The teaser trailer for the Marvel Studios upcoming film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has already leaked online.
The source of the leak has yet to be confirmed, but it has been making the rounds on social media among fans immediately after the Spider-Man: No Way Home premiere. If reports are accurate, the teaser trailer is one of the two post-credit scenes from the film where Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) plays a key role by attempting to help Spider-Man (Tom Holland) make the world forget his secret identity.
What major character and plot elements were revealed in the leaked trailer for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness? Read on for the breakdown.
Spoiler warning for those who have not seen Spider-Man: No Way Home.
WandaVision connection with old and new faces
The first look at the Sam Raimi-directed MCU film offers some interesting looks and hints at the premise behind exploring the wider MCU multiverse. As Marvel Studios president and chief creative officer Kevin Feige put it:
It's absolutely surreal to be working on a Doctor Strange movie with Sam Raimi in one part of the office...
— ComicBook.com (@ComicBook) July 16, 2021
The teaser begins with some exposition, apparently relating to the repercussions of Spider-Man: No Way Home. Although the multiverse did not collapse, Doctor Strange will have to deal with the ripple effects from that film’s conclusion.
As announced during the setup to Phase Four, Wanda Maximoff aka the Scarlet Witch will play a vital role in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The teaser definitively confirms this, as the opening scenes lead to Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) meeting Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange.
Fans who watched WandaVision know that the newly christened Scarlet Witch went into self-imposed exile after the events of the Disney+ series in order to stay away from the public and to study the grimoire she confiscated after defeating Agatha Harkness.
But one nagging question during and after WandaVision was that why didn’t Doctor Strange do anything, given the magical forces involved, especially with his role as Sorcerer Supreme. The dialogue between Doctor Strange and Wanda does mention Westview (the town Wanda altered with her hex magic), but not much is revealed as to why the former did not confront the latter earlier about the incident.
The teaser also shows other major characters that will be involved. Wong (Benedict Wong) is, of course, back to bring his dry wit and assistance. There is also a quick shot of America Chavez/Miss America (played by Xochitl Gomez) wearing her familiar star-spangled jacket. Rachel McAdams also returns as Christine Palmer. And Baron Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) finally returns, aiming to fulfill his oath at the end of the first Doctor Strange film. The former comrade of Doctor Strange seeks out sorcerers and other practitioners of magic to take their power away, believing they are the biggest threat to reality.
The main villain has appeared already in Marvel’s What If…?
Although the aforementioned Baron Mordo and Gargantos appear to be playing the antagonists in the film, the end of the teaser implies they are not the main villains. The final segment of the teaser reveals this to be an evil variant of Doctor Strange himself.
However, this reveal should not come as a shock to fans who have already watched the first season of the Disney+ animated series What If…? A darker and more sinister Doctor Strange (aka Strange Supreme) was featured in several of the episodes and was pivotal in the final resolution of the multiversal threat that The Watcher needed help with. This version of Strange became obsessed with taking control of all magic in order to save his beloved Christine Palmer, but led to him destroying his own universe.
But is the evil Doctor Strange revealed in the teaser the same Strange Supreme from the animated series? After all, Strange Supreme became a little more stable after absorbing his noble half and dedicated himself to watching over the eternally battling Infinity Ultron and Killmonger.
Or could it be a different multiversal variant of Doctor Strange? Or perhaps it is a Stephen Strange from an alternate future timeline? And although it would be a disappointing turn of events, it could also be just a dream or hallucination of the MCU Doctor Strange. With how Marvel Studios has been throwing curveballs to deflect rumors and speculations, this could still be a possibility.
What wasn’t revealed
Aside from the key fragments and character revelations, the teaser surprisingly did not reveal anything that have already been rumored or speculated prior.
There were indications that the villain behind the overarching threat all would be Shuma-Gorath. But so far Gargantos is the one that has appeared in the teaser. However, this might be a red herring that sets up Gargantos either as a lieutenant of Shuma-Gorath or a random encounter simply due to the multiverse-level event occurring. But if Gargantos is involved, could this mean an appearance of Namor the Sub-Mariner is also going to be in this film leading in to his later inclusion in Wakanda Forever?
Another early suspect was Nightmare. The lord of his otherworldly realm that crosses the dimensions where all beings that sleep go, Nightmare has yet to be represented in the MCU. However, given that the setup for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness appears squarely on the physical plane, it is likely that the Nightmare rumors are off and may be more suited for a third Doctor Strange movie.
And then, of course, there is Agatha Harkness. After the extremely positive fan response to her participation in WandaVision and delightfully devilish portrayal by Kathryn Hahn, the character is already poised to star in her own upcoming series. While the end of WandaVision had left her mentally trapped in a different persona thanks to a spell by the Scarlet Witch, her absence in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness would seem to be a missed opportunity.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Xochitl Gomez. Directed by Sam Raimi and music by Danny Elfman, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness weaves into international theaters on May 6, 2022.