The word “Madness” is right there in the title. And yet, we almost weren’t prepared for just how mad things get in the latest trailer for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. After debuting its first trailer at the end of Spider-Man: No Way Home, this second trailer debuted during the Super Bowl and raised the stakes exponentially with all manner of wild revelations and images. Some of which are clear, many of which are not, and in this article we’ll dive into the biggest, most interesting, images.
Directed by Sam Raimi and written by Loki’s Michael Waldron, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, Michael Stühlbarg, and Rachel McAdams.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of, um, mysteries
We’ve compiled a running explainer on everything we can expect from the movie, but this latest trailer definitely threw a spanner in the works. So let’s travel through a multiverse.
But first, Doctor Strange and the source of these mysteries
Here’s the Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness trailer that has started our quest for uncovering mysteries.
The trailer begins with a few images we’re led to believe are from a recurring nightmare Doctor Strange is having. We see this desolate visage of the Sanctum Sanctorum which, inside, has a staircase to what looks like infinity. This could be a dream, of course, or it could be an alternate universe. Either way, it’s creepy as hell.
Featured throughout this trailer, more so than the previous one, is America Chavez, played by Xochitl Gomez. She can travel through dimensions which, obviously, fits her into this story. Here we see her encountering some kind of monster that gives us very Mummy vibes. We’d imagine, sort of like how Strange has nightmares, America does too.
Smoke on the Horizon
Seen over audio of Strange talking to Wanda about the multiverse, and Vision’s idea that it’s bad, are quick shots of a huge cloud of smoke quickly moving towards Kamar-Taj. Now, is this a specific person doing this? A dimension merging into this one? We don’t know. But the sorcerers training outside are not happy about it.
Briefly in this sequence we get to see one of the students at Kamar-Taj is a giant, green minotaur-esque being: Rintrah, a nod to the comics, where the extra-dimensional being from R’Vaal is a long time ally of Doctor Strange and one of his sorcerer apprentices.
A Space Between the Multiverse?
Baron Mordo tells Strange that he must pay for tinkering with reality as he did (in Spider-Man: No Way Home, we assume). So he’s cuffed and brought here. Considering that Multiverse of Madness is dealing with the fallout of Steven messing with the universe, wherever this might be might be some sort of equivalent to the Temporal Variance Authority in Loki, just… for shared universes instead of timelines.
Ultron, Is That You?
This place is the most intriguing location in the trailer for a few reasons, one being the Ultron-eseque robots. (Which actually, oddly, look a little like non-Marvel character Ultraman). Do these beings have anything to do with Multiverse Ultron from What If? Or are they wholly new creations?
That’s Freaking Patrick Stewart
Strange is brought before what looks to be some kind of jury or tribunal. And though we don’t see his face, we very clearly hear the voice of actor Patrick Stewart. Patrick Stewart who previously played Charles Xavier in Fox’s X-Men Universe. Could he be playing someone new here? Sure. But we’d bet this is Marvel Studios’ first breadcrumb of how the X-Men are going to begin weaving into this world.
As for this “truth” Stewart talks about? It feels like something that’ll change not just the course of the movie, but the MCU itself. And Maybe-Xavier is clearly not alone in this tribunal — who else from presumably across the multiverse is here? There’s been a lot of speculation that this could be the way the MCU introduces the Illuminati concept from the comics — a secret council of some of the smartest heroes in the Marvel Universe that has counted Strange, Iron Man, Professor X, Namor, Black Bolt, Mr. Fantastic, and more among its number over the years. The Illuminati tend to operate in the background trying to prevent great harm to the multiverse at large… and are often willing to do very questionable things to preserve it.
Several shots in the trailer feature Strange falling through different multiverses but the most interesting one has to be the one where there are freaking DINOSAURS. Is he travelling through time? Or just a universe where dinosaurs still exist? And will Universal need to sue as the MCU starts integrating more and more dinosaurs a la Jurassic Park? Probably not, because this is likely another comics reference. Marvel’s Earth is home to a wild pre-historic region hidden from the rest of the world in the antarctic: the Savage Land, populated by ancient wild beasts and dinosaurs, as well as prehistoric human civilisations.
While a lot of heroes have been associated with adventures in the region in the comics, the Savage Land holds some pretty choice and interesting mutant links, which could be of import if that really was Professor X in the trailers. Let’s hold out hopes for the movie debut of Zaladane, Queen of the Sun People, while we can.
That You, Carol?
A very powerful being is seen charged up, flying through the air and then smashing into Wanda. It looks, at first, like Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel. Others have suggested its some multiverse version of Iron Man. But the most likely identity is Monica Rambeau, played by Teyonah Parris, mostly because she’s got unfinished business with Wanda. Here’s a thought though: what if it’s another Rambeau? There’s rumours that Captain Marvel’s Lashana Lynch is in the movie, and if Monica’s busy being the Monica we last saw in WandaVision, why not let her mother Maria be the Captain Marvel of another universe?
Speaking of Wanda, she seems pretty pissed off that Strange can mess with the multiverse and be called a hero but when she does it, she’s a villain. Double standard much? And so we see a more grounded, WandaVision inspired Wanda facing down with the new, powerful Scarlet Witch Wanda. Two halves of one person. Which will win out?
Who you gonna call?
We don’t know who, exactly, this character is (maybe a new sorcerer version of Dr. Nicodemus West, played by Michael Stuhlbarg?) but whomever it is, they are conjuring some creepy ghosts and that can’t be a good thing.
The final one of our mysteries is that this trailer has multiple versions of Doctor Strange, as did the last one, but this latest version we see has to be the most evil of them all. Just look at him. He looks like a reanimated corpse.
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.