Before I begin, can we just take a moment to appreciate the title of the film that is going to be our topic of discussion for this article? Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a title longer than general Marvel movie titles, but considering the content, it suits the film well.
In the 2 minute 17 second trailer, Marvel delivers an incredible mix of plotlines and nostalgia with some fabulous one liners. I must say, this trailer brought back the much needed faith in the MCU that many of us had lost after some of Phase 4’s disasters.
It was a refreshing change to see Doctor Strange, a guy who reminds OG Marvel fans about the glorious legacy of Marvel. If I have to say in short, the trailer made it clear that Doctor Strange has opened up the doorway to the multiverse or opened up access to multiple universes.
The multiverse theory has been already established in Marvel’s recent web series Loki, where multiple variants of Loki were introduced. With Doctor Strange, MCU teases potential plot twists, return of unexpected characters and gives its heroes a rather ambiguous vibe.
We can no longer consider heroes as just heroes with a savior complex, but they are now more relatable, with a certain degree of greyness. Case in point: Doctor Strange and Wanda.
Such a trailer, packed with references and theories deserves a complete breakdown and analysis, so here’s everything I could think of. Some of them maybe far-fetched, but it is Marvel after all. What is not possible?
Doctor Strange’s Nightmares
The trailer begins with Doctor Strange talking about his recurring nightmares where he sees a destroyed Sanctum Sanctorum and skeletal remains surrounding it. In this context, let me draw your attention of the work of director Sam Raimi.
Raimi is all set to direct Doctor Strange 2 who is known for his phenomenal work with the Spiderman trilogy. But did you know that he is also pretty famous for his horror movies, such as the Evid Dead films?
From the glimpse of Strange’s nightmare that we see in the trailer, it seems like there will be a touch of the supernatural or a gothic horror vibe involved in it. This is probably a hint at the Nightmare Dimension. Since Strange specifically mentions it, it definitely has some significance.
The No Way Home Connection
If you’ve seen Spiderman: No Way Home, you know what I mean when I say the trailer has a direct connection to what happens in the movie. For those of you who may have missed it or do not recall, here’s what the connection is in brief.
In NWH, Parker asks Doctor Strange for a huge favor – to cast a spell that can make the world forget that Peter Parker is Spiderman. While Strange decides to go forward with it, Wong (Sorcerer Supreme) is absolutely against the idea.
We’ve all watched enough films to know that tampering with time and space always has its consequences and these consequences are not exactly ‘good’ ones. Similarly, Wong warns Strange and forbids him to tamper with the universe.
But Strange, evidently, does not listen. In the post-credits scene in No Way Home, we see a glimpse of Strange’s alter ego, Sinister Strange who seems to be here as a consequence of the spell cast by OG Strange. Sinister Strange also appears in the Doctor Strange 2 trailer, where he faces the OG Strange.
Now, connecting these two glimpses, we can say that the post-credits scene in NWH was more of a prequel to what is coming up in Doctor Strange 2. We see Wong telling Strange that “he cannot control everything” and Strange almost regretting his decision to cast the crucial spell.
In all probability, Strange’s spell opened up the door to the multiverse and now he has to seek the help of Wanda and America Chavez to fix this ‘madness’. We can expect to see at least one (I would predict more than one) variant of Strange in the film apart from the OG Strange.
In short, the damage has been done and Strange has to pay for his deeds and live the consequences of that fateful spell from No Way Home. So much for trying to get Parker into college.
Introduction of New Characters
The trailer promises the appearance of multiple Marvel characters from multiple dimensions. While some of them are familiar faces such as Scarlet Witch and Captain Marvel (a variant), some are new introductions such as America Chavez and Rintrah.
We see the glimpse of America Chavez, a superhero from another reality, who is being introduced for the first time in MCU movies and her powers seem to be playing a pivotal role in the film. Her multiversal powers are initially seen through a star shaped portal tear in the universe.
If you observe closely, she is being held a mysterious demon. We do not know much about the various multiversal monsters that appear in the trailer but what is clear is that a lot of different creatures can come in since the multiverse is now open.
Chavez seems to be displaying her own powers as per the comics throughout the trailer such as enhanced durability and interdimensional travel. This will most likely be crucial in the film.
There’s also the introduction of Rintrah, a Minotaur-like creature who briefly served as Strange’s apprentice in the comics. The important bit, however, is that Rintrah belongs to another reality in the comics. So, his introduction might also be the result of the opening up of multiverses.
In Doctor Strange 1, we see that that the Masters of the Mystic Arts do derive their powers from different realities. So, even if Rintrah’s introduction is not directly connected to the opening up of the multiverses, he can still be Strange’s apprentice.
We are not sure of how big of a role Rintrah will play in the film, but we are surely getting a lot of new stuff to look forward to in this film.
The Variants of Doctor Strange
The trailer teases the involvement of many variants of our dear Stephen Strange. There’s Doctor Strange, Sinister Strange and also, Defender Strange and Zombie Strange.
The original Doctor Strange is the protagonist in the film, who is apparently the reason for all this madness. OG Strange, as we know, belongs to the Sacred Timeline.
Then there is Sinister Strange, the evil alter ego of Doctor Strange who says ‘things just got out of hand’ in the trailer. Doctor Strange comes face to face with his evil alter ego, which indicates that he will have a crucial role to play in the film. Sinister Strange resembles Strange Supreme from ‘What If…’, and has different sort of a beard cut that OG Strange.
You can also spot Defender Strange in one glimpse in the trailer, where he seemed to have slipped through one of Chavez’s portal. He had white hair and a different costume but seems to be one of Strange’s variants from another reality.
One of the final shots in the trailer also hint at Zombie Strange – with many arms and a monster-like appearance. This variant of Strange may have blended with another multiversal monster, and become a zombie.
So, Doctor Strange 2’s trailer confirms that there will be more than one variant of Doctor Strange at work in the film. This was expected, considering the multiverse is now open.
Doctor Strange’s Trial and Professor X’s Voice
Karl Mordo makes his appearance in the trailer with an interesting voiceover, where he says Strange’s ‘desecration of reality will not go unpunished.’ His voiceover is followed by visuals where Strange is taken to a facility for his trial, presumably owned by Mordo himself. Mordo’s return was promised in 2016’s Doctor Strange and he is back to rid the world of magic and mystical powers.
Mordo may have allied with the Time Variance Authority, an organization with monitors multiversal threats. Strange’s actions, in that case, will also be their business. This might also be a hint at Loki and other characters from the series appearing in the movie since the TVA was introduced first in Loki.
There’s also some sort of ‘truth’ involved. A mystery voice in the trailer says ‘let us tell him the truth’ when Strange comes in for his trial and the voice belonged to none other than Professor X! The voice was that of Patrick Stewart who is back as Professor X and has some ‘truth’ for Strange.
However, though the voice is clearly belonged to Stewart, we do not see any glimpse of it in the trailer.
The Iron Man Theory
As I mentioned above, it seems from the trailer that Karl Mordo has captured Doctor Strange for his actions involving tampering with the timelines. In one show, I noticed that (and please tell me I am not the only one) Strange was being accompanied by a squad of drones.
Largely being considered as the MCU’s take on the Illuminati, these drones are strongly reminiscent of Superior Iron Man Ultron Bots from the comics.
Is Marvel giving us a tease to something? I mean, if we see something even remotely resembling the ultrons, we know whom to connect it with – genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist.
Iron Man could perhaps be a part of the organization or council (may or may not be the TVA) that is holding Strange responsible for his mess of a spell.
In the comics, Iron Man was actually a part of the Illuminati roster. Along with him, there was Black Bolt, Doctor Strange, Professor X, Reed Richards and Namor. Professor X and Strange are already there in the movie and Namor is rumored to be introduced via Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.
There are also rumors that John Krasinski will play Mr Fantastic, aka Fantastic Four’s leader. It will be a cakewalk for Marvel to bring in the rest, such as Inhumans’ leader.
Considering these rumors, MCU might just be setting the stage up for a possible Iron Man return albeit as a variant. However, he may not be played by Robert Downey Jr. I know it breaks your heart into 3000 pieces, but reality has to be too kind to us for that to happen.
As per rumors, Tom Cruise may be playing Iron Man in upcoming ventures. If we’re lucky, he might be making an appearance in Doctor Strange 2 itself.
I know I am hoping for too much, but now that multiverses are open and time and space is so fluid in the MCU, I think expecting a return of Iron Man in the MCU is not out of hand at all. Honestly, Phase 4 seems like a hollow closet without our Avengers. Don’t blame us if we’re reading too much (or not).
The Mysterious Glowing Figure: A Variant of Captain Marvel?
In the later part of the trailer, there’s a glimpse of a mysterious glowing figure through the tears in the universe. This could actually be a variant of Captain Marvel from another reality, where the batten of Captain Marvel was taken up by Monica Rambeau.
This variant is also seen attacking Wanda. Considering the variant is Monica, this seems to be another rematch from WandaVision. Monica’s powers are not to be underestimated at all, so this promises to be a tough fight.
What did Wanda mean in the trailer?
One of the most discussed lines in the trailer was that of Wanda: ‘You break the rules, and become the hero. I do it and I become the enemy. That doesn’t seem fair.’
There is a lot of speculation as to what she means when she says so, but one thing is clear: Wanda is not going to be a simple ally for Stephen Strange in the movie. She seems to be having a grey shade to her and her conversation with Strange makes it more prominent.
The trailer also shows Wanda returning to her and Vision’s home, despite it being destructed at the end of WandaVision, the series.
Though Wanda was not in the correct state of mind after the loss of Vision, there’s no denying that she controlled the minds of an entire town and caused unbelievable pain to a number of people. So, it is not exactly unreasonable for her victims to consider her an enemy.
Now, it may be that Scarlet Witch is not referring to only Strange’s debacle of a spell when she says ‘you break the rules and become the hero.’ Strange’s actions may have had even worse consequences which we do not know of, yet.
However, considering she is only talking about breaking the rule of tampering with the timeline, Strange’s actions did doom the entire universe and messed up timelines and yet none considers him a villain.
In fact, there is also the glimpse of Strange looking at his own statue which could be in the future or in another timeline, but indicates that he would always be a hero. In that sense, Wanda’s point stands.
A Glimpse of Christine Palmer’s Wedding
Towards the beginning, the trailer shows a glimpse of Dr. Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams) who plays Strange’s colleague and love interest, getting married to someone other than Strange. The wedding is interrupted by America Chavez and Strange fighting a multiversal monster.
Christine seems to have moved on from Strange, but we are not sure if this is the same reality or if there are multiple Palmers as well. There may be, which could be causing further multiversal trouble for Strange.
The Fall of Kamar-Taj
There are shots of the fall of the magical Kamar-Taj in the trailer as well, most probably under an attack of the dark forces. In one shot, there is a black cloud dooming over Kamar-Taj as well.
The home of the Master of the Mystic Arts seems to be in danger and it does not seem like the sorcerers are winning the battle. It is here that we also see Rintrah preparing for the attack on Kamar Taj.
The Door to the Multiverse of the MCU is Finally Open
Last but not the least, this is the first time the opening of the multiverse was clearly spelt out and confirmed. Till now, it was indicated and implied, with the series Loki giving us a brief glimpse into its working.
But Doctor Strange 2 promises to offer a more elaborate explanation of how it all happened and declares that the multiverse is now open and that it is possible to travel through multiverses and there are various timelines.
So, this changes a lot of things and opens up a lot of potential storylines including the return of dead Avengers or other familiar faces. The trailer already promises a lot of literal madness and spark. But most importantly, the brilliantly cut trailer was reminiscent of the past glory of the MCU, which many of us have grown up with and still hold so close to our hearts.
About Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is the sequel to the 2016 movie Doctor Strange. The film is directed by Sam Raimi with a screenplay by Jade Bartlett and Michael Waldron.
It stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange, alongside Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Xochitl Gomez.
The sequel revolves around the dangerous consequences of Doctor Strange opening the multiverse.