Your Guide to the Absolute Multiverse Madness in Doctor Strange 2

Your Guide to the Absolute Multiverse Madness in Doctor Strange 2
Contributor: Leah J. Williams, James Whitbrook, Justin Carter

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is one of the most intriguing parts of the MCU’s fourth phase — and now that it’s out, we’ve gotten a pretty good look at what the multiverse could mean for Marvel in its fourth phase.

Following WandaVision and set after Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange 2 is a wild ride that embraces the multiverse more than we’ve ever seen in a Marvel project before. With spider-filled multiverses previously explored, chaos magic and literal reality breaking, there’s plenty of strangeness in store.

If you’re keen to see Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, here’s your guide to it.

doctor strange multiverse
Image: Marvel

Who is in Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness?

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is an ensemble film starring an array of new and returning characters.

As if helping Spider-Man save the multiverse from ripping apart wasn’t enough dimensional heroics for Stephen Strange, his second solo movie sees him head down some dark paths — with a few old friends and new characters ready to meet him in the multiverse.

It’s best we explore who is in the flick by pulling apart the trailers…

Doctor Strange 2: Trailer

Disney and Marvel Studios officially released the first look at Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange sequel in December:

First attached to the end of Spider-Man: No Way Home, the teaser introduced returning star Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange, WandaVision’s Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch, and Chiwetel Ejiofor as returning character Mordo. The trailer also offered a glimpse of the debut of Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez, best known as a member of the Young Avengers in Marvel’s comics.

We also get Benedict Wong back as Wong, the scene-stealing magician, and Rachel McAdams returning as Christine Palmer, despite the franchise not really giving her much to do so far.

But hidden among the commercials, Super Bowl LVI also brought another Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness trailer that confirmed what was teased at the end of No Way Home: the multiverse is in all sorts of disarray, and it’s up to Stephen Strange to set things right again.

While Cumberbatch’s Strange has proven by now he’s more than worthy of the Sorcerer Supreme title (despite the Sorcerer Supreme title currently belonging to Wong), a problem as big as the multiverse requires some extra helping hands. We already knew that the Scarlet Witch herself, Wanda Maximoff (Olsen) would be along for the ride: after everything that happened in her show, Stephen considers her the closest thing to an expert on the multiverse. But thanks to this trailer, we also got a brief, but exciting first look at Gomez as America Chavez, a teen with the ability to travel between dimensions. Even more interesting is the brief voice of Patrick Stewart, the actor who played Professor X in the X-Men movies.

Here’s another TV spot for the film that gave us even more questions than answers:

The next trailer for Doctor Strange 2, that was released to celebrate tickets going on sale, showed even more multiversal madness, along with a glimpse of Wanda’s twins Billy and Tommy returning.

The messy Marvel Cinematic Multiverse is about to come under some new management… or rather, new managers are about to be revealed, because as the latest teaser for the film, the erstwhile Sorcerer Supreme gets hauled in front of the Illuminati for his rampant reality-tampering.

The Illuminati, if you’re unaware, is/was a secret council in the Marvel Comics universe comprised of Doctor Strange, Iron Man, Professor X, Namor the King of Atlantis, Black Bolt the King of the Inhumans, and Reed Richards, aka Mister Fantastic of the Fantastic Four, who were stealthily working together to “mould and shape the status of the superhuman world and the world around it,” according to Marvel’s official bio page for the group, after the events of the Kree-Skrull War. (Black Panther was invited to join, but declined.)

The rumours that the Illuminati would be a part of Multiverse of Madness erupted when Patrick Stewart’s distinctive voice was heard in the movie’s last full trailer, leading fans to suspect the actor would be reprising his role as Professor X from the (now Disney-owned) X-Men movie franchise. This is almost certainly true, now that this teaser has confirmed the Illuminati are real (in the MCU, at least).

It’s inspired by classic horror movies, but it was originally ‘too weird’

doctor strange weird multiverse
Image: Marvel/Disney

The first Doctor Strange was notable in how visually trippy it got with its alternate dimensions and action sequences, and Multiverse happily continues that trend.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness had a rocky birth, with director Scott Derrickson (who also led the original Doctor Strange) pulling out of the film in 2020 due to creative differences with Marvel. This news followed reports Derrickson wanted to make Multiverse of Madness the first ‘true’ horror movie in the MCU.

Early interviews with the director indicated he wanted to make a “scary” and weird film, and while it’s unclear whether this was the reason he left the project, it’s fair to say his vision didn’t align with Marvel’s.

Instead, the company hired Sam Raimi, who has a long history with both Marvel (as the director of the 2000s-era Spider-Man films) and horror (the Evil Dead franchise).

Despite Derrickson leaving the project, it does appear Multiverse of Madness retains some of its original horror elements. In an interview with Glamour, star Elizabeth Olsen described the film as “a bonkers movie” with a “horror show vibe”. So while we may not see the original vision for the movie, there’s still plenty of chaos.

What you should know about Doctor Strange 2

Set after the events of No Way Home — with the trailer echoing dialogue from that movie as Strange warns Peter Parker that the multiverse is a concept “about which we know frighteningly little” — Multiverse of Madness sees Strange and the MCU’s Sorcerer Supreme, Wong, grapple with the threat of the multiverse, opening up new threats to the nature of the multiverse’s very existence.

The film sees Strange dive deep into the mystical and dark side of the multiverse… and come face to face with a sinister reflection of himself, as well as the returned (or different) Mordo.

Let’s talk about America Chavez

america chavez doctor strange
Image: Marvel Comics

America Chavez is a relatively new Marvel Comics character who hails from a dimension called the Utopian Parallel. She’s able to cross between realities and has a treasure trove of superpowers: flight, strength, durability and even hyper-powered magic blasts.

Chavez makes her MCU debut in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, played by Xochitl Gomez, and is endlessly pursued by villains who want to claim her powers for themselves.

It spins directly out of WandaVision

WandaVision was supposed to connect directly to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, with the titular sorcerer originally written to appear in the final moments of the show. When it was decided the TV show should focus solely on Wanda, Strange was written out — meaning Multiverse of Madness had to be rewritten.

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As a protector of the universe, Strange is obligated to keep track of any potential threats to peace, and Wanda is undoubtedly now a major player in the MCU’s magic stakes.

The ending of WandaVision left Wanda’s alignment and intentions purposefully unclear, but given her immense recent losses and newfound power, it could be that she ends up causing trouble for Strange.

Our review

If you’d like to know what we thought of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, you can find our review here.

“While Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has a whole lot going on from scene to scene and even shot to shot, the parts that shine help save the whole. Nothing in the movie is bad, necessarily — there’s just so much going on that you are never quite sure what the movie is trying to say, if anything. Even the story feels prohibitively stretched out at times. But those Sam Raimi horror touches, and a killer, maybe MCU best, performance from Elizabeth Olsen make the ride well worth taking. You’ll never be bored watching Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness but, on the off chance you are, just wait five minutes. Something absolutely batshit is surely right around the corner.”

This post has been updated since it was first published and we will continue to make updates as we learn more – so stay tuned!

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now in cinemas. Why not check out all the other sci-fi, horror and fantasy films coming our way this year.