While the Marvel Cinematic Universe isn’t 100 percent equal to its comic book counterpart, the MCU does take a lot of its storylines from its source material. In the MCU, we are deep in the Doctor Strange rabbit hole. After Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it seems like he’s taking on a role akin to Iron Man, as the de facto leader of the Avengers.
Whenever a hero has a problem, such as Thor or Spider-Man, they end up going to Doctor Strange for assistance. Even in the new film, Doctor Strange is the go-to hero to defeat big bad Scarlet Witch, with America Chavez a.k.a. Ms. America under his tutelage. Is all of this leading up to Doctor Strange’s death? The final issue of the Doctor Strange comic books is called The Death of Doctor Strange, but does he die in the MCU?
Doctor Strange dies in the Marvel comic books.
Through myriad comic book issues, Doctor Strange is clearly one of the most important figures in all of Marvel canon. From his time learning the mystic arts under the Ancient One to joining the Avengers all the way through the incursions, to World War Hulk, and even to becoming Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange lives one of the fullest Marvel lives there is. But in the fall of 2021, Marvel released its final Doctor Strange issue: The Death of Doctor Strange.
This means that yes, Doctor Strange does die in the Marvel comics. And unlike many superhero deaths, his death appears to be final. Basically, Doctor Strange opens the door to his old enemy, Kaecilius (played by Mads Mikkelsen in the Doctor Strange films), who kills Doctor Strange with a digger. While a simulacrum Strange appears and temporarily resurrects Doctor Strange using a regenerative healing spell, Death still chooses to reclaim Stephen’s soul.
So, Doctor Strange dies at last in the comic books. But before he goes, he realizes that Clea, his estranged ex-wife, was his one true love. While Clea doesn’t exist in the MCU, Rachel McAdams’ character, Christine Palmer, doesn’t seem to exist in the comic books. When Doctor Strange dies, he makes Clea the new Sorcerer Supreme. Perhaps in the MCU, Christine will take the Supreme reign.
In the MCU, Doctor Strange may not be far from death.
Although he doesn’t die in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, we may not be far off from Doctor Strange's death. The characters from Marvel’s earlier movies are slowly getting phased out. From Iron Man’s death to Captain America’s retirement, Avengers: Endgame ended the Marvel run for several of the initial Avengers. While Doctor Strange is the latest Avenger introduced in the MCU’s Phase Three, he still feels very much like a part of Marvel’s early days.
Doctor Strange is clearly the branch between our more traditional heroes of Marvel’s Phase One and the multiverse. Now that we’re deeply in the multiverse though, we might be ready to move on from Doctor Strange. Do we still need him?
As the MCU introduces new characters who are taking on the mantles of their predecessors, such as She-Hulk, Kate Bishop’s Hawkeye, Yelena’s Black Widow, Jane Foster’s Mighty Thor, Sam Wilson’s Captain America, and more, it seems only fitting for Doctor Strange to be the next on the chopping block. Does he die in the MCU? Not yet, but eventually he’ll have to bite the dust in order to make room for new multiversal heroes.