Attentive viewers of the Super Bowl were delighted to see the second trailer for "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" on February 13. After "Spider-Man: No Way Home", expectations for Stephen Strange's second solo appearance are correspondingly high. Because here – as the title already reveals – the multiverse opened in the "Loki" series, is spun further and treated in more detail. Find out what you need to know about the upcoming MCU movie about Doctor Strange and what is already known about the plot, the cast and the production in our latest KinoCheck Original.
The Storyline so far
Let's first discuss the plot of "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness", which is why we will first start with the plot of the first movie from 2016. Of course, we must point out at this point that there is a high risk of spoilers for those who haven't seen the first part. In addition, we will also go into events of "WandaVision" later, here again will be a high risk of spoilers. Dr. Stephen Strange starts out as an extremely gifted neurosurgeon with a huge ego who doesn't hide his talent from other people. However, a tragic car accident causes him to lose control of his proverbial magic hands, and despite the help of his then-girlfriend Christine Palmer and the investment of his life savings in an experimental treatment, his condition barely improves. Prompted by the story of Jonathan Pangborn – a former paraplegic who was able to walk again after a visit to Kamar-Taj – Strange travels to Kathmandu. There he meets the wizard Mordo and is eventually introduced to the Elder. She is the supreme sorceress and head of the Kamar-Taj and her unusually long life is a great mystery. Through her, the extremely skeptical Stephen Strange learns about the so-called astral dimension and other dimensions. She also tells him that the Earth is protected by three temples of the sorcerer Agamotto, one of which is the Sanctum Sanctorum in New York City. The plan of the main antagonist Kaecilius during the movie is to destroy the three Sanctums in New York, London and Hong Kong, so that the Earth is pulled into the Dark Dimension, where no time exists, and everyone can live forever. By traveling to the Dark Dimension, Strange convinces the powerful being Dormammu to leave earth alone through a clever move – not without first banishing Kaecilius and his team to the Dark Dimension. By using the time pendant, however, Strange has broken certain rules and angered wizard Mordo. The latter cannot approve of the way the world was saved from the Dark Dimension. Mordo eventually turns his back on the other wizards, and in a post-credit scene you can see him attacking Pangborn and draining his power. So now you should know exactly what happened in the first movie again, before we turn to the potential villains and characters of the sequel.
Cast and speculations
First, let's get to the potential antagonists of the second movie. One of the most exciting characters besides the Doctor is of course Wanda Maximoff, played here as in the series by Elizabeth Olsen. As Olsen already revealed in an interview, she only learned about the story of "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" two weeks before the end of "WandaVision". In any case, it's essential to have seen "WandaVision" before seeing "Doctor Strange 2". If you look at the post-credit scene of the very first MCU series, for example, you can see her studying the extremely dangerous Darkhold, which is also featured in the new "Doctor Strange" trailer. This is a possible sign that she will mutate into an antagonist over the course of the events of "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness". So, it seems likely that thanks to the Darkhold, we will see both, the good side of Wanda and the evil side of the Scarlet Witch. Another possibility would be Wanda from another universe who could make life difficult for both Doctor Strange and the real Wanda. Either way, Scarlet Witch is still likely to become a serious problem. In connection with the Darkhold, we also think it's likely that Mephisto could make an appearance in Doctor Strange 2. In the comics, Mephisto is an extra-dimensional demon who rules over a blazing hot dimension that he himself calls Hell. Since the Darkhold originated in Hell and was also created from dark matter, Mephisto's involvement in a potential Scarlet Witch appearance is obvious. However, we think it is extremely unlikely that he will be the main villain. As mentioned at the beginning, Mordo, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, is of course at the top of the list of potential villains. His motives are clear: He sees the wizards who don't match his vision as dangerous because they are far too powerful and don't shy away from crossing borders. At the latest, the events from "Spider-Man: No Way Home" should have been the straw that broke the camel's back, because Doctor Strange's failed spell embodies exactly what Mordo would like to prevent. However, it must also be said that despite his antipathies towards Strange, Mordo is not a villain per se. Sure, he'd do anything to stop wizards who are too powerful in his eyes, but he's not quite a completely bad guy. On the other hand, it's also conceivable that Mordo has his own agenda in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness", for example, that he primarily wants to fight the out-of-control Scarlet Witch and that the hunt for Strange is only secondary. We will only be able to see more details in the finished movie anyway. Third, not surprisingly, is the evil Doctor Strange as the main villain. This character, also called "Sinister Strange", is Stephen's counterpart from another dimension and already played a prominent role in both trailers. He probably won't remain the only version of Doctor Strange, because a closer look at the trailer reveals several versions of Strange coming together through the multiverse. But it's just as conceivable that the various "Stranges" will join forces to contain the chaos that's been created, or even take on a much bigger villain. Last but not least, the tentacle monster Gargantos should be mentioned. In the comics, this is a sea monster and an enemy of "Black Panther 2" antagonist Namor. Since Gargantos has already appeared in both trailers and, as seen in the "What If" series, doesn't really pose much of a threat, we're not assuming a truly relevant villain here. Sure, he will be dangerous to Doctor Strange at one moment or another but will probably be dealt with by the protagonist during the movie.
These characters are expected
As already seen in the second trailer, we will not only be able to welcome Wanda Maximoff as a newcomer. There is for example, an appearance of Sir Patrick Stewart as Professor X, as you can tell from his unmistakable voice. If you've been paying close attention, you'll have noticed that Captain Marvel will also make an appearance in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness". However, it is not the well-known Carol Danvers played by Brie Larson, but Monica Rambeau. She is played by Teyonah Parris and is the daughter of Carol's best friend. Rambeau already had her first appearance in "WandaVision" where it becomes clear that she is Captain Marvel from another universe and has already gained experience as a superhero there. The storyline is in line with the Marvel comics, where Rambeau succeeds Danvers in her role as Captain Marvel. In the trailer, she can be seen fighting Wanda. So it remains exciting to see how big the role of the new Captain Marvel will be. Of course, there are several other characters who will make an appearance in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness". Among others, Benedict Wong as Wong, Rachel McAdams as Christine Palmer, Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez as well as Michael Stuhlbarg as Nicodemus West.
The Illuminati Theory
Now we would like to introduce you to another theory that has been circulating for some time and that many Marvel fans wish would come true. In the comics, there exists a gathering called the Illuminati. This is originally a seven-member secret society that has some popular characters from the Marvel universe as members. Each representative represents a certain grouping. Included are Iron Man for the Avengers, Mister Fantastic for the Fantastic Four, Namor for Atlantis, Black Bolt for the Inhumans, Professor X for the X-Men, T'Challa for Wakanda and Doctor Strange for the Mages. So with the appearance of Professor X, speculation is mounting that the Illuminati will show up to hold Strange accountable for his missteps. It would be a fan dream without question, however, as we've known since a leak from August 2021, the MCU version of the Illuminati could consist of Professor X, Captain Carter, Balder the Brave, Monica Rambeau and Mordo. This lineup would of course fit perfectly with the story of "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness", but there is also another theory. According to this, we will get to see none other than Tom Cruise in the role of Iron Man. This theory is particularly piquant, as Cruise was originally slated for the role before Robert Downey Jr. got it. In the upcoming "Doctor Strange" sequel, for example, we would then be dealing with an evil Iron Man from another multiverse, similar to the Sinister Strange we see in the trailer. Proponents of this theory see themselves confirmed especially by the Ultron-like robots that lead the bound Strange up a staircase. In addition, supporters of this theory want to have seen not Monica Rambeau as Captain Marvel, but Tom Cruise in the armor of Superior Iron Man in the very brief scene with the fiery figure. However, there are also powerful arguments against Cruise's appearance. One of them is the fact that due to his standing in Hollywood, Tom Cruise almost never subordinates himself to other leading actors. Since it is quite unlikely that this evil Iron Man version would take a very big role, this is also a strong argument against the "Mission Impossible" star.
Fortunately, production on the "Doctor Strange" sequel has long since been completed. For a long time, it was questionable who exactly would have the honor of taking a seat in the director's chair after Scott Derrickson left the project in early 2020. After he retired to the post of executive producer, "Spider-Man" director and horror icon Sam Raimi took over as director. Filming finally started in London at the end of 2020, while the theatrical release will not be in mid-2021 as originally planned due to the pandemic, but only on May 06, 2022.