Marvel Studios has done a heck of a job of highlighting some of the comic book giant's lesser known intellectual properties. Who would have thought that Ant-Man, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Scarlet Witch, and Doctor Strange would become some of the most beloved characters in the MCU? Yet here we are, and Benedict Cumberbatch's Sorcerer Supreme has been heavily featured in not just his own standalone film, but Infinity War, Endgame, and Spider-Man: No Way Home.
And now he's got a new villain to tackle on his own in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. The film, directed by Sam Raimi, is set to arrive on My 6, 2022.
Who is the villain in 'Multiverse of Madness?'
No Way Home seriously upped the ante for the MCU and was probably the first truly ginormous cinematic event that captivated viewers since the culmination of the Infinity War Saga in Avengers: Endgame.
It's been pretty difficult for the studio to recapture the magic of watching Thanos getting snapped into nothingness by Robert Downey Jr., who retired as Iron Man after sacrificing his life to save the known universe.
The man who was privy to how everything was going to go down? Doctor Strange. He looked into over 14 million different scenarios to find the one outcome that would result in a "victory" over Thanos, and that's the one the team of heroes had to follow in order to best the Mad Titan.
There's a very strong case to be made that the snarky Sorcerer is easily the strongest hero in the MCU, which means that he's going to need a significant threat in his second standalone flick to make for a compelling flick.
So who is going to be the big bad villain in Multiverse of Madness? Well, hold on to your butts because it's going to be a doozy, and probably the kind of big kick in the butt that the MCU's going to need to get fans in the theaters. Even though Black Widow has been killing it on streaming, and Shang-Chi and Eternals pulled in solid numbers (for COVID), they're not what Marvel's used to making on their flicks.
Heck, even the much maligned Captain Marvel, pre-pandemic, managed to rake in over a billion dollars, but if the leaks according to a Redditor who's proven right in the past are correct, then there are probably going to be a lot of people who are excited to see Doctor Strange square off against another ridiculously powerful Avenger: Wanda.
Yes, that's right, Scarlet Witch.
Scarlet Witch may be the main villain in 'Multiverse of Madness.'
Tying in the genre and reality-bending events of the popular Disney Plus series WandaVision, Wanda is distraught, unwilling to reconcile the fact that she lost the love of her life and the children she had with him in the reality that she created.
The leak states that Wanda is scouring multiple universes to find her children and kills a lot of people in the process, including Doctor Strange.
But since this is a multiverse we're dealing with, there are different "variants" of the heroes we've grown to know and love, including evil versions of them, like Mordo (another Sorcerer Supreme). Hero America Chavez is making her debut in the film and rumor has it that another Captain Marvel (Monica Rambeau) will also be in Multiverse of Madness. Wanda is supposedly going to fight these heroes in Doctor Strange 2, but we don't know if they are killed or not.
Other Marvel characters who are purported to appear in the film is the monster Shuma-Gorath, a large, one-eyed ancient space demon that has a ton of supernatural powers. It's said that Shuma will attack New York City early on in the film, following Chavez who takes the dead body of Strange from another dimension to the timeline with the Strange we all know and love (let's call him Strange Prime).
Strange Prime and Wong defeat Shuma-Gorath and try to get to the bottom of all the craziness that's going on, and they come to find out that Wanda's at the center of all of it.
Apparently, Wanda is able to finally get to her children but all of the multiverse crossing and evil-doing has made her look like a monstrous version of herself that they recoil when they see her.
Is there a connection between 'Multiverse of Madness' and 'Marvel's What If...?'
Possibly! According to the fan theory. In the rumored plot of the film, the fights have taken a toll on Strange as well, who becomes "corrupted" in the process; a third eye opens in the middle of his forehead signifying a type of transformation. Does Wanda die in the film? Probably not, but she does seem to "come to her senses" after the madness. But does this mean Doctor Strange will become a villain now? Or is the evil Strange the one who wins out?
The animated Disney Plus series asks, "What if...Doctor Strange lost his heart instead of his hands?" Strange Supreme ends up taking over the good part of Strange's persona, resulting in the "evil" Doctor Strange winning out. Multiverse of Madness could be queuing up a "heel turn" for Doctor Strange in the MCU, or at the very least, play out parts of this What If...? scenario.