Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is one of the most intriguing parts of the MCU’s fourth phase — and as we head towards the future of Marvel film releases we’re starting to get a clearer picture of what the film is about.
Following WandaVision and news out of Spider-Man: No Way Home, it appears the Doctor Strange sequel is set to be weirder and wilder than anything we’ve seen from the MCU so far. With rumours of spider-filled multiverses, chaos magic and literal reality breaking, there’s plenty of strangeness in store.
Here’s everything we know so far about Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Who is in Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness?
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is an ensemble film starring an array of new and returning characters.
As if helping Spider-Man save the multiverse from ripping apart wasn’t enough dimensional heroics for Stephen Strange, his sophomore solo movie is preparing him to head down some dark paths — with a few old friends and an old foe ready to meet him in the multiverse.
Disney and Marvel Studios have officially released the first look at Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange sequel.
First attached to the end of Spider-Man: No Way Home, the teaser introduced returning star Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange, WandaVision’s Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch, and Chiwetel Ejiofor as returning villain Mordo. The trailer also offers a glimpse of the debut of Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez, best known as a member of the Young Avengers in Marvel’s comics.
We’ll also get Benedict Wong (as Wong, the scene-stealing magician) and Rachel McAdams will also return as Christine Palmer despite the franchise not really giving her much to do so far.
It’s inspired by classic horror movies, but it was originally ‘too weird’
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness had a rocky birth, with director Scott Derrickson (who also led the original Doctor Strange) pulling out of the film in 2020 due to creative differences with Marvel. This news followed on from reports Derrickson wanted to make Multiverse of Madness the first ‘true’ horror movie in the MCU.
Early interviews with the director indicated he wanted to make a “scary” and weird film, and while it’s unclear whether this was the reason he left the project, it’s fair to say his vision didn’t align with Marvel’s own.
Instead, the company hired Sam Raimi, who has a long history with both Marvel (as the director of the 2000s-era Spider-Man films) and horror (the Evil Dead franchise).
Despite Derrickson leaving the project, it does appear Multiverse of Madness will retain some of its original horror elements. In a recent interview with Glamour, star Elizabeth Olsen described the film as “a bonkers movie” with a “horror show vibe”. So while we may not see the original vision for the movie, there’s still going to be plenty of chaos.
But what we do know
Set after the events of No Way Home — with the trailer echoing dialogue from that movie as Strange warns Peter Parker that the multiverse is a concept “about which we know frighteningly little” — Multiverse of Madness sees Strange and the MCU’s Sorcerer Supreme, Wong (the returning Benedict Wong), grapple with the aftermath of that film’s tampering with space-time, opening up new threats to the nature of the multiverse’s very existence.
Recruiting new allies like Chavez and the Scarlet Witch to his side, the trailer sees Strange dive deep into the mystical and dark side of the multiverse… and seemingly come face to face with more than a few sinister reflections of himself, as well as the returned Mordo, still on his quest to strip mages of their power after the events of the first Doctor Strange. Interdimensional adventures aside, it seems there’ll be plenty for Strange to deal with beyond it, whether it’s Mordo or a many-tentacled monster that looks awfully like classic comics monster Shuma-Gorath. If that wasn’t enough to chew on, here’s a new poster released by the studio as well:
Let’s talk about America Chavez
America Chavez is a relatively new Marvel Comics character who hails from a dimension called the Utopian Parallel. She’s able to cross between realities and has a treasure trove of superpowers: flight, strength, durability and even hyper-powered magic blasts.
Chavez will make her MCU debut in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, played by Xochitl Gomez, and will reportedly be at the centre of the film’s action.
According to industry insider Daniel Richtman (via The Illuminerdi), Chavez will reportedly be pursued by Cthulian supervillain Shuma Gorath, who wants to claim the young girl’s reality powers for itself. It’s important to note these reports are unofficial — but they do tie up loose ends nicely.
If Gorath is the main villain of Multiverse of Madness and it’s pursuing Chavez through dimensions, this could explain how Wanda and Strange get tied up in reality-hopping rescue attempt to restore balance to the universe.
We should expect more official news about this alleged plot as we get closer to the release of the film.
It spins directly out of WandaVision
WandaVision was supposed to connect directly to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, with the titular sorcerer originally written to appear in the final moments of the show. When it was decided the TV show should focus solely on Wanda, Strange was written out — meaning Multiverse of Madness had to be rewritten.
While it’s unclear how Wanda and Strange will connect in the film, it’s easy to assume they’ll collide because Wanda has embraced her chaos magic and grown in power. As a protector of the universe, Strange is obligated to keep track of any potential threats to peace, and Wanda is undoubtedly now a major player in the MCU’s magic stakes.
The ending of WandaVision left Wanda’s alignment and intentions purposefully unclear, but given her immense recent losses and newfound power, it could be that she ends up causing trouble for Strange.
Only time will tell if they’ll be allies or enemies in the movie.
Everything you should watch before Multiverse of Madness releases
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness follows on from several different Marvel franchises, so you’ll want to watch them all before you head out to see Multiverse of Madness in 2022.
An easy starting point is Doctor Strange (2016), which introduced surgeon-slash-sorcerer Stephen Strange following teases in The Winter Soldier (2014). It functions as an origin story, so you’ll want to watch that to understand how Doctor Strange became the Sorcerer Supreme.
He next appeared in Thor: Ragnarok advising Thor on the location of his father Odin, but this isn’t a particularly necessary watch. A fun one, yes — but not essential.
From there, Strange appeared in both Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019), where he helped save the world and restore the timeline.
Oh, and Doctor Strange shows up in Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021), which should also be on your watch list. He plays an essential role in the film.
Because Scarlet Witch will play a prominent role in the upcoming Doctor Strange movie, it’s also a good idea to check out WandaVision (2021) to find out how Wanda Maximoff finally embraced her chaos magic, and why that spells trouble for Doctor Strange in Multiverse.
This post has been updated since it was first published and we will continue to make updates as we learn more – so stay tuned!
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is set to release on May 5, 2022 in Australia. While you wait, why not check out all the other sci-fi, horror and fantasy films coming our way next year.