A Beginner's Guide to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Get to know Doctor Strange before his sequel hits theaters.
If the madness of the Multiverse has you a little confused, then you’ve come to the right place. Believe us, we're a little baffled by the power of the Multiverse too. But we’re here to break down everything you need to know before Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits theaters on May 5.
Who is Doctor Strange?
If you’ve seen any of the more-recent Marvel movies (i.e. Avengers: Endgame or Spider-Man: No Way Home) then you’ve at least met Doctor Strange. But his backstory is fully explained in his first movie, Doctor Strange. There’s no need to watch the full movie, if you don’t want to, we’ll just give you the basic plot points.
Doctor Stephen Strange is an actual doctor who was an accomplished surgeon until a car accident damaged his hands. Because he was essentially an egotistical maniac, he decided that he would stop at nothing to get the use of his hands back and restore his career.
This quest led him to Nepal where he met Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme, the Ancient One (the protector of Earth against mythical and magical threats). The Ancient One held the power to heal his hands — as well as teach him magic as long as he stopped being so selfish.
Doctor Strange essentially decides he can learn the magic on his own without the Ancient One’s help and reads all the books he can find. He later masters the Mystic Arts — and even learns some secrets about dark magic that the Ancient One didn’t want to share.
At the end of Doctor Strange, the Ancient One dies and Doctor Strange becomes Earth’s new Master of Mystic Arts (a.k.a. a protector of Earth) — as well as the protector of the Time Stone.
Doctor Strange later teams up with Tony Stark (whom he hates), Spider-Man, and his associate Wong to defeat Thanos, in Avengers: Infinity War. The team find themselves on the planet Titan with the Guardians of the Galaxy as Thanos fights for the Time Stone (while on his quest to retrieve all six Infinity Stones). Doctor Strange looks into the future to see all the possible outcomes of this war and only sees one where the Avengers win.
Doctor Strange is a victim of Thanos’ Snap (where Thanos wiped out half the population instantly) and therefore isn’t a huge part of Endgame, until the final battle where he helped the Avengers defeat Thanos.
During the Blip, Wong took over as Earth's Sorcerer Supreme, since Doctor Strange was gone. Wong remains Sorcerer Supreme.
After Endgame, Doctor Strange helped Peter Parker in Spider-Man: No Way Home to cast a spell to make people forget Peter was Spider-Man. However, the spell backfired and the Multiverse opened — leading to the Spider-Mans played by Toby Maguire and Andrew Garfield, and their enemies, to appear in this realm.
Peter wants to help cure the villains of what turned them evil (a microchip, a serum, a chemical solution, and a lightning strike) before they return to their own timelines — thus preventing their eventual deaths at the hands of their respective Spider-Man.
However, Doctor Strange refuses to help Peter, in fact he’s trying to collect the villains so they can return to their respective realms and die. Peter entraps the sorcerer so that he can round the villains up and try to redeem them without killing them.
In the end, Strange casts a spell to make everyone forget that Peter Parker is Spider-Man (including Doctor Strange himself).
What are Doctor Strange’s Powers?
Doctor Strange has mastered the Mystic Arts (essentially, he’s a sorcerer), which makes him incredibly powerful. He uses spells to create shields to attack and defend, as well as bind his opponents. He also has the power of projection, which lets him send an astral version of himself to observe events and gain knowledge. He can also create portals using his Sling Rings. He even has the Cloak of Levitation, which helps him levitate — the Cloak also has its own personality and acts as another defense mechanism for Strange.
Doctor Strange’s greatest power is the use of the Time Stone. With it, he can see future outcomes, alter time, and trap people in time loops. However, he lost the Time Stone after the events of Avengers: Endgame.
What is Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness About?
Per usual with new Marvel movies, we really don’t know that much about the plot. Based on the trailer (watch it below), we know the door to the Multiverse gets opened (again — but does anyone really remember the time that Peter did it?). Wong says “You opened the door between universes. And we don’t know who or what will walk through it.”
We do know that another version of Doctor Strange (presumably an evil version) enters the picture, and our Doctor Strange will have to fight him. He enlists the help of Wanda Maximoff, Wong, and possibly, his love interest from the first movie, Dr. Chrstine Palmer (Rachel McAdams). There will also be some new faces, like America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez).
That’s about all we know, but we do know that the movie is going to be quite chaotic. It’s called the Multiverse of madness, after all.
Is There Anything Else I Need to Know?
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is another installment in Marvel’s “Phase 4” of releases. However, you don’t need to be caught up on the other Phase 4 series and movies to know what's going on.
Sure, if you want to watch WandaVision to understand the scope of who Wanda is and what she did, that’s great. The basics are that in her grief she manifested a life with Vision and two children, but in the process she placed a Hex to control an entire town. The town was forced to live in a sitcom where Wanda and Vision were the main stars. As S.H.I.E.L.D. tries to take down the Hex, Wanda turns to “chaos magic” and becomes the true Scarlet Witch.
In the end credit scene of WandaVision, we see Wanda studying using her astral form (something that Strange can do). This is presumably where Strange will meet her.
While Wong did make an appearance in Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, it’s unclear if that story will intersect in the new Doctor Strange film.
A Brief History of the Multiverse
If you’re still not sure what the Multiverse is exactly, here’s what we know so far from Loki and Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Basically, the Multiverse is a collection of parallel universes where anything and everything is possible. Loki and Peter Parker have both messed with the Multiverse and found alternate versions of themselves — hence why we know this alternate version of Doctor Strange may be bad news.
In Loki, we learned that if enough doors to the Multiverse are opened and you are introduced to the many versions of yourself, there will be a hierarchy issue. Every version will want to be the only version and a war will ensue. So, if one of your versions is evil (cough, cough Doctor Strange 2.0), then you can only imagine what will happen when they enter your timeline.
The Multiverse is still being explored, and we definitely don’t know everything about it yet. So, the moral of the Multiverse really is just to expect the unexpected.
Watch the Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Trailer Now:
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits theaters on May 5 — you can buy tickets now.