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1/5/2022 • 4 min read
Hot on the heels of SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME’S groundbreaking box office success — it became the eighth-highest-grossing film of all time — Marvel fans are more ready than ever for the next installment in Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fortunately, we don't have long to wait. DOCTOR STRANGE: IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS will follow the events of the first season of the "Loki" streaming series and pick right up where the new SPIDER-MAN left off. Which is to say that Strange is still meddling with the multiverse.. and paying for it.
The DOCTOR STRANGE sequel hits theatres this spring, and we couldn’t be more excited to see how Strange will wriggle out of his multiverse mess. He'll have the help of Wanda Maximoff (aka Scarlet Witch), Wong (Sorcerer Supreme), and America Chavez. Those are just a few details to whet your appetite — here's everything we know about DOCTOR STRANGE 2, including the latest trailer.
DOCTOR STRANGE: IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS is set to finally release in theaters on May 6.
The first full trailer for DOCTOR STRANGE 2 arrived during Super Bowl LVI. While the first teaser trailer gave us a first look at Strange, Wong, Karl Mordo, Christine Palmer, and Wanda Maximoff, this latest trailer does so much more.
We see beings like Rintrah, a Minotaur-like creature sorcerer, the tentacle creature Gargantos, and at least three versions of Doctor Strange. We see a glimpse of what might be Marvel's dinosaur-infested Savage Land, which leads right into a flash of what looks like old-school TV animation. And as confirmed in a recent TV spot, there's also a powerful cabal called the Illuminati, one member of which seems to be Patrick Stewart's Professor X.
We have to wait to see what cameos will pop up in the new DOCTOR STRANGE, but what we know for certain is that most of the major characters will are played by actors reprising previous roles. Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, and Rachel McAdams will be returning, along with Chiwetel Ejiofor as Stephen’s enemy Karl Mordo, and Michael Stuhlbarg as Nicodemus West – a rival surgeon of Stephen’s from the first film.
This will be in addition to newcomer Xochitl Gomez (THE BABY-SITTERS CLUB), in only her second feature film role, playing new superhero addition America Chavez.
One of the biggest questions about DOCTOR STRANGE 2 is how it will affect the Marvel Cinematic Universe at large. Strange has been positioned as a successor to Tony Stark in that he is becoming one of the most powerful and significant guiding forces — which, as seen in NO WAY HOME, doesn't mean that his decisions and actions are always correct!
But there's another big force at play: America Chavez, known in some stories as Ms. America. (That's her above, seen from behind in the first trailer.) She's been flying through Marvel Comics stories for about a decade, which is more than enough time for her backstory to become… complicated.
Depending on which stories you read, America Chavez is either from a magical dimension outside the realm of the primary Multiverse, or she simply believes that she is, and her true origin is regular old Earth, where she was the subject of research to cure a rare disease.
We can easily see the new DOCTOR STRANGE movie using one or both of these stories. Regardless, America Chavez is incredibly powerful — she's kind of like a combination of Captains America and Marvel. She is strong, fast, can fly… and she can create dimensional portals, which will probably come into play in this movie.
After DOCTOR STRANGE director Scott Derrickson stepped down from helming the sequel in 2020, citing creative differences, Sam Raimi was hired to direct. This was a big deal for fans of the original Tobey Maguire SPIDER-MAN trilogy, as Raimi was the architect behind all three. In the early 2000s, the filmmaker imparted the unique, exciting, gratuitous filmmaking style as seen in his lauded EVIL DEAD trilogy onto this triptych of superhero films. While Marvel Studios did not exist as we know it when Raimi made his movies, the MCU today would probably not exist without Raimi’s SPIDER-MAN trilogy.
While most of the production was done in late 2020 and later in 2021, additional photography took place to do reshoots following the success of NO WAY HOME. Reportedly, that was to integrate more cameos and character introductions into the movie.
It sure does sound like Patric Stewart! That, combined with the news that additional photography has added more characters to this movie, suggests quite a few things. So let's begin with Professor X.
Clearly, DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS has the last Spider-Man movie as a jumping-off point, so we've already seen early versions of different Marvel characters appear in an MCU movie. So it's not wildly impossible that a character from the first-generation cinematic X-Men could appear, too. Furthermore, this new trailer seems to show Strange being escorted to answer for his actions. There's a room with several chairs, one of which seems to be occupied by Patrick Stewart's character. This is the group of world-guiding heroes dubbed the Illuminati.
In a series of Marvel Comics storylines crafted by writer Brian Michael Bendis, the Illuminati was a group of powerful elder heroes who convened to share information and, in some ways, guide the actions of various heroes and teams from the top down.
Members were Namor of Atlantis, Tony Stark, Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four, Black Bolt of the Inhumans, Doctor Strange, and Professor Charles Xavier. We're waiting for Namor to show up in the MCU, while all the rest of these characters have been on big or small screens in some incarnation. (Anson Mount played Black Bolt in the short-lived "Inhumans" TV series.) We might see this panel in MULTIVERSE — and the members might all be from timelines and universes that are different from the core MCU. So the old X-MEN version of Professor X, played by Patrick Stewart, could easily show up.
This has led to eager fan speculation. There are takes that suggest Mordo and Black Panther could be part of the Illuminati panel. (Look closely at the image above, and the seated figure just to Strange's left could easily be Black Panther — though which version of Black Panther we might see is another question entirely.) Some think that Ioan Gruffudd might reprise his role as the early screen version of Reed Richards, leader of the Fantastic Four. Since Tony Stark was a core member of the Illuminati, there's even speculation that Tom Cruise will show up as an alternate version of Stark — the evil Superior Iron Man.
(Some fans even think they see Reed Richards in the movie's new poster — as well as another Fox character expected to show up in the MCU: Deadpool.)
This is all a lot of fun to think about, but also keep in mind that Marvel loves to mislead with trailers and character suggestions. The studio will even digitally remove characters from trailers and/or alter images to obscure some details. We might not know the truth until we actually see the movie.
There will probably be a DOCTOR STRANGE 3! Marvel's business deals and contracts are not made public, but we know a few things. In 2019 the Hollywood Reporter said that Benedict Cumberbatch had one more movie left in his deal, which would "result in [a] sequel" to his first solo movie. But did that also factor in SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME? We don't know!
When asked about doing more movies after IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS, Cumberbatch only said "As long as the character is interesting and challenging and doing fantastic things in the MCU, why not?" We do know that Marvel has been pushing Strange forward, so this seems like a very unlikely time for Cumberbatch to exit the MCU. We would bet on seeing more Strange!
All images courtesy of Marvel Studios.
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