Spoiler warning: This article contains spoilers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness starts with a bang and doesn’t stop. Along the way, major reveals about Doctor Strange, the multiverse, and the fate of the MCU unravel in the movie. The adventure through the multiverse appears to end but it’s really just the beginning of the next major sequence in the franchise. The concept of incursions revealed in the movie hint at the coming of Secret Wars.
The movie also reveals key elements about the character of Doctor Strange and the Scarlet Witch. Both make mistakes, some worse than others, and both confront the truth about who they are. Doctor Strange always has to hold the knife and the Scarlet Witch never lets anything go. Those realizations open and close doors to the characters that may have major consequences for the MCU. In the near term, they reveal the power and limits of Marvel’s heaviest hitters when it comes to fighting the Scarlet Witch.
Doctor Strange’s ego often gets ahead of him, but in this movie, that idea crystallizes in a powerful metaphor. “You always have to have the knife,” Christine tells him at her wedding, a dose of reality that reveals a lot about his character.
Doctor Strange thinks he’s the smartest and most capable but he doesn’t necessarily trust others to do the big thing. In the new movie, he trusts America Chavez to find her power and purpose and help defeat the Scarlet Witch.
All the talk of nightmares in the trailers spurred some speculation that Nightmare, a powerful Doctor Strange villain, might appear in the movie. But the movie offers something even more interesting, revealing that dreams and nightmares are actually windows to other universes.
This concept establishes a major aspect of the multiverse of the MCU. If dreams do in fact represent portals to the multiverse, then perhaps telepathic characters like Professor X or Jean Grey could communicate with them while dreaming.
The movie reveals that when characters leave their universes for another one, they create incursions. This term likely sparks some speculation from Marvel Comics fans. Incursions from other universes played a key role in the Secret Wars crossover.
Secret Wars remains one of the best Marvel Comics events and likely influences where the MCU is heading. The greater multiverse collapses in the comics into one reality, Battleworld, and that could happen as incursions pile up in future movies.
The Scarlet Witch displays extraordinary will and determination throughout the MCU. She overcomes setback after setback but the movie reveals she succumbs to the lure of the Darkhold. The powerful magic of the ancient tome finally overwhelms her.
She fails to heed Agatha Harkness’ warning about the prophecy of the Scarlet Witch and in the process causes much more damage than she did in Westview. She destroys Kamar-Taj and lays waste to the Illuminati in Earth-838.
Wanda creates her sons, Billy and Tommy Maximoff, from magic in WandaVision. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness reveals that her sons actually exist in other universes, which suggests that the twin brothers have a future in the MCU.
They certainly do if the comics are any indication. Billy and Tommy play a prominent role in the Young Avengers, a team that includes America Chavez as well as Kate Bishop, and might be coming together in live-action.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness proves once and for all the Scarlet Witch only defeats herself. No character matches Wanda in power, a theory she brutally confirmed in her murder of the entire Illuminati council.
Even America Chavez fails to outright defeat Wanda, despite hitting her with multiversal punches. Wanda comes to her senses and appears to destroy herself by bringing down the temple atop Wundagore Mountain on top of her.
The Illuminati from Earth-838 represents the best and brightest. Exceptional minds like Reed Richards and Professor X sit on the council, but despite their knowledge and experience, they don’t seem to understand major aspects of the broader multiverse.
The Illuminati claims extensive knowledge of the multiverse but doesn’t seem to be aware of Kang tThe Conqueror. That makes little sense with the Sacred Timeline broken. They also fail to take Wanda’s threat seriously and pay the price for it.
Comic book fans know the Illuminati built a reputation for not doing the popular thing. They exiled Hulk to Sakaar and wiped Captain America’s memory. The new movie reveals they killed the Earth-838 Doctor Strange and lied to the world about it.
This likely condemns them in the minds of the audience. Their cold-blooded dispatch of their own member certainly evidences their myopic thinking, which leads to their bloody fate at the hands of the Scarlet Witch in their own sanctum.
Secret Wars gets another hint as a possible future of the MCU in the mid-credits scene. Charlize Theron appears as Clea, the Sorceress Supreme of the Dark Dimension, and Doctor Strange’s love interest in the comics. She warns him he created an incursion.
She says he needs to fix it and then she cuts open a portal to the Dark Dimension. This likely takes them both down a path toward the collision of other universes that may lead to the multiverse collapsing in the future. Clea acts as if she has an idea about how to fix it, but given that she takes him to the realm of Dormammu, Doctor Strange may be going down a darker and darker path.
NEXT: 10 Times Doctor Strange Was A Villain In Marvel Comics