Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has hit theaters worldwide, and audiences were finally able to jump through multiple realities with veteran and novice Avengers Doctor Strange and America Chavez as they tried to escape Scarlet Witch’s wrath. The movie has plenty of developments over the course of its runtime, but one of the biggest is its post-credits scene. It’s a tease that no doubt left many audiences worldwide scratching their heads.
Warning - The rest of this article contains spoilers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Don’t feel embarrassed to be a part of that group. The tag did seem hastily put together and threw a completely unknown character at viewers without giving much time for them to process what was going on.
While Charlize Theron’s appearance might seem like only a simple character introduction, it’s her words that mean everything: “You caused an incursion, and we’re gonna fix it.” Those words just might lead to Avengers 5.
Clea's Urgent Matter
First, let’s recap what exactly happens in those closing moments of Multiverse of Madness.
After the fancy animated credits come to a close, audiences are brought back to New York City, where Doctor Strange is, once again, strolling down the street. Instead of getting overwhelmed by his third eye, like in the final seconds of the film, Benedict Cumberbatch’s hero receives a visitor.
Out of nowhere, Charlize Theron appears as Clea (to read up on who she is, make sure to check this article out). She pulls out a blade, likely made of dark dimension energy, cuts a hole out of thin air to the aforementioned destination, and then informs the sorcerer that he triggered an incursion, a mistake she intends on fixing.
Given what Reed Richards stated earlier in the movie, an incursion is no laughing matter. In fact, it’s a word that almost certainly leads to the next Avengers: Endgame level event—whether it be the fifth entry in the franchise or further down the road.
But what is that event? Well, none other than Secret Wars.
The Fateful Incursions
The term ‘incursion’ is directly connected to the massive multiverse spanning (or destroying) comic book event in 2015.
While there are other Secret Wars titled events, given the name-drop of ‘incursions,’ signs heavily point towards Jonathan Hickman's 2015 comic book run being the one Marvel will pull inspiration from the most.
That comic book storyline follows incursions happening across the Multiverse as they steadily speed up the end of all existence. Thanks to a contradiction in the Multiverse’s timeline, universes become misaligned, and alternate Earths become the impact point for the two realities stuck within the phenomenon—once they collide, both universes cease to exist.
As the story progresses, more and more circumstances start to stack, and the incursions start to snowball as everything gets worse. So bad in fact that, eventually, all universes cease to exist.
This is when Doctor Doom, of all people, ends up saving the entirety of existence by creating a patchwork world consisting of bits and pieces of multiple realities interwoven into one place: Battleworld.
Adding Clea to the Mix
So is Secret Wars truly right around the corner, and are fans seeing Avengers 5 start to form right before their very eyes? It sure seems like it. But what does this mean for the MCU directly?
Well, the first observation to make is how, in the comics, Clea has absolutely nothing to do with the incursions happening in Secret Wars as the Multiverse comes to an end. Her addition to the fold would be an entirely original MCU inclusion—though that’s nothing new for Marvel Studios.
It’s also worth noting that Clea opens a doorway to the Dark Dimension, a place not seen since the first Doctor Strange film. What’s also important about this is how it is specifically not another universe. It’s a dimension. While it’s never been clarified if every reality has its own set of dimensions (Quantum, Dark, Negative, etc.), one would assume that they do—or at the very least, each dimension connects to only a certain number of universes.
All of this to say that when Charlize Theron mentions how Doctor Strange “caused an incursion,” chances are she means the highly destructive event is directly relative to the MCU-Prime, and not a random place Strange fell through with Chavez. This means that Universe-616 is potentially about to cease to exist.
What Is Strange’s Next Step?
So what does this all mean for now? For one, Strange is theoretically going to get a much better idea of what an Incursion is and how it works. Though, it would be great if discoveries like that were seen on screen and not off it.
In the comics, the first group of people to learn about the incursions were the Illuminati—something that lines up well with Multiverse of Madness. Once Strange gets up close and personal with the reality-ending events, there’s a good chance he may start rounding up his own group of secretive super-powered individuals to take on the task of protecting 616 from whatever is bringing about the end of the Multiverse. So, the likelihood that fans have seen the end of the Illuminati is slim to none.
Multiverse of Madness' post-credits scene, and the previous mentions of incursions, are likely akin to what the appearance of the Space Stone in the early MCU films was to Infinity War. Secret Wars, if the project does in fact happen, is probably still years away.
But that long set-up will make the actual event all the more impactful when it arrives.
The idea of a massive Secret Wars project, potentially being Avengers 5, has been the subject of rumors for a long while now. Ever since Loki broke open the Multiverse and He Who Remains spoke of a Multiversal war that would end everything, fans suspected Hickman’s massive event to be Marvel’s next target.
While many of the details will likely be different, much like Avengers: Infinity War was, the creatives behind the MCU are undoubtedly taking care to pull as much from the original material as possible.
Interestingly enough, Kang the Conqueror, the big time-traveling, reality-hopping villain, who has been teased to become the next Thanos, is never involved in the 2015 comic storyline. So will he be dispatched by then? Will Jonathan Majors' character end up becoming an integral part of Marvel Studios’ adaptation? Fingers crossed he doesn’t replace Victor Von Doom.
Given how successful the Multiverse has been for its stories, Marvel Studios will undoubtedly want to play around with it a lot more before they start threatening to wipe it out entirely. After all, with Secret Wars, comes endless possibilities for future cameos.
Hopefully, the Russo Brothers will live up to the whispers and end up directing the big event—it would certainly be a safe choice by Marvel.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now playing in theaters worldwide.