Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Doctor Strange 2, if you want to save some breath) is finally here, and Marvel jumps head-first into a multiverse of cameos.
It definitely seems like cameos will make up at least a good portion of the MCU’s fourth phase, with such cameos defining the best scenes of Doctor Strange 2, but most of the cameos we saw were presented with very little explanation.
The idea, of course, is that you (the viewer!) fill in the blanks and understand the cameos with your own knowledge of Marvel movies and comics… Except for a lot of people who won’t have that knowledge, because at this point you need to do homework and watch the old movies to understand new MCU films.
Which is where we come in, we did the homework for you. Here’s your cheat sheet to all of the cameos in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Obvious spoiler warning.
Even if you did gloss down the article and accidentally see the name “Professor X” you probably already had a good idea that he’d appear as a cameo in Doctor Strange 2, with his voice and hover-chair being teased out in multiple trailers.
Professor X, Charles Xavier, is the leader of the X-Men, a team of superpowered mutants. He’s telepathic and is canonically one of the strongest mutants in the X-Men universe. While he leads the X-Men, he’s also the operator of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters.
But, okay, sorry to confuse you already, while this is the same actor who played Professor X in the X-Men movies (Patrick Stewart) but this is not the same Professor X. This Professor X is from a universe that’s separate from the X-Men movie universe and the standard MCU universe. Sorry to confuse you.
Anyway, Professor X typically fills the role of a supportive superhero. While he’s often a main character, he’s rarely in the foreground, behind the active, fighting X-Men like Wolverine and Jean Grey.
Will we see Professor X again in the MCU? Personally, I think it’s likely, but I don’t think Patrick Stewart will play him. You can’t really have the X-Men without Professor X, and there’s no way the X-Men aren’t going to get a spot in the MCU at some point.
I kind of wish that they kept this one a bit more of a secret, but nope, she was featured in a trailer. Captain Carter (played by Hayley Atwell) is the first Avenger of the Earth-818 universe (the same universe where the above Professor X is), in a world where Steve Rogers was never made Captain America and Peggy Carter was given the super serum instead. Instead of becoming “Captain America” she becomes “Captain Carter”, brandishing a Vibranium shield with the Union Jack instead of the stars and stripes.
If you want to see a very brief explainer on Captain Carter, the first episode of What If..? on Disney+ does a terrific job of telling her story. The sparks notes of it, however, are that she’s a baddass and an icon and incredible and I love her. Marvel better be doing something with Captain Carter soon, because they did her absolutely dirty in Doctor Strange 2.
Played by John Krasinski (which is a perfect pick for the role, you have to admit) Mr. Fantastic is a brilliant scientist and the leader of the Fantastic Four. His real name is Reed Richards and his whole deal is that he can stretch out as much as he wants and can contort his body in any way.
While Krasinski hasn’t appeared in a Marvel flick before, Mr. Fantastic did appear in Fantastic Four, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, and the much disliked 2015 reboot with new actors and story, Fant4stic.
Marvel has announced that there is a Fantastic Four movie in the works, and at the time of writing it’s still too early to tell if Krasinski will return to play Reed Richards again, but it likely won’t be the same Mr. Fantastic from the Earth-818 universe, as featured in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Captain Marvel, Maria Rambeau
The universe Doctor Strange visits in The Multiverse of Madness features a slightly different Captain Marvel, one played by Lashana Lynch, the actor for Maria Rambeau in Captain Marvel (2019).
In this universe, for whatever reason, it seems that Carol Danvers was never given superpowers, and those powers were given to her best friend Maria Rambeau instead. It’s a small tweak, similar to that of the earlier mentioned Captain Carter.
The king of the Inhumans, a group of people in Marvel lore (similar to the mutants) that get powers from a catastrophic event, Black Bolt is an important character in the comics, though his cameo in Doctor Strange 2 is brief.
Black Bolt (real name Blackagar Boltagon, not a joke) rules over the Inhumans in the Earth-818 universe, and is played by Anson Mount. Mount, mind you, played Black Bolt in the Inhumans Marvel show, which only got one season (it wasn’t received all that well). His whole deal is that he’s super strong, able to push mountains over with his voice, so he tries to keep quiet. He’s can also punch through buildings.
If the MCU starts to work in Inhumans plotlines, which it might considering Ms. Marvel is just around the corner, we might see Black Bolt again, but it’s a bit early to tell.
We only got a brief view of Clea in the end-credit scene of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, portrayed by Charlize Theron, but she’ll likely be a pretty big character for Doctor Strange moving forward.
In some of the comics, Clea and Doctor Strange are married, but all you need to know at the moment is that she’s a powerful magic wielder who ties into the story of Dormammu (the villain of the first Doctor Strange movie) as his niece.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is in cinemas now. While you’re here, why not check out all the other sci-fi, horror and fantasy films coming our way this year.