Once you know everything we know about Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, you’ll understand why we think that it will turn out to be one of the most significant releases in Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) history. It will send old characters down paths of no return, bring new characters into the canon, and set events in motion that will have far-reaching consequences.
In terms of MCU chronology, Multiverse of Madness details the most recent events, taking place after Spider-Man: No Way Home, WandaVision, and Loki. If you need to catch up on the last two, our Marvel streaming guide will help you out. WandaVision in particular is important to be up to speed on, and here come the spoilers explaining why. You have been warned!
Spoilers for WandaVision follow.
By WandaVision’s end, Wanda has been forced to come to terms with the fact that she has been subconsciously (but powerfully) holding the entire town of Westview hostage, cutting it off from the outside world. Unable to deal with her grief over Vision’s death, she created a world in which Vision is not only alive, but fathers twin boys with her. At the end of the series, as painful as it is for her, she does the right thing by giving the town its freedom; which means losing the husband and children that she had created for herself.
Wanda has now embraced her true power, becoming the immensely powerful Scarlet Witch. She flees Westview, seeking solitude. It is in this context that Doctor Strange seeks her out, asking for her help. The final twist, and the one that might be what convinces her to help Strange is her sons – the ones that never truly existed – are somehow involved. But are they her sons, or the sons of an alternate Wanda from another dimension…?
WandaVision spoilers end.
How to watch Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
As of May 6, 2022, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now out exclusively in cinemas. There will be no home viewing options during the initial cinema viewing period, and we have no official word on how long that exclusivity period will last.
However, we are almost certain that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will eventually be available to view on Disney Plus, along with every other MCU movie.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness cast
Benedict Cumberbatch of course returns as Doctor Strange, and Benedict Wong returns as Wong (who is now Sorcerer Supreme). Elizabeth Olsen stars as Wanda Maximoff, who will play a major role in the movie following on directly from the events of WandaVision. Chiwetel Ejiofor finally returns as Karl Modo; he may have been missing from the MCU for six years, but he’ll be coming back with a vengeance here.
Xochitl Gomez, who you may have seen in The Baby-Sitters Club, brings America Chavez to life from the comics. Surprisingly perhaps, Rachel McAdams returns as Strange’s former lover Christine Palmer, and Michael Stuhlbarg reprises his role as Nicodemus West, a rival to Strange from his previous life as a surgeon.
Not officially confirmed at time of writing, but something of an open secret, is Patrick Stewart. His distinctive voice can be heard when a character briefly addresses Strange off-camera in one of the trailers. The smart money is on his role being that of none other than Professor Xavier of the X-Men; keep reading to discover why.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness trailers
There’s an incredible amount of teasing and surprises packed into these two trailers. If you don’t know why Wanda has a funky new outfit, that means you need to catch up on WandaVision.
What is the story of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness?
Until very recently, details of the overarching plot have been vague, with Marvel revealing little more than the fact that something in the multiverse presents an incredible threat, and Doctor Strange needs to enlist the help of some allies if he is to have any hope of defeating it. After around 20 minutes of the movie was screened at CinemaCon, however (as reported by outlets such as IGN), things became clearer. We won’t ruin things for you with detailed spoilers, but we’ll give you a good idea of how things get started.
America Chavez (incidentally, the MCU’s first canonically gay superhero) is a teenager with the ability to open doorways between universes; an ability that is not entirely under her control. Something is chasing her through the multiverse, craving her power. Finding herself in Strange’s universe, she asks for his help, and so Strange enlists Wong and Wanda (and others?) to set things right in the multiverse.
Trying to pin down events much further than this leads to theorizing and speculation, but there are isolated facts Marvel have mischievously dangled in front of audiences without context. We know, for example, that the multiverse concept is being used to provide multiple versions of several characters. As well as ‘our’ Doctor Strange, there will be Defender Strange (in the comics, a version that belonged to a superpowered team known as the Defenders), and zombie and evil variants that will be familiar to those who watched the animated series What If…?. There will be multiple Wandas, too (including a zombie version) and alternate universe versions of Wong (who also has a Defender variant), Mordo, and Christine Palmer.
We know from the trailers that at some point Doctor Strange is to face a reckoning for his multiverse meddling. Fans inferred, and it has since been confirmed, that the group he faces is The Illuminati. This has provided rocket fuel for the rumor machine.
Who are The Illuminati?
In the comics, The Illuminati have several forms across multiple universes. Exactly who they are and what they do within the MCU is currently unknown, but the possibilities are exciting. Judging from the trailers, it seems that the MCU Illuminati are caretakers of the multiverse, hence their desire to hold Doctor Strange to account. What has fans really excited are the potential members.
In the comics, one of the original members is Professor Charles Xavier, leader of the X-Men, which is why it’s widely assumed that Patrick Stewart (heard but not seen) will be reprising his X-Men role for the MCU. There’s also speculation that some version of Tony Stark will be part of The Illuminati. Why? Partly because he was also one of the original members in the comics and partly because, well, he could be responsible for those robots seen accompanying a handcuffed Strange in the trailer. And, after all, there have been rumors swirling of a Tom Cruise version of Stark for quite a while now. Heck, while we’re on rumors, those who watched Loki to the end know that there’s always a chance the god of mischief could pop up too…
Who is writing, producing, and directing Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness?
The movie is written by Michael Waldron, who also wrote the Disney Plus Loki series (which further fuels the Tom Hiddleston cameo rumors). It’s being produced by Mr. Marvel himself, Kevin Feige, and the director is Sam Raimi. This is Raimi’s first MCU movie, but his long career also includes the three Tobey Maguire Spider-Man films, which is enough for some people to hope that Maguire and/or Garfield will enjoy a multiverse cameo. One final rumor suggests a Bruce Campbell cameo. He has, after all, appeared in almost every Raimi film so far (including all three Spider-Man movies).