It doesn't take a sorcerer to figure out that Marvel Studios' Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was a smash hit! The MCU film hit theaters on May 6 and went on to gross over $900 million at the worldwide box office. Living up to its name, the movie saw the titular Master of the Mystic Arts, Dr. Strange, travel the Multiverse to obtain the Book of Vishanti as a means to stop a rogue Wanda Maximoff.
In one standout sequence from the film, Strange and teenage protégé America Chavez tumble through several different parallel realities, each based around a different overlying concept. There was an old-timey black-and-white world where HYDRA was in power and one where everything was made of paint. The pair eventually made it to Earth-838 and faced off against the Illuminati, setting the events of the rest of the plot in motion.
But what about all those other corners of the MCU Multiverse that Strange and Chavez fell through? Were there any hidden details to be found?
A Multiversal Iron Man Easter Egg
Speaking to Cinematography World, members of Framestore, the visual and special effects studio that worked on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, offered behind-the-scenes details on the scene mentioned above in which Dr. Strange and America Chavez haphazardly fly through twenty different alternate universes.
It's during this VFX-heavy sequence that a universe can be glimpsed that features Stark Industries drones set against a background that invokes the "Superior Iron Man" run from the comics. In that storyline, Tony Stark loses sight of his morals as a hero and takes a villainous turn.
These drones appear to be identical to the BARF technology, which was seen most prominently in 2019's Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Fans will no doubt recall when Quentin Beck used this tech for his acts of terrorism at the end of that 2019 sequel.
Additionally, the Framestore team described the development of the Mutiversal tumble scene to be "no mean feat."
“20 unique individual worlds over the course of 40 seconds is no mean feat. We wanted to get an early start, so we began by creating a previs of each world. Once the client had approved, we started gathering and creating any development we needed to construct them. This was done by working on a purely previs environment in collaboration with the animation team, to get a general feel for the shots and the different worlds we could be moving through.”
The team also spoke on some of the other interesting worlds that flew by, including one where everything looked like it was printed in the pages of a comic book:
“Comic book world is one of my favourites in the finished sequence but it was very tricky to produce,” continues Chandler. “We had to come up with a way of projecting cartoon drawn lines and reflections into our CG cartoon world environments, sketching moving shadows and drawing in building details and on moving vehicles window reflections.”
A "Superior Iron Man" World?
Of course, audiences know and love Tony Stark as the wisecracking, tech-savvy hero who sacrificed his own life to stop the Mad Titan Thanos. But could Doctor Strange 2 have teased a version of Earth where Tony became the bad guy?
It certainly seems that way, given the sleek, white aesthetic of that world and the technology seen for just a split second. Perhaps its citizens are even kept in line with BARF drones in an authoritarian version of what the Ultron program was originally intended to be?
Now, fans shouldn't necessarily expect to see more from this particular universe, given that it only made a blink-and-you-miss-it appearance. But it also wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility if the concept of Tony Stark breaking bad would be a story for Marvel Studios' What If...? To tell on Disney+.
Marvel Studios' Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is still playing in theaters and will be available to stream on Disney+ starting June 22.