Marvel Explained is our ongoing series where we delve into the latest Marvel shows, movies, trailers, and news stories to divine the franchise’s future. This entry explores Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and considers the unanswered questions dangling beyond its climax. Yes, prepare for SPOILERS.
Resolutions. They’re not really Marvel’s thing. It’s why we love them. The movies or shows might end, but their stories are merely on pause until their next appearance in the next thing, whatever it may be.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness left us hanging with a lot of concern. We have questions, and they’re eating us up inside. We got to get them out, even if that means several will probably be left dangling for years, if not infinity. Getting comfortable with the unknowable is necessary and probably good practice for real-life outside the 616 universe.
So, let’s not beat around the bush this week. Let’s dive in with these ten questions left unanswered by Sam Raimi‘s gnarly trip across the multiverse.
Is Wanda dead in Doctor Strange 2?
Sure looks like it. After coming face-to-face with her terrified children from Earth-838, our Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) brings the Darkhold temple atop Wundagore Mountain down upon her head. If you or I were in her position, we’d be pancaked. Wanda, however, is the Scarlet Witch. She can rewrite reality with the flick of her wrist.
After her supposed destruction, we witness at least one Darkhold from another universe evaporate. Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) explains to those in the cheap seats that Wanda caused their destruction across every universe. How? By busting one Wundagore Mountain in one realm? There had to be a secondary action, meaning there’s no way she’s dead. This brings us immediately to a more important question:
Is Wanda redeemable?
Many people are no longer walking around Earth-616 or Earth-838 because of Wanda. In her rage, she popped heads, electrocuted sorcerers, sliced super soldiers in half, cracked Professor X’s neck, and more. Could the Marvel audience ever look at her the same way if Wanda were to reappear? Short answer, probably not. Long answer, maybe.
Wanda is right in telling Stephen that how people respond to her versus him is not fair. He made a choice in Avengers: Endgame that may have been the only one, but as Michael Stuhlbarg‘s Doctor West reveals early on in the film, people still perished. When America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) stole from Pizza Poppa (Bruce Campbell), Stephen cursed him to three weeks of smashing himself in the face. That’s some serious trauma his tiny character will most likely carry with him for the rest of his life. Stephen behaved more than just a jerk at that moment. He was a right bastard.
We also must consider that Wanda was acting under the influence of the Darkhold just as Agatha Harkness had done before her in WandaVision. We and her world will remember the deaths she caused in Doctor Strange 2, but there is a possible narrative where she pulls herself from the Wundagore wreckage and begins a path toward redemption. One that will hopefully carry her synthezoid husband as well.
Where is the ‘WandaVision’ White Vision?
We discovered during WandaVision‘s climax that S.W.O.R.D. resurrected Vision after Thanos ripped the Mind Stone from his head in Avengers: Infinity War. Yes, he was a tad emotionless, but the other Vision born from Wanda’s grief managed to unlock critical data buried within the old Vision. With access to these memories, the revived Vision is probably struggling to understand his relationship to humanity, especially to the woman he once loved. His absence in Doctor Strange 2 felt blatant.
What would the Darkhold Wanda have done if confronted with the new-and-not-so-improved Vision? We need Wanda to be alive so that we can see this tragic reunion occur. Hell, it would be incredible if we got a second WandaVision season with these two broken characters. They deserve healing, and Disney+ should give it to them.
Who is Clea?
During the first end-credits scene, Stephen Strange is interrupted on the street by a purple-glazed Charlize Theron. She’s never named, but Clea does get a moniker in the cast list.
The character first appeared in Strange Tales #125, by Marvel masters Steve Ditko and Stan Lee. She’s been an on-again/off-again love interest for Stephen Strange ever since. They were even briefly married, and when Stephen perished during the recent Death of Doctor Strange event, Clea took over his solo title as the new Sorcerer Supreme.
When she appears before Stephen, Clea tells him that he caused an Incursion, but they can fix it together. She then tears through reality, exposing the Dark Dimension, the realm where Stephen battled Dormammu in the first Doctor Strange. This horrendous dimension is where Clea hails from, and she is, in fact, the niece of that big-headed baddie.
The real question becomes, how will jumping into the Dark Dimension help fix an Incursion? Although, can we even assume that the Dark Dimension we see at the end of The Multiverse of Madness is the 616 Dark Dimension? No, we cannot. We can only wait and see where and when these two sorcerers turn up next.
Can Stephen Strange control the Darkhold?
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness concludes with Stephen Strange writhing in pain as the Darkhold shivers through his being. As he’s screaming, a third eye pops open in his forehead, but he seems totally in control by the mid-credits sequence. What makes him so special? Why can he withstand the Darkhold’s influence when Wanda and Agatha Harkness could not. Again, it doesn’t seem fair.
Of course, we shouldn’t assume that Stephen has everything under control. As he enters the Dark Dimension with Clea, he could be deeply troubled by his interaction with the Darkhold, and Dormammu could use that to his advantage. If he is unaffected by the Book of the Damned, we will be standing next to Wanda, continuing to condemn life as unfair. Yeah, we will.
Does the 616 have an Illuminati?
So, those 838 Illuminati members were not as hot as they thought they were, allowing Wanda to eradicate them in a matter of a few minutes. Bummer. As awesome as it was to see John Krasinski appear as Reed Richards or Anson Mount as Black Bolt, or Patrick Stewart as Professor X, it was equally disappointing as each got popped off by the Scarlet Witch. While they were super concerned with saving the Multiverse from catastrophic Incursions, they never considered their inevitable mortality.
It makes us wonder, does our Earth-616 have room for such a group, and would we be impressed by them if they ever appeared? The name “Illuminati” lost a lot of cred in Doctor Strange 2. It will be hard to reclaim any semblance of badassery going forward. Maybe we should stick with idolizing Avengers.
Will John Krasinski return as Reed Richards in the Fantastic Four movie?
Rumors and desires swirling around John Krasinski’s possible casting as the Fantastic Four’s team patriarch have circulated for years. Finally, it was a delight to see those whispers solidify into an MCU reality, even if it wasn’t our prime reality. But just because he’s onscreen in The Multiverse of Madness doesn’t mean he’ll be on screen in the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot.
There is currently no official word regarding John Krasinski’s Marvelous future. He could be a Variant a la Richard Grant in Loki. We could still get Rahul Kohli as the Mister Fantastic who occupies Earth-616. Anyone is possible at this point.
Was that the last time we’ll see Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier?
Now, while we could handle John Krasinski dipping out as Reed Richards, we could not handle Patrick Stewart making his first and last stop in the MCU in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Sir Professor X deserves more than a cameo and a snapped neck.
The Mutants are coming. The X-Men will be a thing in the MCU soon. Patrick Stewart doesn’t necessarily need to be the 616 Charles Xavier, but our last memory of him can not be his blunt demise, as hilariously subversive as it was. Logan gave Stewart a proper send-off, but this cheap trick demands a response. Give him as much screentime in another Multiverse tale but don’t make it a savage sacrifice.
What about the 616 Baron Mordo?
Our Baron Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is still brooding after his Doctor Strange departure. He’s out there somewhere in the 616 universe, and he’s still looking to erase every sorcerer from the planet. If he were to hop from his reality to another, he could probably find like-minded individuals who share his face. The 838 Mordo in Multiverse of Madness certainly seems to have it out for our Stephen Strange now. Time for a team-up. We need the showdown Scott Derrickson promised us.
Will America Chavez find her parents after Doctor Strange 2?
America Chavez seems fairly content at the end of the film. She’s hanging out with the sorcerers at Kamar-Taj, learning the ways of the Sling Ring. What about her folks, though? Now that Stephen pep-talked her into controlling her Multiversal-hopping powers, she better get on the hunt for her parents.
The Disney+ shows have slowly assembled potential Young Avengers members. We’ve met Wanda’s kids, the future Wiccan and Speed, in WandaVision. We cheered alongside Kate Bishop as she stole Hawkeye away from Clint Barton. In The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, we witnessed Eli, Isaiah Bradley’s grandson, champion his family’s contribution to the Super Soldier program. And we’re weeks away from our first Ms. Marvel encounter.
The new teen superhero team is nearly ready. America Chavez can’t leave 616 to find her folks. Or, if she does, she’s gotta do it between projects cuz we need here right where she is. Gettin’ skilled on Kamar-Taj, ready to reveal herself as the next heavy hitter in the MCU.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now playing in theaters.