, so Strange is, once again, trapped with the duty of attempting to control everything.

Fans know how confusing the MCU timeline is, so first up on the watch list before seeing “The Multiverse of Madness” is “Doctor Strange,” where fans learn about Strange’s path to becoming a sorcerer. Following a car accident that left him unable to continue as a world-renowned surgeon, Strange learns of The Ancient One and obtains the Time Stone. After extensive training and his first encounters with Dormammu in the Dark Dimension, he becomes the protector of the Sanctum Sanctorum, defender of reality and a master of mystic arts.
In “Avengers: End Game,” Hulk travels back in time to 2012 to retrieve the Time Stone from the Ancient One. This is one of the first times realities and multiverses are mentioned in the MCU, and The Ancient One explains to Bruce Banner how the Infinity Stones create the flow of time. Viewers learn that although Strange cannot control everything and often mishandles his spells, he is meant to be the best of the sorcerers.

“WandaVision” is next up on the watch list, bringing viewers Wanda as the Scarlet Witch after her appearance in “End Game.” Not only do fans learn what happens to Vision following “End Game,” but they see how it leads to Wanda learning more about her powers with spells from the Darkhold, a book of dark and chaos magic. This magic is crucial to Scarlet Witch’s development in the MCU, and is teased in “The Multiverse of Madness” trailers.

The fourth episode of the Marvel television series, “What If…?,” entitled “Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands?” gives viewers a first look at Sinister Strange, also seen in the “The Multiverse of Madness” trailer. In this episode, he uses his power and the Eye of Agamotto to change his past, where, in a different reality, it is not Doctor Strange who is injured in a car crash, but rather Christine Palmer, Strange’s ex-girlfriend, who dies. Learning the mystic arts as he does in the MCU timeline, Sinister Strange then uses the power of the Time Stone to change the events of the car crash. This episode appears similar to aspects of the trailer where Strange realizes the villain is, in fact, himself.

Fan Theories

Marvel-Tok and Reddit have been excitedly debating what “The Multiverse Of Madness” will bring to Phase Four of the MCU. With new characters like America Chavez (a Young Avenger with super strength and reality jumping abilities) and mutants from the X-Men universe arriving, no one knows what to expect. Fans have also speculated that the fiery being fighting Wanda in the trailer is Monica Rambo from “WandaVision,” or could be a new character viewers have yet to learn about.

One of the most anticipated scenes is our first look at Marvel’s Illuminati, a secret organization of heroes in the original comics. The group included Dr. Strange, Charles Xavier (founder of the X-Men), Reed Richards (founder of the Fantastic Four), Tony Stark, Namor the Sub-Mariner (the King of Atlantis) and many more anticipated characters. With the mystery voice in the trailer sounding Professor Xavier, fans are excited to see who the seats in the room Strange is being brought to in the trailer will be filled by. This theory follows the comic book series, written by Brian Michael Bendis, where Marvel’s leaders throughout the universes are in a secret society to deal with threats to the Multiverse, like Strange ruining reality.

Another major theory is the possibility that Wanda is the villain of “The Multiverse of Madness,” with the trailer showing multiple sequences of Wanda’s grief and anger taking the forefront. While this may be true, this may just be continued character development from Wanda, as she is on the search to find her sons. In addition, the trailer shows a scene of Wong and Wanda facing off with a villain—giving fans the hope that she is not the threat the heroes are fighting against.

There is a dangerous threat plaguing the Marvel universe, and fans are still trying to figure out who or what it may be. “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” has been a complete mystery since it began filming and got its official title but the teasers and theories should keep fans occupied until they secure their seat in theaters on May 6!