Potential spoilers follow for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Doctor Strange 2's primary villain has been leaked ahead of release – by an officially licensed piece of merchandise.
The upcoming MCU movie is one of the most secretive Marvel productions to date, with little in the way of leaks or unconfirmed reveals making their way online. That appears to have changed now, though, after an adult jigsaw puzzle inadvertently confirmed the film's major antagonist.
This is your final warning: we're about to dive into potentially big spoilers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. If you don't want anything ruined ahead of its May 2022 release, turn back now.
Still with us? Let's dive into what this leak reveals.
The revelation comes via ResetEra (opens in new tab) (per IGN (opens in new tab)), with community member Milennia posting an image of a licensed Doctor Strange 2 puzzle. Ordinarily, that may not be such big news, but it appears to confirm that one particular Marvel villain is set to make their live-action debut in Doctor Strange 2: Shuma-Gorath.
As you can see in the above link's image, Strange can be seen battling Shuma-Gorath on the puzzle's box art. The product page for the puzzle doesn't confirm that this is Shuma-Gorath, but any Marvel comic fan will be able to work out that this is who it is.
Rumors of Shuma-Gorath's appearance appeared online a few months ago, but this is the clearest indication yet that the inter-dimensional being will be the big baddie of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. It'll be interesting, then, to see if it makes an appearance in the film's first official trailer, whenever it arrives.
Analysis: who is Shuma-Gorath?
Also known as the Great Old One, Shuma-Gorath is an ancient cosmic being who made their Marvel comic book debut in July 1972.
Arriving on Earth millions of years ago, Shuma-Gorath lauded it over humanity's ancestors until it was eventually banished by a time-traveling sorceress known as Sise-Neg.
Since then, Shuma-Gorath has consistently attempted to invade and conquer Earth, but has been repelled by a number of the planet's mightiest heroes. That includes Doctor Strange, who battled Shuma-Gorath for the first time in September 1973.
The duo have duked it out in plenty of Marvel comic storylines over past 48 years, with Strange coming out on top every single time. Still, Shuma-Gorath is immortal, so it will always return and try to rule over Earth once more.
Naturally, as an interdimensional monster that's existed as long as the Marvel universe, Shuma-Gorath is an extremely powerful individual. Its abilities include shapeshifting, teleportation, energy blasts, levitation and reality manipulation. It can also control other beings across multiple dimensions. Shuma-Gorath is a godlike creature that lauds it over 100 alternate universes, so it'll prove to be more than a match for Doctor Strange in the MCU.
That, though, is where the Multiverse of Madness' other superpowered beings may come into play. We know that Wanda Maximoff, Wong and Baron Mordo, as well as newcomer America Chavez, will appear in Doctor Strange 2. Maybe the five of them will have to unite to defeat Shuma-Gorath and banish it back to its original dimension. If they do, we could be in for a mighty battle on the big screen.
Funnily enough, this isn't the first time we've seen Shuma-Gorath appear in the MCU. Marvel's animated Disney Plus series – What If? – briefly introduced it during the show's Doctor Strange-led episode. So it's possible that this What If? entry may tie into Doctor Strange 2.
Before his next solo outing, however, Stephen Strange will make his next live-action appearance in Spider-Man: No Way Home. It's unclear whether the webslinger's third MCU outing will directly lead into Doctor Strange 2 but, given the Marvel's multiversal Phase 4 plan and the MCU's growing interconnectivity, we expect it will.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness arrives exclusively in theaters on May 6, 2022.
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