Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness might just be the most important production in Marvel Studios' Phase 4 slate (well, after Loki's Disney Plus TV show).
The upcoming sequel to the Sorcerer Supreme's 2016 origins story will explore the Marvel Cinematic Multiverse (MCM) in greater detail after its arrival was confirmed in Loki's season 1 finale.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is still nine months away from release and much of its production remains a secret.
However, we've started to receive more regular teases about its plot, characters (confirmed and rumored), how it'll tie into the wider MCM and much more.
If you want the complete lowdown on everything we know about Doctor Strange 2 thus far, we're here to help. Below, you'll find out plenty of information about the Marvel superhero film including its release date and what Loki's season 1 finale means for this movie's story.
A word of warning before we begin: we’ll be dealing with spoilers from Doctor Strange, WandaVision, Avengers: Endgame and Loki season 1 from now 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 will launch on March 25, 2022. It was supposed to arrive on May 7, 2021 but, with filming unable to begin until November 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, its release was pushed back until November 2021.
That launch was delayed for a second time to March 2022 so principal photography and post production could be completed.
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. 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, Loki 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 in Avengers: Endgame, while McAdams is returning as Strange’s ex-girlfriend and former surgery colleague.
Ejiofor 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 will continue.
Olsen 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 Doctor Strange 2's exploration of 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 her to Earth.
We don't know if Chavez's comic origins will carry over into Doctor Strange 2, or if she'll be introduced in a different way. Whatever happens, it'll be cool to see one of Marvel's newest popular heroes make her live-action debut.
Additionally, Gomez has explained how she deciphered the fact that she was auditioning for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Check out what she had to say via the tweet below (courtesy of Twitter use @dailyDSITMOM):
Xochitl Gomez shares her audition experience with Marvel.#AmericaChavez pic.twitter.com/neRp1kxSPQJune 6, 2021
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.
According to Somerset Live, a UK 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). Local residents say Klyne and Hilliard were seen on location, but there’s been no leaked photographs to 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.
While Doctor Strange 2 is going to be more of a cameo fest movie, keep in mind that Michael Waldron said that it is still focused on Doctor Strange (and Scarlet Witch). They did their best to produce and make the best Doctor Strange movie. It's a multiverse movie for a reason. 😊July 22, 2021
It’s also possible that there’ll be other 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”. Those characters may have already been revealed now in Miss America, Billy and Tommy, but more could be on the way, too.
One 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 comics history with Doctor Strange. Coupled with his moderately powerful magical abilities, Rintrah could be an ally of Doctor Strange in the movie.
Rintrah won't be the only unusual creature to make an appearance. According to the Mandy.com profile for actress Yenifer Molina, Gargantos – a giant octopus-like sea monster – will be in the movie, with Molina set to lend her voice to the character.
Bruce Campbell is also 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.
A recent THR report claimed that Tom Hiddleston's Loki would cameo in Doctor Strange 2 as well. Given how integral Loki's season 1 finale was to actually introducing the Multiverse, this might not be as big of a stretch as fans may initially think.
Finally, a trio of new characters has seemingly been revealed ahead of schedule.
According to the Mandy profile of actress Mara Natuzzi, a character known as "Maria" will appear. Fellow Mandy users Mace Smales and Sandra Chaffey have also been cast as a "novice archer" and "warrior" respectively.
Doctor Strange 2's working title was rumored to be 'Stellar Vortex', so it seems that these two actors are part of the cast. However, we don't know how important any of these characters are to its narrative.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness plot: what’s it about?
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 November 2020 casting call on Backstage.com, 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 this? There are only two options for this friend-turned-enemy – Mordo and Wanda. We already know that Mordo has turned to the dark side, so the smart money should be on him causing some form of havoc.
However, it could also 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 links to 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 will be consumed by the Darkhold’s influence. If she is, Wanda may end up being the vessel for unleashing this ‘unspeakable evil’.
Regardless, 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 – comments she backed up in another interview (via CinemaBlend).
Regarding 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 a result, Doctor Strange 2's script needed a rewrite to alters how the two sorcerers end up meeting in Doctor Strange 2. We don't know how this will happen, but it's likely that the first story act will have been changed significantly to reflect Strange's cut WandaVision appearance.
As for what inspired Doctor Strange 2, head writer Michael Waldron told Vanity Fair that Indiana Jones, Logan, Gladiator and (surprisingly) US chef Anthony Bourdain were chief influences for the movie's story and aesthetic.
Building on Waldron's Indiana Jones comment, Olsen also told Vanity Fair's Little Gold Men podcast that Doctor Strange 2 is "scarier than Indiana Jones." Given how spooky Raiders of the Lost Ark was, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness sounds like it'll be more frightening than that.
Elsewhere, Benedict Wong told Collider that Raimi's helming of Doctor Strange 2 allowed the cast to improvise on set, which may lead to some funny exchanges in the final product.
"I like throwing alts [alternative lines, and he likes them, so we just have a bit of a laugh," Wong said. "I just throw anything at the wall, and sometimes it will fall down and sometimes it'll stick. It's amazing, the creative process. As long as you're not afraid to throw something at the wall, it might be right or it might be wrong, but we're all just trying to make something here. We're having a lot of fun."
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: who is the villain?
There are a number of candidates. Mordo should 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. The demon lord 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.
But 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:
🚨 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 is official concept art, Clea 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 solo movie outing, so it isn’t out of the realms of possibility that Clea could appear.
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, 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. 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.
👁️ pic.twitter.com/XestuuZAE1May 19, 2021
Mordo, Wanda or Clea may not end up being the main villain in Doctor Strange 2, however. According to multiple leakers, such as Daniel Richtman and The Illuminerdi, Shuma Gorath – a massive, ancient octopus-inspired entity – may be the film's antagonist.
It should be noted that these leakers have a patchy track record, so take these rumors with a big pinch of salt. Both claim to have sources who have told them about Shuma Gorath's involvement, though, and that his arrival will have something to do with America Chavez.
For those unfamiliar with Shuma Gorath, he's one of the Great Old Ones who has successfully conquered Earth in the past. In the comics, he's also the ruler of multiple dimensions and has often clashed with Doctor Strange. He's been beaten by the Sorcerer Supreme during those battles, but he's seemingly undefeatable so always returns to try and conquer Earth again.
Shuma Gorath would play into the 'unspeakable evil' line of the movie's synopsis, and his arrival would require a team up between the likes of Strange, Wanda, America Chavez and potentially Clea (providing she's not a villain) to stop him from invading.
For what it's worth, Boss Logic – an artist who has produced Marvel movie artwork in the past – created a piece of fanart, which you can see above, that depicts Strange fighting Shuma Gorath, so that gives us a flavor of what to expect if this rumor is true.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness MCU tie-ins: how are other Marvel productions affected?
First up is Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Eagle-eyed fans will have seen Wong briefly fighting Abomination in the official trailer for Marvel's next movie. We'll find out why Wong is battling a Hulk villain when Shang-Chi lands in September, but we suspect it'll be something Multiverse related.
Next, Spider-Man: No Way Home arrives in December 2021. Cumberbatch's Strange is expected to 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.
How do we know reality is going to break down? Well, it already has in Marvel's Loki. In episode 6, Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) killed one of Kang's variants – the seemingly immortal He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors) – which leads to the Multiverse's arrival.
Before that, though, we knew that Far From Home will feature numerous Spider-Man villains from previous 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).
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 after He Who Remains heavily teased his arrival in Loki's season 1 finale, but there’s no plot details for Quantumania yet.
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