Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is shaping up to be the most important movie in Marvel’s Phase 4 movie plans. The sequel to 2016’s Doctor Strange looks like it’ll be the center piece for every other Marvel Studios project, and seemingly confirm the transition from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) into the Marvel Cinematic Multiverse (MCM).
Like other MCU productions, much of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness remains a secret. However, we do know about some plot elements, which characters will appear, its release date, and how other projects tie into it.
The latest news comes from Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, who recently revealed that Stephen Strange was supposed to make a cameo in WandaVision. You can read why that appearance was cut below, and also view another recent casting announcement that hints at more multiverse goings-on.
A word of warning before we begin: we’ll be dealing with spoilers from Doctor Strange, WandaVision and Avengers: Endgame from this point on. If you haven’t caught up on every MCU movie and TV show so far (that's what Disney Plus is for), turn back now.
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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness release date: March 2022
Doctor Strange 2 is slated to launch on March 25, 2022. The superhero film was supposed to arrive on May 7, 2021, but its development has been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
With the cast and crew unable to start filming until November 2020, its release date was pushed back until November 2021. That launch was delayed for a second time to March 2022, however, so principal photography could be completed and post-production carried out in ample time.
The final week of filming took place in mid-April, according to Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige (per ComicBook.com), so production has now wrapped. There could be reshoots in the future if they’re required but, for now, the movie is in its post-production phase.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness trailer: is there one?
Not yet. That won’t come as a surprise to anyone, given that the editing process hasn’t begun. Once a teaser trailer lands online, though, we’ll update this page.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness cast: who is playing who?
Spoilers for Doctor Strange and WandaVision follow.
At the moment, we have six confirmed cast members:
- Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Stephen Strange
- Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch
- Chiwetel Ejiofor as Karl Mordo
- Benedict Wong as Wong
- Rachel McAdams as Christine Palmer
- Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez
Cumberbatch, Ejiofor, Wong and McAdams are all reprising their roles from the first movie. Cumberbatch and Wong were last seen as Strange and Wong respectively in Avengers: Endgame, while McAdams is returning as Strange’s ex-girlfriend and former surgery colleague for the first time since the 2016 original.
Ejiofor, meanwhile, reprises his role as the villainous Mordo, who was last seen in Doctor Strange’s post-credits scene. Strange’s former mentor was hunting other sorcerers and magic-imbued individuals to remove their powers if he deemed them unworthy, but there’s no word on how his story arc will continue in this sequel.
Olsen, who starred in Disney Plus TV show WandaVision, is set to co-star alongside Cumberbatch as Wanda’s new alter-ego Scarlet Witch, and she’ll have a big role to play in the movie’s plot (more on this later).
The only announced newcomer thus far is Gomez (The Baby-Sitter Club), who has been cast as America Chavez. The character also goes by the superhero pseudonym Miss America, and her comic origins story also alludes to the fact that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will explore new dimensions and alternate realities.
In the comics, Chavez hails from the Utopian Parallel, a dimension that exists out of space and time to the Marvel Multiverse. When the Utopian Parallel is threatened by black holes, which would pull it in different directions across the Multiverse, Chavez's mothers Amalia and Elena sacrifice themselves to stop this from happening. The sole survivor of her race, Chavez uses her abilities to open an interdimensional portal to find a new home - one which leads to her arrival on Earth.
We don't know if Chavez's comic origins will carry over into Doctor Strange 2, or if creative liberties will be taken to introduce her in a different way. Whatever happens, it'll be very cool to see one of Marvel's newest popular heroes finally arrive in the MCU. Taking to Instagram for National Superhero Day, Gomez also revealed she "can't wait" for fans to meet Miss America when Dr Strange 2 arrives. Check out her post below:
Two individuals who haven’t been confirmed to appear yet are Wanda’s twin boys Billy (Jett Klyne) and Tommy (Julian Hilliard). The duo were last seen, or rather heard, calling out for their mother in WandaVision’s season finale post-credits scene. Again, we’ll look at how they may factor into the film’s plot below, but it seems that Billy and Tommy will have some part to play in Doctor Strange 2.
According to Somerset Live, a UK based newspaper, Klyne and Hilliard were spotted on set during the final week of filming. Per the report, several days of shooting occurred on a large farm known as Burrow Hill Cider Farm, with one scene reportedly costing £2 million (approximately US$2.8 million). According to local residents, Klyne and Hilliard were seen on location, but there’s been no leaked photographs of the duo that can verify these claims.
Additionally, we may also be visiting Earth-616, which is the main Marvel universe in the comics. According to the Spotlight actor page for Jon Prophet, who has appeared in The Witches and Wonder Woman 1984, we'll see Prophet play a character known only as "New Yorker 616".
Of course, this could simply relate to the number of an extra - someone who is a background character in certain scenes - but the '616' reference is more than just that, in our opinion. Earth-616 has been mentioned in the MCU, which is known as Earth-199999, on multiple occasions, such as Thor: The Dark World and Spider-Man: Far From Home. It isn't a stretch to assume, then, that we may see Strange, Wanda or other individuals travel to the 616 universe in the Multiverse of Madness movie.
BREAKING: Here’s the first photos from the ‘DOCTOR STRANGE 2’ set 👀🚨The scene Marvel Studios is filming allegedly worth £2M in Somerset. (via @SomersetLive) pic.twitter.com/Aw7fua75fkApril 17, 2021
It’s also possible that there’ll be other as-yet-unseen characters in Doctor Strange 2. In a December 2019 Collider interview, Feige said the movie would feature “some new MCU characters, which will be making their debut in that movie you won't expect or won't guess who it is”. Of course, those characters may have already been revealed now in Miss America, Billy and Tommy, but there’s always the potential for more to feature.
One such rumor from The Direct concerns Adam Hugill (1917, The Watch), who is said to have been cast as an alien minotaur called Rintrah. In the comics, Rintrah hails from an alternate dimension planet called R’Vaal, and he has a history with Doctor Strange in Marvel comics. Coupled with his moderately powerful magical abilities, Rintrah could be an ally of Doctor Strange’s in the movie.
Finally, Bruce Campbell is believed to be making a cameo appearance (per Collider). Campbell worked with the film’s director, Sam Raimi, on the latter’s iconic Evil Dead series and had cameos in Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, too. It’s not known who he will be playing, though, at this stage.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness plot: what’s it about?
Little is known about the plot, which is as expected for a Marvel production. We only have a brief synopsis to go on in an official capacity, but there are other rumors and Marvel projects that hint at where the story could go.
Per a casting call on Backstage.com from November 2020, Doctor Strange 2 will follow “the events of Avengers: Endgame. Dr Stephen Strange continues his research on the Time Stone, but an old friend-turned-enemy puts an end to his plans and causes Strange to unleash unspeakable evil.”
What can we interpret from that brief description? Well, there are only two options for this friend-turned-enemy - Mordo and Wanda. We already know that Mordo has turned to the dark side following the events of Doctor Strange, so the smart money should be on him causing some form of havoc.
However, we suspect it’s more likely to be Wanda. As the post-credits scene for WandaVision’s season finale showed, Wanda is expanding her knowledge of her newfound powers using the Darkhold. Also known as the Book of Sins, the Darkhold is an ancient tome full of spells and unspeakable power, which just so happens to tie into the synopsis’ ‘unspeakable evil’ line.
WandaVision’s villain Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hahn) hinted that the Scarlet Witch would “destroy the world”, which may be a warning that Wanda is consumed by the Darkhold’s influence.
If she is, Wanda may end up being the vessel for unleashing the ‘unspeakable evil’, which causes reality to break down and lead to multiple universes bleeding into one another. It would be up to Doctor Strange to try and reverse Wanda’s actions, and prevent the MCU and other dimensions from collapsing into one another and ending life as we know it.
Whoever causes the multiverse’s breakdown, it sounds like Doctor Strange 2 will be the most surreal Marvel movie ever. In an April 2021 Glamour magazine interview, Olsen said “It’s a bonkers movie, they’re definitely going for that horror show vibe”, which will no doubt be aided by Raimi’s filmmaking roots. Doctor Strange was a visually arresting spectacle in its own right, but it appears that Marvel is stepping up all things weird for the sequel.
As for Doctor Strange's cut cameo in WandaVision, Feige recently told Rolling Stone that the Sorcerer Supreme was removed so he didn't impose on the Wanda-centric story that the Disney Plus TV series wanted to tell.
As such, Doctor Strange 2's script needed a rewrite, which alters how the two sorcerers end up meeting in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. We don't know how this will transpire now, but it's likely that the first story act will have been changed significantly to reflect Strange's cut WandaVision appearance.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: who is the villain?
There are a number of candidates. Mordo will be one, but it’s unclear if he’ll be the chief antagonist or more of a supporting villain. As we said earlier, it could also be Wanda. There’s every chance that she’ll help Strange rather than hinder him, though, so she might be an ally instead of the movie’s big bad.
The demon lord Mephisto was thought to be WandaVision’s primary villain, so he could be Doctor Strange 2’s antagonist. After all, Wanda’s playing with the Darkhold, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to see her unleash Mephisto on the world. Mephisto has an appetite for stealing peoples’ souls, and the collapse of the multiverse - with the potential for incalculable deaths - would be music to Mephisto’s ears.
If the demon lord isn’t Doctor Strange 2’s villain, who else could it be? Comments made by Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson, back in October 2016, teased the possibility of Nightmare being the bad guy to IGN. With Derrickson departing the project over creative differences in January 2020, though, it’s unlikely that Nightmare will feature.
One final possibility to consider is, strangely, Marvel heroine Clea - and her inclusion appears to be more than just a theory. In late March, supposed concept art for Doctor Strange 2 leaked online and appeared to show Clea sitting on a throne built out of dark matter. You can see the leaked concept art in the tweet below:
🚨 Doutor Estranho, Feiticeira Escarlate, Wong, Clea, Mordo e America Chávez aparecem em artes conceituais vazadas de #DoctorStrangeInTheMultiverseOfMadness pic.twitter.com/yAn2YzTHjeMarch 25, 2021
While it’s unclear if this really is concept art depicting Clea, she has ties to Doctor Strange in the comics and the MCU. For one, she’s the daughter of Umar, who is the sister of Dark Dimension ruler Dormammu. We saw Dormammu in Doctor Strange’s first MCU solo outing, so it isn’t out of the realms of possibility that Clea could show up.
As for the source material, Clea was trained in the mystic arts by Strange and the pair soon become lovers. Clea often helps Strange to defend Earth from interdimensional threats, but returns to the Dark Dimension to lead a rebellion against Dormammu. She eventually becomes the Dark Dimension’s Sorceress Supreme ruler, and continues to ward off Dormammu’s attempts to reclaim the throne.
Of course, this being the MCU, Clea’s role in Doctor Strange 2 could differ from her comic book counterpart. In Doctor Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme reached a deal with Dormammu to prevent the Dark Dimension from engulfing Earth.
However – and this is us speculating – Strange’s unleashing of the ‘unspeakable evil’ in his sequel film could relate to the Dark Dimension. If Wanda inadvertently causes reality to break down, Dormammu could take a chance to destroy Earth if he considers his deal with Strange to now be null and void. Dormammu may ask Clea to deal with Strange this time around, given that the first film’s events will be fresh in his mind, which may install Clea as Doctor Strange 2’s chief antagonist.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness MCU tie-ins: how are other Marvel productions be affected?
First up is Spider-Man: No Way Home, which arrives in December 2021. As fans will know, Cumberbatch will play a supporting role in Tom Holland’s third outing as the webslinger, and he’ll likely be around to help Peter Parker to try and work out why reality is breaking down in No Way Home.
How do we know reality is going to break down in the third MCU Spidey film, and Marvel movies beyond that? Well, Far From Home will feature numerous Spider-Man villains from its three movie adaptations, including Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock and Jamie Foxx’s Electro. Rumors continue to tease appearances from Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man incarnations, although Marvel is yet to confirm or deny those reports (Holland has denied it, for what it's worth).
Next, we have Loki’s Disney Plus series. In a 2019 Bloomberg interview, Feige revealed that Loki’s TV show will be linked to Doctor Strange 2. Those ties were cemented further by Loki head writer Michael Waldron being drafted in to rewrite The Multiverse of Madness’ script (per THR). Loki’s series will follow the God of Mischief moments after he steals the tesseract during Avengers: Endgame. Tasked with repairing the timelines he’s broken by the Time Variance Authority, there should be some major continuity between Loki’s TV show and Doctor Strange 2.
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania could also have loose ties to Doctor Strange 2. According to director Peyton Reed, the threequel could explore the Quantum Realm, a place where reality is warped and doesn’t abide by the laws of physics, in more detail. The Multiverse of Madness’ events, then, may impact this dimension as well, though it’s unclear how. It may have something to do with the arrival of Marvel big bad Kang the Conqueror, who will feature in Ant-Man’s third movie, but there’s no plot details for Quantumania yet.
Finally, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness could even affect Marvel’s upcoming Fantastic Four movie. Very little is known about the MCU’s iteration of the beloved group, but their arrival could be based on events that transpire in Stephen Strange’s next outing. Whether it’s through their arrival from another dimension, or their powers being the byproduct of what happens in Doctor Strange 2, there’s every chance that Mr Fantastic and company may be introduced through the Multiverse.
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