It’s just two weeks until Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness serves as Marvel’s next offering into alternate realities, which they’ve been working hard to make so hot right now. The concept is having a pretty banner year at the movies between this and Everything Everywhere All at Once. Up until recently, we would’ve had four movies about the multiverse in 2022, but then The Flash and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse were delayed to 2023. For many, seeing characters from other realities meet up with one is starting to feel rote, if not understandably exhausting.
But for Multiverse’s screenwriter Michael Waldron, the pros can outweigh the cons of the concept. Speaking to SFX Magazine, Waldron found that the premise of alternate worlds can be “an interesting way to hold up a mirror to characters,” something he’s had plenty of experience with. Prior to joining Marvel beginning with last year’s Loki, Waldron served as a producer and writer on Rick & Morty, a show that offers an outlandish amount of alternate realities while still keeping focus on the titular characters and their family. That prior work has helped him understand what you can do with alternate selves, and he’s excited to bring that to the MCU in a bigger way with characters like Strange Supreme and Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch. “The multiverse isn’t just a MacGuffin…But the opportunity in the multiverse is to have characters confront literal ‘What ifs?’ and alternate versions of themselves and perhaps others in their lives.” But he also admitted that it was possible to “reduce the stakes if you don’t make it as personal as you go bigger and wider.”
“In every way, the multiverse shapes the emotional heart of the story, it has to,” continued Waldron…If you’re faced with alternate realities and with alternate versions of yourself that has to become the emotional heart, exploring who you might be if you were a different version of yourself, if you made other choices.” To help get a handle on Stephen Strange and ensure the sequel remains his story, Waldron watched the original movie multiple times. For him, it was important to become a “student”’ of the original film, so as to figure out who the character was at the end of that original movie, and how he’s been shaped by the many crossovers since 2016. And though the movie’s marketing has had no trouble hyping up the big names that Strange will cross paths with, continuing his journey is the primary objective. “This is Doctor Strange’s story above all else,” assured Waldron. “He’s been in a lot of movies, but this is his movie, his franchise.”
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits theatres on May 5.