What To Watch Before Seeing Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness

After two years of delays due to a change in directors and COVID-19, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is finally set to hit theaters on May 6, 2022. The film is directed by Sam Raimi and stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, Rachael McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Xochitl Gomez. The movie’s plot has been kept hidden for a while, but the basic premise is that Doctor Strange, with the help of old friends and new allies like the multiverse-hopping teenager America Chavez, will traverse the multiverse to face a mysterious new threat.

The film is the 28th installment in the MCU, and with the franchise adding Disney + series to the mix recently, that is a lot of material to watch. Luckily, the MCU has been very good at making stand-alone films where you do not have to watch every entry in the franchise to enjoy just one, and the references and Easter eggs are more a reward than a chore. That being said, it’s fun to be in the know about the inner workings of the MCU when watching one of its films, because it makes the audience feel like they are part of a shared cultural moment. To prepare for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madnesshere is everything you should watch to get ready.

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Doctor Strange

The hero’s origin story is always a good place to start, and even though the character has stayed in the public consciousness by appearing in other characters’ movies, it has been almost six whole years since the release of Doctor Strange. The film shows the character’s origin and also introduces other major characters who are set to return in the sequel like Wong, Baron Mordo, and Christine Palmer.

Related: Doctor Strange: Why It’s The Most Underrated MCU Origin Film

The other major thing of note is that the first reference to the multiverse of the MCU is in the film when The Ancient One shows the constant threats and worlds that the sorcerers protect reality from. The line “who are you in this vast multiverse” appears to be the overriding thematic point of the sequel, as Doctor Strange will be confronted by other incarnations of himself, and what will make the MCU version stand apart.

Avengers Infinity War / Avengers Endgame

While two separate movies, both Doctor Strange and Wanda are large elements of Avengers: Infinity War and both are blipped by the end of the film, so they do not factor into Avengers: Endgame until the very end. Doctor Strange is a major role in Avengers: Infinity War, as he warns Tony Stark of Thanos. Doctor Strange looks into the future and sees the only way to beat Thanos is to give him the stone, paying off in Avengers: Endgame when Tony sacrifices himself by using the Gauntlet. Avengers: Endgame also gives audiences a glimpse at the power the sorcerers have as they use their skills to open portals across the galaxy to transport heroes to fight Thanos and his army. By the end of the film, Doctor Strange has gone from his isolated solo film adventure to being a major member of the MCU, having connections to various heroes.


For Wanda, Avengers: Infinity War sees her having to sacrifice Vision to save the universe, only for it all to mean nothing as Thanos uses the time stone to still retrieve the soul stone from Vision, and she must watch him die twice. When she returns in Avengers: Endgame, audiences get just a glimpse of her power, where she almost single-handedly destroys Thanos on her own. The movie ends with Wanda feeling alone, setting the stage for her next adventure in the MCU.

Loki

The third Disney + series to be released, Loki technically would be the first in a re-watch order following Avengers: Endgame, as the series follows the Loki from 2012 who escaped during The Avenger’s failed time heist. Loki is the series that really digs into the concept of the multiverse for the first time in the MCU. The series introduces the concept of variants through different versions of Loki including Sylvie, Old Loki, Kid Loki, and Gator Loki.


Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness trailers and merchandise have already showcased a few different variants of Doctor Strange. Both Loki and the upcoming Doctor Strange film are written by Michael Waldron, so there is expected to be a fair share of overlap between the two projects. By the end of the series, the one sacred timeline (the MCU) is shattered with the death of He Who Remains and various branched realities splinter off, setting the stage for madness.

WandaVision

After years of being a supporting character, Wanda Maximoff finally takes center stage in her own series WandaVison, which was the start of Phase 4 of the MCU and the very first Disney + series Marvel Studios produced. The series focuses on Wanda and Vision living a happy life in the town of Westview, New Jersey, all through the lens of various sitcom styles throughout television history. Yet the viewers and other MCU characters are left to wonder how this is possible when Vision is dead.


WandaVision is arguably the most vital piece to watch before Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madnessas Strange appears to find Wanda in the same remote cabin that the after credit moment of WandaVision found the character reading the Darkhold, the book of the dammed that may be a major part of the upcoming film.

Related: Doctor Strange: His Best Comic Book Villains, Ranked

WandaVision fleshes out Wanda’s backstory which was spoken about in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but here the audience gets to see various points in Wanda’s life, like how her parents died, how she acquired her powers, and eventually how she becomes the Scarlet Witch, who is prophesied to destroy the world. The series also introduces Wanda’s twin sons Billy and Tommy, who have been glimpsed in the trailer for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madnessand seem to be Wanda’s main motivation in the film.

What If …?

With the various branching timelines spinning out of Loki, What If …? takes the viewers through some of them and shows classic MCU stories but how one minor change can alter the course of events. The series is a good first exposure to various parts of the multiverse for audiences, providing something that is both familiar and different. The first season consisted of nine episodes with various storylines, but the most important ones for the upcoming film are likely episode one (“What If … Captain Carter Were the First Avenger?”), Episode four (“What If … Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands? “), And episode five (” What If … Zombies ?! “).

Episode one introduces Captain Carter, a super-powered version of Peggy Carter who in her timeline becomes a super soldier instead of Steve Rogers. The latest television spot for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness seems to confirm Captain Carter will appear in the film. Episode four showcases a Doctor Strange who turns evil, absorbing life forms for their power to save somebody he loves and in doing so destroys his universe, and while it seems that the Sinister Strange variant shown in the film’s trailer is different from the animated series, the episode provides audiences with exactly what could happen if someone as powerful as Doctor Strange lost their way. Episode five is straightforward, as it is an adaptation of Marvel Zombiesand the trailers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness seem to indicate a zombie version of both Wanda Maximoff and Doctor Strange appearing in the film, which may confirm some opinions that this is the MCU’s first horror movie.

Spider-Man: No Way Home

The highest-grossing movie of 2021 and one of the highest-grossing films of all time, it is a safe bet to assume somebody going to see Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has seen Spider-Man: No Way Home; if not, they need to. The film is the final important piece in the build-up to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Doctor Strange appears as a supporting character in the film and in an attempt to help Peter end up fracturing the multiverse, with various realities coming through.

While What If …? clearly established a multiverse that is like the MCU, Spider-Man: No Way Home makes both prior cinematic incarnations of Spider-Man, the Tobey Maguire-led trilogy and the Andrew Garfield Amazing Spider-Man films, as part of the MCU multiverse. This lays the groundwork for all past Marvel adaptations that are not in the MCU to be in some way canon through the multiverse, which Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness appears to confirm with the appearance of Patrick Stewart as Professor X, after having played the character in the 20th Century Fox X-Men movies. This opens the door for the multiverse to feature any number of past Marvel characters.

Spider-Man: No Way Homecoupled with the events of Loki spirit What If …? show a multiverse that is bleeding out and fracturing at the seams, setting the stage for the events of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.


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