Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness released last weekend to incredible box office numbers, and as fans sat for two hours and twenty minutes to watch a couple mid- and post-credit scenes, they were rewarded with an exciting reveal that has big implications for the future of the MCU.
As of last night, we’ve officially gotten a good look at one of the big mid-credit reveals; Clea, played by none other than Charlize Theron. Yesterday she posted her makeup and a screenshot of her mid-credit appearance on Instagram, showing off an incredibly sharp purple eye makeup and a superhero suit that feels very much in line with the Eternals style of costuming; full of subtle circles and layers of the same hue.
Who is Clea?
Clea first showed up in a 1964 Dr. Strange comic, The Domain of the Dread Dormammu! After Dr. Strange is informed that Dormammu is returning to power, he enters the Dark Dimension in order to find and defeat him. As he’s searching for Dormammu’s lair, Clea appears and leads him to the entrance.
The Domain of the Dread Dormammu! is also the first appearance of the Dark Dimension. When Clea shows up in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, she rips open a seam in space-time which appears to be the same purple-y huesor as the Dark Dimension that Doctor Strange entered in his first movie ,when he held Dormammu in temporal stasis before defeating him. Besides just being next door neighbours with Dormammu in the Dark Dimension, Clea also has a familial tie to the ancient evil. In the comics, Dormammu is actually Clea’s uncle. Dormummu had a twin sister, Umar, who married and had Clea. The comics version of Dormammu and Umar were much more human-looking than the Dormammu we saw in the first Doctor Strange, but Clea has always appeared as humanoid, despite her Faltine (a kind of powerful fire/dimension alien) heritage.
After Dormammu was vanquished from the Dark Dimension, a power struggle ensued between Umar, Clea’s mother, and Clea herself. Clea eventually succeeds in becoming the ruler of the Dark Dimension, and instates herself as the Sorcerer Supreme of that dimension, having learned some mystic arts from Stephen at some point in between there. Clea also has a hard time staying in other dimensions for long periods of time, and often has to return to the Dark Dimension for a spa day or two to get back into fighting shape.
Mr. and Mrs. Strange
One of the big things about Clea is that in the comics she and Stephen Strange don’t just hook up, but actually tie the knot! One of the rare couples that actually get together and stick together, Clea and Stephen seem to be pretty well suited to each other, especially considering that they’re both multiversal beings who tend to ignore the laws of physics and commonly accepted moral considerations.
When Stephen recently died in the comics, Clea actually became the Sorcerer Supreme of Earth-616 as well, but not before making an attempt to revive Stephen. Although Wong agrees to help her perform some truly wicked Necromancy, they never quite get the spell right, and instead end up with a rather zombified Thunderstrike at their feet (a minor Thor villain).
What’s an Incursion?
So what does Clea have to do with Incursions? When Clea shows up in the mid-credit scene she warns Stephen of an oncoming Incursion — a kind of collision between universes in the multiverse, with the Earths of each reality as the nexus point of impact — before bringing Stephen through a portal she created with a knife. Given the Illuminati of Earth-838’s fracturing at Wanda’s hand in Multiverse of Madness, and their own role in the comics investigating Incursions, it seems Clea will now have her own role to play.
Clea’s appearance might indicate a problem with the Dark Dimension, but it’s the knife she’s holding that’s interesting. In the comics, Clea gets corrupted by another superhero named the Silver Dagger, named because he wields a blade that can kill anyone, but was specifically made to kill the Sorcerer Supreme of any dimension, plane, or universe. We don’t know where this rift in space-time caused by Clea’s dagger leads; whether into Loki Season 2 (possible, considering Loki and Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness shared a screenwriter), or another property entirely. All we have is speculation, and a very fierce look courtesy of Charlize Theron’s instagram.
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Editor’s Note: Release dates within this article are based in the U.S., but will be updated with local Australian dates as soon as we know more.