By now – and especially because of the end credit teaser from the end of Spider-Man No Way Home – the internet is buzzing about the new, full-length Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness trailer.
Before 2020 and the film’s production being put on hold due to Covid, we had a sense of what would be happening with this movie.
In 2019, Kevin Feige, with then director Scott Derrickson, promoted the Benedict Cumberbatch-led sequel as a horror film that would somehow keep a PG-13 rating. Feige further assured the audience “that they would like it.”
Fast forward to 2022, and the film not only has a new director in Sam Raimi, but it’s also gone through a number of reshoots after a reported test screening didn’t go very well.
Raimi, as recently as just last month during an interview with Variety, has even said himself that the product they have isn’t even finished and more reshoots could be incoming.
Trailer: The Good
From the looks of it, the trailer is hinting at a lot of fan service, including tie-ins with What If..? and WandaVision – a sign that Marvel at least has some sense of consistency with its latest TV endeavors.
In it, we see such developments as the reintroduction of Wanda Maximoff after the events of WandaVision, the first appearance of America Chavez, and a Baron Mordo with longer hair.
The trailer shows that, sure enough, the Doctor Strange sequel looks to be something of a genuine horror-type film, even despite its reported PG-13 rating.
It also looks like they’re going to make Wanda a genuine villain for this film, with one moment showing her covered in blood fighting against someone with powers similar to Captain Marvel.
It seems like Benedict Cumberbatch won’t be a side player in his own movie, either, as he’ll have to answer for a number of his decisions after they’re put under a microscope.
In essence, we’ll get a story of his trials in trying to mend a broken reality, possibly with Strange and his allies weaving in and out of the other realities hinted at in the trailer.
Further, the film will also reportedly feature the introduction of Marvel’s Illuminati, whose membership will apparently include – as hinted by the actor’s brief voice over cameo and the slightest a peek at the back of his bald head – Patrick Stewart’s Professor Xavier.
First introduced in 2005’s New Avengers Vol. 1 #7 as a shadowy collective made-up of representatives from Marvel’s main ‘factions’, the group consisted of Professor X (X-Men), Iron Man (The Avengers), Namor (Atlantis), Black Bolt (Inhumans) and Reed Richards (The Fantastic Four), and initially met with the intention of sharing information amongst themselves – particularly regarding alien threats – for the good of Earth.
Trailer: The Bad
However, that’s not to say that there aren’t more than a few moments in the trailer that are a bit concerning.
One, as seen in the film’s first teaser, concerns Wanda not facing any consequences for her actions in WandaVision. It looks like her actions in the Disney Plus series will continue to be unchecked by Strange.
Instead of holding her accountable, it feels like Strange and Wanda will brush aside the entire Westview incident – including her forced brainwashing and kidnapping of thousands of people – as just something that happened, putting it behind them in order to address some new threat that needs more attention.
Now, while the threat looks to be Wanda herself, or at least a corrupted version, there is another line in the trailer that throws up more red flags.
“When you [Strange] does something, you are deemed a hero,” says the Scarlet Witch. “If I do the same thing, I am an enemy.”
This might be a direct line of reasoning for her actions in Wandavision, but it also might indicate what she will be doing in the film itself.
Taking into consideration both this line and other shots seen in the film’s trailers and tv spots, we may see see a version of Wanda completely unhinged and on a rampage of sorts, hellbent onripping realities to shreds in relentless pursuit of something – presumably her children.
And, of course, there’s the addition of America Chavez.
It’s not so much the prospect of a new character from the comics being introduced to the MCU that raises more red flags for the film, but more the fact that it’s a recent character whose appearances never really sold in the volumes compared to other characters we have yet to see on screen.
Namor, The New Warriors, Excalibur, Mojoverse, Baldur the Brave, Mephisto, Death, Dracula, even the original android Human Torch from the publisher’s early days as Timely Comics – the list of established characters passed over in favor of Marvel’s latest diversity push could go on and on.
In fact, even Ms. Marvel is getting a solo project before all of them. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Snowflake and Safespace in the film at this point.
Reddit: The Leaks
Last month, a lengthy spoiler for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was posted to Reddit, and with the release of this new trailer, a number of its claims have seemingly been confirmed.
We see the Ultron bots/the Iron Legion taking Strange to the Illuminati, at which point we also get the appearance of Professor Xavier. In the TV spot, we see there is a Defender Strange variant is with America Chavez, defending her from some otherworldly threats.
There is a clip after of the same version of Strange, almost lifeless, with several wounds on his head being transported through one of Chavez’s portals.
We’re also shown Wanda facing off against a version of herself in one of WandaVision’s mock-sitcom sets.
One is covered in blood, looking indifferent to the situation. The other is seated on the floor, looking sad. This could very well be a corrupted Wanda, whose mind was taken over by the Darkhold.
The marriage ceremony with Christine Palmer also seems accurate. Unfortunately, this is the only scene with this version of Palmer
The other versions will show up later, if the leaks are to be believed. Which brings us to the remainder of this supposed leaked plot.
The Unconfirmed Parts
As noted above, the film appears to be giving us the full Illuminati, but according to the Reddit leaks, minus Namor and Black Panther.
Instead, the group’s roster will reportedly consist of “Patrick Stewart’s Professor X, Ian McKellan’s Magneto, Variant BlackBolt reprised by Anson Mount from the Inhumans, Teyonah Parris – Monica Rambeau as Captain Marvel, Hayley Atwell’s Captain Carter, Eric Bana’s Bruce Banner, Ioan Gruffudd’s Mister Fantastic, Tom Cruise’s Iron Man, A variant Mordo who is Sorcerer Supreme, and Bruce Campbell playing Balder the Brave – Thor’s half brother in another universe.”
It’s a full roster of folks. And now that we’re getting hints at Patrick Stewart reprising his role as Professor Xavier, I don’t think it’s out of the question to start considering the other names in this leak as too far out of the question either.
These include such cameos as John Krasinski and Emily Blunt as Reed Richards and Sue Storm, Wesley Snipes as Blade, Thomas Jane as Punisher, the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and even the Runaways. We’ll also reportedly see the X-Men roster from the Days of Future Past and Apocalypse films as well as Deadpool minus the foul language.
No only are these all fever-dream cameos that fans have long hoped for, but the film ends with all of these multiverses collapsed into one, thus bringing these franchises into the main MCU.
However, a frustrating aspect of this leak is the unceremonious way that some of the characters, after just brief cameos, are killed.
We get Jessica Alba and a mute CGI rendition of Michael Chiklis’ Thing, but only for a brief moment before they’re quickly done away with by Wanda.
Scarlet Witch even manages to turn members of the X-Men against each other. James Marsden’s Cyclops and Halle Berry’s Ororo both blast each other with their respective powers, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine gets blown away by Famke Jensen’s Phoenix powers, and Wanda wipes away both Xavier and her “father” Magneto as they try to reach her.
Remember Disappointment: The Shows
There are a lot of promising things in this leak. Even as I watched the trailer, my expectations started to soar once I saw that bald head and heard Stewar’s iconic voice.
But I had to remind myself that I also had a number of similar expectations that for all of the Disney Plus series, many of which were dashed for nothing more than cheap jokes or preaching.
When Evan Peters showed up on Wandavision, I was excited for the first hint of a shared Marvel multiverse, only for the Quicksilver actor’s cameo to, in the end, amount to nothing more than a boner joke.
Then Falcon and the Winter Soldier teased an action-packed show, only to become a sympathy lesson for terrorists and a lecture about racial politics. And in Loki, I watched a villiain become a sniveling simp in his own show.
Remembering Disappointment: The Movies
Additionally, recent movies haven’t been stellar achievements either.
Black Widow had the potential to be a great action-spy thriller, but instead amounted to another of Marvel’s lackluster sendoffs for their legacy characters.
Shang-Chi is no longer the master of Kung-Fu, because his sister is better, and the ten rings of the comics have been turned into bracelets featuring powers completely unrelated to its source material.
To top it all off: across the board, reviews of Eternals were abysmal. And that’s putting it nicely.
The only good thing produced from Marvel since Avengers: Endgame was Spider-Man: No Way Home, and that only did so well because Sony did most of the leg work.
Now we’re entering film era 2022. There’s a lot red flags in Marvel Phase 4 so far.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is set up to focus on newly introduced characters whose numerous comic runs ended in quick cancellations.
If the leaks continue to prove true, we are going to see more integration of those previous franchise iterations – listed as ‘Legacy’ films and shows on the Disney Plus app – into the MCU.
But as we’ve seen in the shows and movies, that doesn’t necessarily mean good things for fans.
We would like the characters we knew and loved from those films of yesteryear to have the same substance and presence to the plot as did Tobey and Andrew did for Spider-Man: No Way Home – important to the events of the film, and actively contributing to greater chunks of the movie.
Let’s have these cameo characters breathe a bit, and don’t be so hasty to kill them off and stain the floor with them in service of promoting newer, more ‘diverse’ characters such as Chavez or Khan, as the actual, competent heroes.
In the end, all we can do is hope that such a switcheroo doesn’t happen and the film’s Easter Egg- and memberberry-heavy marketing isn’t just another instance of Disney jangling shiny keys to pull in audiences.
When Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness finally hits theaters, only then we’ll know for sure.
What do you make of these leaks, rumors, and theories surrounding Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness? Let us know in the comments down below or lets talk about it on social media!