Marvel fans, we’re only a week away from the highly anticipated premiere of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness! Based on the trailers, it appears we’re in for a genre-bending, super hero-fueled wild ride. Sam Raimi infusing horror elements into the Marvel Cinematic Universe is just what the doctor (not Strange) ordered.
In addition to Doctor Strange, the film will bring the return of Wong, the current Sorcerer Supreme, as well as Scarlet Witch. Of course, it remains to be seen how these characters will deal with the impending threat of a collapsing Multiverse — especially when Wanda’s powers continue to grow and there’s a threatening figure who looks a lot like Doctor Strange himself.
So, in preparation for the MCU’s most ambitious flick yet (not hyperbole), here’s a breakdown of what you need to know before watching it. The basic nuts and bolts, if you will. Read on!
Who is America Chavez?
America Chavez suffered from abject tragedy at a young age, wherein her mothers were killed and her sister was taken captive by an insidious billionaire, Mr. Gales. Mr. Gales treated America and her sister, Catalina, for a genetic disease. America’s powers manifested once she was in remission. Later, she was adopted by the Santana family, who whisked her away to Washington Heights, New York.
Inevitably, America started her super hero career as a vigilante, but she eventually joined the Young Avengers. Her powers include punching star-shaped “portals,” allowing her to travel through the Multiverse. Additionally, America boasts super strength, speed, time travel abilities, flight, and superhuman durability.
Considering the movie is titled Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (in case you didn’t know), it stands to reason that America’s portal-creating capabilities will come in handy when traversing the Multiverse.
The MCU is slowly introducing the Young Avengers, from Kate Bishop in Hawkeye to Tommy (Speed) and Billy (Wiccan) in WandaVision. We met Eli Bradley (Patriot) in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Kid Loki in Loki. It’s all coming together, folks!
What’s up with the Multiverse stuff?
Oh, the Multiverse. It can be head-scratching if you’re a casual Marvel fan. Phase 4 kicked the magical Multiverse stuff into high gear, starting with WandaVision. If you’ll recall, Wanda Maximoff, AKA Scarlet Witch, holds a quaint New Jersey town under the sway of a powerful hex while simultaneously resurrecting Vision and creating two children. Wanda later learns from Agatha Harkness that she wields chaos magic.
After defeating Agatha and bidding farewell to her fabricated dream life, Wanda seizes control of the Darkhold. The Darkhold is an ancient tome full of arcane power and nefarious magic. She studies its contents, hellbent on scouring the Multiverse for Billy and Tommy, her lost sons.
Loki brings more Multiverse antics to the surface when our titular trickster god plucks himself out of a seemingly fixed moment in the first Avengers film, thereby creating a variant of himself (more on that later). To eradicate the Time Variance Authority, Loki and Sylvie encounter He Who Remains, AKA Kang the Conqueror. He Who Remains protects the Sacred Timeline. He created the TVA, too.
Later, Sylvie kills He Who Remains, cracking the Sacred Timeline wide open. We see it splintering in real-time. Loki himself arrives in an alternate timeline, confirming the significant damage inflicted on the Sacred Timeline.
But Spider-Man: No Way Home hones in on the madness of the Multiverse. Peter Parker pleads with Stephen Strange to cast a spell to erase the public’s knowledge of his secret identity. Unfortunately, the spell goes awry, planting a slew of Spider-Man villains from different universes into the current timeline. The film also explores the Mirror Dimension, as seen in the first Doctor Strange flick.
Eventually, Peter sends these villains back to their respective homes while tag-teaming with a few other Peter Parkers.
What about the variants?
Well, what about the variants? Loki brings the concept of variants, or alternate versions of characters, into the MCU fold. The TVA not only guards the Sacred Timeline, but it keeps the Loki variants in check, ensuring they remain in their respective timelines. If a variant does anything out of line, the TVA “prunes” them, sending them to the Void as punishment. Some of Loki’s known variants include Sylvie, Classic Loki, Kid Loki, Alligator Loki, President Loki, and Boastful Loki.
Regarding variants in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, we’ve got the main Doctor Strange, Defender Strange, evil Doctor Strange (as seen in What If…?), AKA Sinister Strange, and Zombie Doctor Strange. We’ll see variants of Wanda, but we don’t have specifics yet. There are shots of a potential Zombie Wanda in the trailers/clips, keeping in line with another What If…? episode that introduces zombies into the MCU mix.
In addition, there are rumblings we could see a Captain Marvel variant or Iron Lad. Iron Lad makes more sense to me, given America Chavez and Iron Lad are part of the Young Avengers together.
Who is Bruce Campbell playing?
If you’re a movie buff, you most likely know that Bruce Campbell and Sam Raimi have worked together a lot throughout their respective careers. Campbell also played a different character in each of Raimi’s Spider-Man films. In the first one, he was the Ring Announcer, in Spider-Man 2 he was the Snooty Usher, and in Spider-Man 3 he was the Maître d’.
Recently, Campbell shared a photo on Twitter of him sitting in a makeup chair, with the caption, “I always feel a little strange when I work on a Sam Raimi movie. #multiverse.” You can see Campbell donning a Doctor Strange look in his reflection in the mirror. This image spawned rumors that Campbell could be portraying a variant of Doctor Strange.
But would he carelessly reveal a significant Marvel detail like that? I feel like Kevin Feige would’ve trained his MCU snipers on Campbell by now. That said, I love the idea of him as a variant Strange. It works.
How does Professor X fit into the story?
It’s a commonly held belief that we’ll see Professor Charles Xavier in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, primarily based on a voice in the trailer that sounds like Patrick Stewart saying, “We should tell him the truth.” Professor X is part of a secret organization known as the Illuminati (not akin to what we think of the Illuminati in real life). It was founded by Xavier, Mister Fantastic, Iron Man, Black Bolt, Namor, and Doctor Strange. Over time, the group has also featured other super heroes like Black Panther, Captain Britain, Beast, and Amadeus Cho.
Each of these heroes brings something unique to the table, and they combine their various skillsets to strategize, working behind the scenes to protect Earth.
Perhaps we’ll get a taste of the Illuminati in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, along with some of its members. Maybe we heard the voice of a variant Professor X, not the Charles Xavier we saw in the X-Men films.
Professor X and the Illuminati would most likely intervene after Strange’s spell bursts the Multiverse wide open, and it becomes too burdensome for even the likes of Wanda Maximoff. While I think it’s possible we’ll see Patrick Stewart, I’m also prepared for Marvel to throw a curveball. Expect the unexpected, right?
What are you most excited to see in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!