The second Marvel movie to hit theaters in 2022 is the long-awaited Doctor Strange in the multiverse of madness. The wizard was last seen in Spider-Man: No Way Home, where he played a crucial role in both causing and helping the main problem Spider-Man faces. No way home built on the concept of Multiverse, which had already been introduced in WandaVision, Loki, and What if…?, and (re) introduced quite a few faces that longtime Spider-Man fans recognized.
That Multiverse of madness will showcase a much more dangerous side of the Multiverse than what has been seen so far. Anyone who saw Eternal in the cinemas got the first glimpse at the multiverse of madness, as the teaser was shown during the second post-credit sequence. Now released, the teaser shows that Strange will ask for help from other Marvel stars, including Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch. While the Multiverse continues to party, it’s impossible to know what Marvel has up its sleeve next time.
No way home was plagued by rumors of special cameos for several months before release. The multiverse of madness is no different, but its rumors are not rooted in the nostalgic appearances of previous adaptations of Doctor Strange, but rather other Marvel Comics projects. The latest rumor suggests that Black Bolt (played by Anson Mount) will show up in the multiverse of madness as head of the Illuminati. Of course, No way home has given many hopes that there are plenty of other characters who will make their debut within MCU in Doctor Strange successor.
Given No way home inclusion of Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield and Charlie Cox, previous projects of no importance to the MCU have now been made canon. This gives enough weight to the rumors suggesting other characters from Fox’s X men movie, Fantastic four, Deadpool, Sonys Ghost Rider, and the previous adaptations of The amazing Hulk will arrive. There are also plenty of rumors about appearances of characters from pre-existing Marvel projects, including those from WandaVision, What if…?, Loki, and former stars of Doctor Strange.
It is likely that some of these rumored characters will appear in the multiverse of madness, as WandaVision ended up with Wanda hearing her kids yelling at her. Therefore, the rumors that Billy and Tommy may show up actually have some significance. Other things WandaVision characters that Monica Rambeau would have little to give to the multiverse of madness except to prepare people for The Marvels. From Loki, only Loki and maybe Sylvie should show up as they are the only ones fully aware of the Multiverse. What if…? Evil Doctor Strange (or Strange Supreme) has already been seen inside the multiverse of madness’ teaser, but guy What if…? stars, Watcher and Captain Carter are also largely unnecessary.
As for rumors surrounding the various X-Men characters (including Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, Halle Berry’s Storm, Patrick Stewart’s Professor X, Ian McKellen’s Magneto and James Marsden’s Cyclops), Marvel has previously expressed interest in bringing some of these characters in, and while the Multiverse makes their introduction more hassle-free, it can take away from the plot of Doctor Strange successor. Unlike Maguire and Garfield’s appearances in No way home, X-Men has no chance of spurring any growth in Strange, as the former Spider-Man actors did for Tom Holland’s character.
The same argument could be made for rumors of Eric Bana and Edward Norton’s versions of the Hulk, Nicholas Cage’s Ghost Rider, Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool, Tom Roth’s Emil Blonsky or Ioan Gruffudd’s Mr. Fantastic (or John Krasinski’s fancast version of the hero)). Without any personal impact on Doctor Strange, the only way any of these cameos can be effective if used in a way similar to Cox’s Matt Murdock in No way home. It was subtle and gave just enough to excite those who were already familiar with his character and fascinate those who have not seen the Netflix series before.
No way home seems to have made many Marvel fans happy, inspiring rumors that, while exciting, are far out. Any surprising appearances the multiverse of madness should be critical of MCU’s future, whether it’s in the character itself or the internal change they inspire in the film’s name character. No way home managed to offer a bit of both between Cox, Garfield and Maguire’s performances as the latter two affected Holland mentally and emotionally. On the other hand, Cox influenced the future of the MCU based solely on his appearance and what his return may consist of in the future.
The multiverse of madness certainly has many options because it centers on the multiverse. But just because something is possible, does not mean it has to happen (or at least not so fast). Marvel has already begun introducing promising components for its future, including Dark Avengers, Young Avengers, as well as other heroes and villains, who are likely to play a major role in the future. The multiverse of madness‘focus should remain with Doctor Strange, his supporting role, and continue to develop Olsen’s Scarlet WitchWandaVision. Any cameos that seem to accomplish something else may be better suited for post-credits.
Doctor Strange in the multiverse of madness premieres in theaters on May 4, 2022.
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