Potential spoilers follow for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
The official trailer for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has arrived – and it looks like it may be the most mind-bending MCU film yet.
There's a lot to take in from the new Doctor Strange 2 teaser. Sure, the next Marvel movie is set to pick up story threads from Spider-Man: No Way Home and WandaVision. But, judging by what's on show in this latest two-minute offering, it's going to take fans to some truly mind-blowing places.
If you've been left scratching your head at what the upcoming Marvel Phase 4 project's trailer is teasing, we've got you covered. Below, we've compiled a list of eight things you may have missed from the teaser, including the surprising return of Patrick Stewart as Professor X, new Doctor Strange variants, and more.
1. Doctor Strange's comic origins
Given the staggering amount of surreal footage on show, the opening of Doctor Strange 2's latest trailer is easy to overlook.
But it's actually a really cool throwback to the character's origins in Marvel comics (thanks to Reddit user officially-redundant for the spot). Making his first appearance in Strange Tales #110 in July 1963, Stephen Strange is introduced as a tortured man who can't sleep. "It's no use!" Strange says in the comics as he continues to be plagued by a horrific dream. "I can't sleep! I dare not sleep! It's the same dream! Every night the same!"
Okay, the MCU's Doctor Strange paraphrases this in the trailer (and likely in the movie, too). But's a fun Easter egg that diehard Marvel fans will certainly appreciate.
2. Home is where the (comic) heart is
Doctor Strange 2's trailer doesn't just feature a comic throwback to the character's beginnings. It also tips its hat to a prominent X-Men comic and, depending on what happens in the film, may lead to mutant supergroup's MCU arrival.
At the 1:27 mark, Strange and America Chavez (more on her in a bit) are seen falling through multiple realities, with their bodies fragmenting into cube-like structures.
On the surface, this seems like a neat reality-bending nod to another MCU movie – Avengers: Infinity War, where Thanos uses the reality stone to change the physical appearances of some Guardians of the Galaxy team members.
But this alteration to Strange and Chavez's body composition is another comic call-back – this time, it's to the comic cover art for House of M #1, the iconic series run that was released in 2005. The front cover to this series' first issue shows Wanda/Scarlet Witch being broken into multiple pieces, which is clearly a nod to her decision to alter reality so she can be reunited with her children.
With Wanda set to co-star in the Multiverse of Madness – and with her story arc supposedly being tied to her desire to find her kids again after they (spoilers!) died in WandaVision – it seems that House of M's narrative will play a significant role in the next MCU flick.
3. Dino dimension
Another cool comic Easter egg precedes this House of M one. As Strange and Chavez plummet through multiple realities, we can briefly see them in a dimension where dinosaurs still exist.
There's a precedent for dinosaurs in the comics, not least in an alternate universe called Earth-1610. In this dimension, dinosaurs exist in an area known as the Savage Land. They were brought back to life by Wanda/Scarlet Witch, who used her reality-bending powers to revive them after they went extinct. Again, this seems like it'll tie into Wanda's reality-altering abilities in the Multiverse of Madness, hence the dinosaurs' appearance in the trailer and movie.
There's also a very brief hint that Strange and Chavez could travel an animated universe (thanks to Charles Murphy for the spot). Could a trip to Spider-Man's 1960s cartoon universe, or the X-Men's 1990s dimension, be on the cards? The latter seems more likely as we're getting an animated TV sequel – X-Men 97 – to the iconic X-Men cartoon series. Here's hoping that we travel to that universe, then.
4. A Strange trio
Based on the film's first trailer, which arrived in late December 2021, we knew that there'll two versions of Doctor Strange in this sequel. There's the MCU's main timeline variant, and then there's Strange Supreme/Evil Doctor Strange, who's being carried over from What If...?, Marvel's animated anthology series that aired on Disney Plus in summer 2021.
Judging by this new teaser, though, we'll be getting a third Doctor Strange, with Benedict Cumberbatch set to play this incarnation of the character, too.
In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment during Strange's dream sequence (at the 0:15 mark), you can briefly see Strange falling through a portal or an unconfirmed reality. Look very closely at the character, though, and you'll see that it's not a Strange variant that we've seen before. You can tell because this version has a ponytail, a different stylized beard, and is wearing robes with a giant red symbol on the front.
This incarnation is sure to be Defender Strange, a version of the Sorcerer Supreme who sets up the supergroup known as the Secret Defenders in the comics. You can catch a much better glimpse at Defender Strange in the movie's Super Bowl TV spot, too.
It seems like Defender Strange is the one who rescues America Chavez from the monster that's about to rip her apart in this trailer. Could it be that Defender Strange dies during that fight, and is the character who is immortalized in statue form at the 1:45 mark? The statue's chest symbol implies as much, in our view.
It's also possible that Defender Strange sets up a similarly mysterious supergroup teased at the 1:15 mark, which leads us nicely onto...
5. Professor X and the Illuminati
The biggest talking point from this new trailer is Patrick Stewart's return as Professor X. The legendary actor reprises the role that he famously held in Fox's X-Men universe and, while we don't see him in-person in the teaser, there's no denying that it's his voice that we hear at the 1:18 mark.
But Professor X isn't the only superpowered being that a hand-cuffed Doctor Strange meets. There are three other individuals present, so who are they?
Thankfully, the comics can provide some answers (or heavy hints) as to who they are. In the source material, Strange and Professor X are part of a secret supergroup known as the Illuminati, originally formed by Iron Man to work undercover and stop extra-terrestrial threats invading Earth.
Interestingly, two of the Illuminati's members are Reed Richards (leader of the Fantastic Four) and Namor, King of the Atlanteans. Given that an MCU Fantastic 4 movie is currently in development, and that Namor is rumored to play a part in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Doctor Strange 2 would be a good place to introduce their multiverse variants so audiences have an idea of who they are before their official MCU arrivals. Online rumors have suggested that A Quiet Place's John Krasinski will portray Richards in the Multiverse of Madness, too.
The identity of the final Illuminati member is more difficult to work out. Marvel fans (at least those posting online) have claimed that it's Mahershala Ali's Blade, who is also getting his own Marvel movie soon. Blade was never a part of the Illuminati in the comics, but Marvel Studios could bring him into the fold to properly introduce him before his solo film arrives in the future.
We think it could be Master Mordo, the one who may arrest Strange and bring him before the Illuminati, though. He's the one who tells Strange that he's desecrated reality, after all. And it looks like his silhouette when one character walks towards his chair in the Illuminati's main room. We suspect, then, that the final member is Mordo, rather than Blade.
There could be other Illuminati members who may have been CGI'd out from this scene to save some surprises for the movie, too. The film's official poster has teased the possibility of Captain Carter appearing in some guise. Could she be part of the Illuminati as well? And, with rumors circularing online that we may get an Iron Man variant – Superior Iron Man – who might be played by a huge Hollywood star, that could very well be the case.
6. A new Captain Marvel
Doctor Strange, Chavez and the Illuminati aren't the only superheroes who will appear in the Multiverse of Madness. At the 1:35 mark, we surprisingly see Captain Marvel show up and battle Wanda – except it isn't Brie Larson's version of the character.
Shockingly, it looks like this variant of Captain Marvel is none other than Maria Rambeau. For those who may have forgotten, Maria is the best friend of Carol Danvers (i.e. Captain Marvel), who's played by Lashana Lynch in the 2019 MCU movie. Maria is also the mother of Monica Rambeau (portrayed by Teyonah Parris in WandaVision). Monica became the superhero known as Photon in WandaVision but, before she does, we find out that Maria died of cancer during the Blip – i.e. the five-year period between Infinity War and Endgame.
Could Lynch be showing up in Doctor Strange 2 as a Maria Rambeau and Captain Marvel variant? It's possible but, without a firm look at the character, we can't say for sure.
7. Chavez powers up
We'd seen little of America Chavez before the second Doctor Strange 2 trailer, but we've finally received a glimpse at the prominent role she'll play in its story.
As we mentioned, it looks like she'll be rescued by Defender Strange before she unites with Doctor Strange in the MCU. It's possible that Defender Strange will send her to the MCU through a portal but, given that Chavez has her own time and dimension travel abilities, she may find her own way there. That seems more plausible as well, given that we see one of star portals open up in the trailer.
Those superpowers won't be the only ones that Chavez has on show, though. We see her leap forward to punch someone at the 1:57 mark before she's sent flying by a force field – one created by Wanda, perhaps? – so her super strength will be carried over from her comic counterpart. Don't be surprised if we see Chavez's invulnerability, flight, and star blast abilities make their way into the film, too.
8. The multiverse of villains
Doctor Strange 2's latest trailer has seemingly confirmed a long-standing fan rumor: there'll be multiple villains that Strange and company will have to defeat.
The teaser all but confirms that Wanda/Scarlet Witch will be the main antagonist. We see her battling heroes like Captain Marvel, asking Strange why she's viewed as an enemy for warping reality, and presumably killing people as her face is covered in blood towards the end of the trailer.
But we may not only see the MCU's version of Wanda/Scarlet Witch. The trailer shows two variants of Wanda interacting in her former home at Westview, which suggests that another Wanda may show up. Sure, it may simply be a flashback to a WandaVision scene that we haven't seen before, but we're unconvinced. Judging by the film's Super Bowl TV spot, this other Wanda could even be Zombie Wanda, who appeared in one of What If...?'s episodes.
There are plenty of others, too. We get another look at Gargantos, who will presumably enter the MCU through one of the portals that Wong mentions earlier in the trailer. Evil Doctor Strange is also likely to be a secondary antagonist. After all, it's in his name.
Finally, it could be that Strange himself becomes a villain. The final shots in the trailer show one of the many Strange variants summoning some form of evil, which is also teased during the Super Bowl TV spot.
It's most likely that Evil Doctor Strange (or even a Zombie version of Defender Strange if he dies) is shown here, but what if it isn't? What if it's the MCU's Doctor Strange? In the movie's first trailer, Mordo tells Strange that he's the biggest threat to the multiverse. So could Doctor Strange use Wanda's Darkhold book to imbue himself with the abilities of demonic sorcerers in a bid to undo the damage he's done to the multiverse? It would be a very interesting twist on Marvel's part if he does.
Of course, there's still plenty that we don't know about Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. We've only seen about five minutes worth of footage from its various trailers and TV spots so far. And, based on what we have seen, anything could happen in the Sorcerer Supreme's sequel.
It won't be long before we find out what actually goes down. Doctor Strange 2 will arrive exclusively in theaters on May 6, 2022.
- Thor: Love and Thunder: what we know so far
Sign up for Black Friday email alerts!
Get the hottest deals available in your inbox plus news, reviews, opinion, analysis and more from the TechRadar team.
As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.
An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.
Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across.
Got a scoop, interesting story, or an intriguing angle on the latest news in entertainment? Feel free to drop him a line.