Benedict Cumberbatch Rocks a Ponytail In New Doctor Strange 2 Image

By Richard Nebens Posted:
Doctor Strange, Defender Strange

Now that Marvel Studios' 2021 content slate is officially complete, fans are looking forward to another round of movies and streaming shows joining the MCU in the next 12 months. While none of the Disney+ shows have set release dates yet, fans have May 6 circled on their calendars due to the release of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the franchise's 28th movie.

Marvel delivered a first look at the jam-packed sequel in the second post-credits scene in Spider-Man: No Way Home, giving a tease of just how much intense action Doctor Strange, Wanda Maximoff, and more will have to face this Spring. Part of that action will include an evil Variant of Doctor Strange that told the MCU's prime Strange that "things just got out of hand," giving an altered live-action take of what happened in the animated What If...? series.

More recently, a new line of action figures teased a second Variant of the master magician called "Defender Strange," who was also seen for a split second falling through the Multiverse in the movie's first trailer. Now, new packaging has confirmed where it comes from along with more details about the character.

Defender Strange Gives Benedict Cumberbatch a Ponytail

The official packaging for a new Marvel Legends figurine showed the "Defender Strange" character from Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

The photo shows Benedict Cumberbatch's new take on the magical magician donning red-and-black threads that appear to be much more fortified than his usual Kamar-Taj robes. Cumberbatch also sports a long ponytail along with two white streaks running through his hair and a slightly altered facial hair design without the goatee.

Doctor Strange Ponytail Variant

This version of Strange was seen in the first trailer for Multiverse of Madness falling through what is likely a star portal created by Xochitl Gomez's America Chavez. A blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment from the trailer, fans can see the white streaks going all the way through Strange's hair and shows how long the ponytail is as he falls. 

Doctor Strange 2 trailer

Also included on the packaging is a description of Strange as the planet's "foremost magical defender:"

"Doctor Strange is earth's foremost magical defender, safeguarding our dimension against supernatural threats from across the multiverse."

A Strange Hairdo for a Strange Variant

If 2021 has taught Marvel fans anything, it's that Variants are real and that they're coming in force throughout Phase 4. Loki first teased the concept with wild alternate versions of the God of Mischief like President Loki and Alligator Loki, and fans are still celebrating Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield's Spider-Man Variants that stole the show in Spider-Man: No Way Home.

What Marvel plans to do with the third Doctor Strange arriving in Multiverse of Madness is a mystery, although the title and look both point to some ties back to a similar look of Doctor Strange's from the comics.

The "Defender" title points back to Strange's time in the comics as a member of the Defenders team, where he joined forces with characters like the Hulk and Valkyrie. Whether that exact story comes to fruition on the big screen is still unclear, but Marvel certainly has unlimited options for where they could go thanks to the Multiverse playing a central role in the sorcerer's sequel.

As for the ponytail specifically, this is likely to help further differentiate this Strange from the other two Doctors already shown in the trailer as they all sport different hairstyles. Fans are already leaning into this theory for some of Wanda Maximoff's looks as well with this movie looking to potentially bring in even more Marvel Variants than those that have seen screen time already.

No matter what the details confirm in the movie's full cut, fans can expect to see various unique takes on the MCU's classic characters all fighting to keep the Multiverse from falling apart.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is set to debut in theaters on May 6, 2022.

- About The Author: Richard Nebens
Richard Nebens joined The Direct in March 2020, now serving as the site's Senior Writer and also working as an assistant editor and content creator. He started his journalism career as a hobby in 2019 and is passionate about sharing news and stories from the entertainment industry, especially comic book movies, comedy, and sci-fi. Richard looks to expand his knowledge about movies and TV every day, and he is eager to stay locked into the latest releases and breaking news at every opportunity.