With barely two weeks since its release, Marvel Cinematic Universe’s newest installment, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, is officially a rousing success. Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen reprise their roles as Dr. Stephen Strange and The Scarlet Witch. The unlikely allies battle multiple variants of themselves, allowing viewers to see the actual potency of Wanda Maximoff’s brutal power. Currently, with an 86 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, the highly anticipated sequel has delighted audiences.
Surprisingly, the most significant part of this story may have been the very last scene, which hints at a whole new level of Strange. In the end, Oscar-winning actor Charlize Theron makes a surprise cameo, sporting long white hair and striking purple makeup as Clea, Stephen’s wife. Clea is the great love of Dr. Strange’s life in the comics, and their romance will most likely be a huge plot point and a potential turning point in the long-running franchise. Though her character may be unfamiliar to film viewers, comic book fans were delighted to see these lovebirds reunited.
Multiverse of Madness already takes a departure from previous MCU films by leaning into the violence and gore of battle scenes. This tonal shift, as well as Clea’s inexplicable appearance, could mean even darker things ahead. The brief scene shows Clea enlisting Earth-616’s Strange to help fix an “incursion” he caused due to his reckless multiverse hopping. Although no explanation is given as to why Stephen unquestioningly follows her lead, it may mean there was a prior unseen relationship between the two offscreen.
Clea Strange’s sudden presence in Multiverse of Madness may very well be the beginning of an entirely new era for Stephen and the MCU. After defeating Dormammu, serving as The Sorcerer Supreme, and now having faced The Illuminati, fans can only anticipate Dr. Strange’s next challenge. Before Clea appears on the streets of New York, Stephen grows a literal third eye, symbolic of his advancement and deeper insight into his own abilities and an alarming consequence of using the cursed book of spells known as the Darkhold. Paralleling Wanda’s grief-stricken journey, it’s also possible that his devotion to Clea is what finally spells his doom, just as it did for Wanda.
Multiverse of Madness also shows the strength of Clea’s sorcery when she seamlessly slices through the fabric of existence into the dreaded Dark Dimension. Her mastery may very well be on par with The Scarlet Witch herself, potentially setting audiences up for a chaos magic battle of mystical proportions. Charlize is already known for taking on numerous stunt-heavy roles, including her character in the spy thriller Atomic Blonde, so expect Clea to have some serious moves up her sleeve, magical or not. Although Clea will undoubtedly be a big part of Doctor Strange 3, her presence is an indication that the MCU is entering the next phase. Ultimately, Clea Strange’s cameo signals a new wave of good versus evil entities fighting for even bigger stakes.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now playing in theaters.
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