Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness could be the most important MCU movie since Avengers: Endgame.
Yep, we said it: the sequel to 2016's Doctor Strange, which isn't top of anyone's favorite Marvel movie lists, might just be the superhero flick that delivers some of the most intriguing and compelling additions to the MCU in some time. That's because it'll give viewers their most in-depth look at the Marvel Cinematic Multiverse (MCM) to date and, with it, the potential introduction of some characters, elements lifted right from Marvel comics and more.
Given that Doctor Strange will have a major hand in its arrival, based on what we've seen of Spider-Man: No Way Home so far, the Sorcerer Supreme may be on a quest to undo the damage he's helped to create. But, it'll be a longer wait until Doctor Strange 2 arrives, with its release date pushed back due to some required reshoots.
A few plot details, its launch date and some cast members asisde, much of the film's production and plot remain a mystery. So what do we know about Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness?
Below, you'll also find out more about Doctor Strange 2's release date, confirmed cast members, likely villains, potential story beats, ties to the wide MCM and more.
We're dealing with big spoilers from Doctor Strange, WandaVision, Loki season 1, Shang-Chi and Spider-Man: No Way Home from now on. If you aren't caught up on the MCU's many events so far (that's what Disney Plus is for), turn back now.
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Doctor Strange 2 release date
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness release date: May 6, 2022
Doctor Strange 2 will be released on May 6, 2022. The next MCU movie after No Way Home was supposed to arrive on March 25, but its release has been delayed for a third time.
Why? Well, because six weeks of reshoots are required to help with the film's pacing, the editing process and the flick's impact on the MCM. In November 2021, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that the movie's cast and crew would return to work six-day weeks, over a period of six weeks, to ensure that extra footage and reshot scenes were in the can to aid the film's flow.
Speaking to Empire magazine (via ComicBook.com) about the reshoots, star Benedict Cumberbatch said: "We're working incredibly hard to make a schedule work to realise the full potential of the film – bits that we want to do better but also bits that were just impossible to do on the day because of logistics, COVID etc. We were so delayed in production, because of that. Luckily, not during production too much. Although everything is just a little slower."
That'll take the movie's cast and crew up until the end of the year, too, so getting the film out of the door by May 2022 will be a tall order. But we're pretty confident that there won't be a further delay to its launch. Here's hoping anyway.
Doctor Strange 2 trailer
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness trailer: is there one?
Not yet. A claim from alleged Marvel insider Daniel Richtman (via CBR.com) had suggested that a first teaser would be released in December 2021, but there's been no word from Marvel or Disney on this front yet.
Any trailer drop might be delayed due to the ongoing reshoots, although there should be enough footage in the can to allow for Marvel to give us a tantalizing look at Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Regardless, once a teaser trailer lands online, we’ll update this page.
Doctor Strange 2 cast
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness cast: who is playing who?
Spoilers for Doctor Strange, Loki and WandaVision follow.
There are six confirmed cast members for Doctor Strange 2 so far:
- 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 was last seen in Avengers: Endgame but will be a supporting character in Spider-Man: No Way Home. Wong made a couple of cameo appearances in Shang-Chi, and will do likewise in No Way Home. McAdams, meanwhile, hasn't been seen since the first Doctor Strange film, although she appeared throughout episode four of Marvel's What If...? TV show.
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 will co-star alongside Cumberbatch as 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) as America Chavez, who also goes by the pseudonym Miss America.
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 – leading 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. Still, it'll be cool to see one of Marvel's newest popular heroes make her live-action debut.
Two individuals who haven’t been confirmed 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 post-credits scene. However, it seems that Billy and Tommy will have some part to play in Doctor Strange 2.
According to UK newspaper Somerset Live, Klyne and Hilliard were spotted on set during the final week of filming. Scenes are said to have been shot on a large farm known as Burrow Hill Cider Farm, with one sequence reportedly costing £2 million (approximately US$2.8 million). Local residents say Klyne and Hilliard made appearances, but there’s been no leaked photographs to verify these claims.
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 Wonder Woman 1984, we'll see him play someone known as "New Yorker 616".
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, then, that we may see Strange, Wanda or other individuals travel to the 616 universe.
Out of all the Marvel Flicks out there in Phase 4 now the one I wanna see the most is Doctor Strange 2 #DoctorStrangeInTheMultiverseOfMadness #DoctorStrange2 #mcu #marvel #MarvelStudios pic.twitter.com/e4DLtzUoInNovember 25, 2021
There may be other characters in Doctor Strange 2. 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 here.
Rintrah might not be the only unusual creature to make an appearance. A recent LEGO set leak lent credence to the fact that Gargantos – a giant octopus-like monster – will appear, so there's every chance that this creature will also feature.
Bruce Campbell is also believed to be making a cameo appearance (per Collider). Campbell worked with Sam Raimi on the iconic Evil Dead series and had cameos in Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy. It’s not known who he will be playing, though.
THR has also claimed that Tom Hiddleston's Loki will cameo in Doctor Strange 2. Given how integral Loki's season 1 finale was to actually introducing the multiverse, this might have some truth to it. Another outlet in BGR has also suggested that Owen Wilson's Mobius and Sophia Di Martino's Sylvie might appear, too, but we're taking these reports with a grain of salt for now, even though Loki head writer Michael Waldron has penned Doctor Strange 2's script.
Meanwhile, Daniel Richtman has claimed that Wanda will end up fighting superheroes from Fox's defunct X-Men universe, including Sir Patrick Stewart's Professor X. Again, though, we advise you to be dubious on this rumor for now.
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 actors are part of the cast. Hopefully, we'll get official confirmation on this front soon.
Doctor Strange 2 story
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness plot: what’s it about?
We only have a brief official synopsis so far, 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 know that Mordo has turned to the dark side, so we expect him to cause some havoc.
But it could also be Wanda. As the WandaVision's post-credits scene showed, Wanda is exploring 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 hinted that the Scarlet Witch would “destroy the world”, which may be a warning that Wanda will be consumed by the Darkhold’s influence. It's possible that she'll try and use it to get Billy and Tommy back for good, but that could spell trouble for the MCU and wider multiverse. In doing so, Wanda may end up being the vessel for unleashing this ‘unspeakable evil’.
Either way, 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 that she backed up in another interview (via CinemaBlend).
Regarding Doctor Strange's cut cameo in WandaVision, Feige told Rolling Stone that the Sorcerer Supreme was removed so he didn't detract on the Wanda-centric story that WandaVision's team wanted to tell. Doctor Strange 2's script, then, needed a rewrite that alters how the two sorcerers meet during its plot. We don't know how this happens, but it's likely that the first act will have been changed significantly to reflect Strange's cut WandaVision appearance.
Speaking as part of the Shang-Chi press tour, too, Wong also revealed that multiple versions of key scenes had been shot to stop spoilers leaking out. Per SlashFilm, Wong said: "I think it should be called Doctor Strange and the Multi-Schedule. You know, with the amount of...honestly, we literally didn't know...sometimes you'd have, like, three versions of doing various different scenes."
Finally, Cumberbatch told THR that Doctor Strange's sequel provided more freedom to the cast, what with the character's origins story out of the way. He also explained what Raimi brought to the table for the follow-up, saying: “He’s got certain Raimi traits. The smashed-zoom close-up. The mixture of just on the level of horror and just on the level of camp. There’s fun in there, but there should be some real thrills as well.”
So it seems that the film's cast doesn't even know how the movie's plot may play out. We know that it'll follow on from Spider-Man: No Way Home so, hopefully, we'll have a clearer picture once that film is released.
Doctor Strange 2 villain
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: who is the villain?
There are a number of candidates. As we said earlier, Mordo and Wanda are the most likely at first glance, but there may be a bigger antagonist involved.
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 for her to 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.
One other possibility to consider is, strangely, Marvel heroine Clea – and her inclusion appears to be more than just a theory. In March 2021, supposed concept art for Doctor Strange 2 leaked online and appeared to show Clea sitting on a throne:
🚨 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 movie, so it's possible 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.
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’ 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, however, may not end up being the main villain. According to multiple leakers, including Daniel Richtman and The Illuminerdi, Shuma Gorath – a massive, ancient octopus-inspired entity – may be the film's major antagonist.
For those unfamiliar, Shuma Gorath is 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 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. A recent jigsaw puzzle leak appears to have confirmed Shuma Gorath's involvement anyway, so this is looking more likely by the day.
Doctor Strange 2: MCU tie-ins
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: how are other MCU productions affected?
First up is Spider-Man: No Way Home, which arrives on December 17, 2021. As the film's trailers show, Strange agrees to help Peter Parker make everyone forget he's Spider-Man (Mysterio had revealed Parker's identity at the end of Far From Home).
However, Peter causes Strange to lose focus as he's casting the necessary spell, which causes reality to break down and helps to usher in the multiverse. Meanwhile, in Loki episode 6, Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) killed one of Kang's variants – the seemingly immortal He Who Remains (Jonathan Majors). Alongside Wanda messing around with the Darkhold to potentially bring her sons back to life, all three events seemingly connect together and cause the multiverse to arrive.
It seems, then, that Strange will regret his decision to help Peter and try to reverse his own actions in his solo sequel movie.
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.
So the Multiverse of Madness’ events 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. He Who Remains heavily teased Kang's arrival in Loki's season 1 finale, but there’s no plot details for Quantumania yet.
What If...?, Marvel's animated anthology series on Disney Plus, may also have a role to play. Episode four focused on Doctor Strange and suggested what would have happened if Strange had fully embraced the evil side of the mystic arts. With Supreme Sorcerer Strange trapped in his own universe alone, after The Watcher declined to intervene and save it, could we see this evil version appear in the Multiverse of Madness movie? It's possible. It would be fun to see Cumberbatch play two versions of Strange in the sequel, after all.
Marvel Studios' Fantastic Four might connect to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. This is speculation on our part, but the multiverse's arrival could lead to their overdue introduction as part of Marvel's Phase 4 slate. Kang and the Fantastic Four's most famous villain, Doctor Doom, have a history in the comics. With Kang on his way to the MCU, Doctor Doom may not be close behind – and that would enable the Fantastic Four to arrive, too.
Finally, could we see the X-Men finally make their way to the MCU? If you believe the rumors of Professor X and other X-Men, from Fox's defunct universe, appearing in Doctor Strange 2, we could do. Right now, we'd say this is the least likely option as Marvel hasn't officially revealed that it's developing an X-Men MCU movie. But it would be cool if Doctor Strange 2 finally ushers them into the MCU/MCM, and put those lengthy fan requests about their arrival to be once and for all.
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