Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness broke the mold in more than one way for the MCU upon its May 6 release. Not only did it give Benedict Cumberbatch his long-awaited second solo movie, but it also tied directly into the events of WandaVision on Disney+ while expanding the MCU's barriers with the introduction of the Multiverse.
As has been the case over the MCU's entire history, there have been a number of films that do more than others in terms of setting up the future - think Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War. Now, as Phase 4 moves toward the back half of its second year in motion, Doctor Strange 2 seems to firmly fall into that same category.
Incredibly, this Multiversal sequel actually left some pathways open to future plotlines, becoming a key cog in the MCU's magical and Multiversal future for years to come. It seemed only natural in a film that included multiple dimensions, three future Young Avengers, the MCU's first official mutant, and a member of the Fantastic Four.
So what projects were influenced by the release of Doctor Strange 2 as the MCU looks past its 14th year of existence? As it turns out, there are 10 of them, which will all be explained ahead.
Doctor Strange 3
With Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness being Benedict Cumberbatch's second solo movie, it's only natural that it would set up a potential Doctor Strange 3. While the phrase "Doctor Strange will return" came on the screen after the credits, there are no signs pointing to when that third movie will arrive, but there are some thrilling stories that it will look to tackle.
Following prime Stephen Strange's exploration of the Darkhold in his battle against the Scarlet Witch, he was unwillingly imbued with a Third Eye directly in the center of his forehead, leaving him screaming outside the Sanctum Sanctorum. This could be a physical representation of the Eye of Agamotto, although there are still countless questions about what the eye can do and how it will help Strange become even more powerful.
On top of that, the master magician found himself standing in front of Charlize Theron's Clea in the mid-credits scene, finally coming face-to-face with his most notable love interest from the comics. Even more intriguing is that her uncle is none other than Dormammu, who rules over the Dark Dimension, and she appears to be taking Strange back there for something more than just another bargain.
However the third Doctor Strange solo movie comes together, Multiverse of Madness set the stage for yet another wild adventure.
Scarlet Witch Solo Project
While Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch seemingly died on Mount Wundagore in Doctor Strange 2, there's no way to definitively count her out for a future in the MCU. As the classic theory goes - if you can't see a body, they're not definitively dead.
Additionally, a rumor from March 2022 hinted that Marvel was developing some kind of Scarlet Witch solo project, which would be her first one after supporting roles and cameos in seven previous entries. Even though WandaVision largely served as a solo story on Disney+, this would be the first time the character has ever led her own entry on the big screen.
The first order of business would be to bring Wanda back from her apparent death, which wouldn't be too difficult considering she's arguably the most powerful character in the entire MCU. Once that happens, there are plenty of available avenues for where to take the former Avenger on her return to power.
America Chavez Solo Project
Behind Doctor Strange and Wanda Maximoff, Xochitl Gomez's America Chavez made her full debut in Doctor Strange 2, jumping through the Multiverse and learning about her incredible powers. This movie gave fans a taste of her origin story as she found out what she could do, and by the end of the film, she unleashed her full might against Wanda to bring her back from the brink of pure evil.
America was last seen training to be a sorcerer at Kamar-Taj under Strange and Wong, hilariously struggling to produce her first sparks even though she can jump through realities with little to no trouble. She solidified her friendship with Strange after an incredible journey together, and fans saw the first signs of a character who could be the star of her own solo story.
That solo story may also be coming sooner rather than later, as a rumor from Geeks WorldWide in 2019 revealed that Marvel was developing a Disney+ show for Miss America. There were also teases for a standalone America Chavez movie at some point, and it seems inevitable that Gomez will bring her newcomer back for another thrill ride down the road.
The best part? This is far from the only rumored project that would include Xochitl Gomez's future Young Avenger.
Young Avengers Project
Looking at the direction that Phase 4 is taking, there is no doubt from anybody that the Young Avengers are coming. It's only a matter of when and where.
Doctor Strange 2 specifically included three likely members of the team in Xochitl Gomez's America Chavez Jett Klyne's Tommy Maximoff, and Julian Hilliard's Billy Maximoff. The three didn't interact together much on screen in this movie, but that trio is sure to be one to pay attention to following their appearance here.
Not only do these three seem destined to take on more responsibilities as Young Avengers in the future, but the actors behind them also have all thought about the team already. In exclusive interviews with The Direct, Jett Klyne shared his dream roster for the MCU's Young Avengers while Julian Hilliard expressed his desire to see the team come together.
It seems like only a matter of time until the Young Avengers eventually assemble either on the small screen or in theaters within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Fans were shocked to learn that Marvel Studios intends to revive the beloved animated X-Men series, as the studio announced plans for X-Men '97 to come to Disney+ during Disney+ Day 2021. While the series may still be a ways away from actually coming to the small screen, fans got their first hint of its existence in the MCU thanks to Doctor Strange 2.
When Patrick Stewart's Professor Charles Xavier showed up to complete the Illuminati dais on Earth-838, viewers recognized a certain musical theme playing in the background as he rolled into place. After the film was released on Disney+, the subtitles confirmed that music was the theme from the X-Men '97 show, seemingly indicating that Stewart played that version of Professor X from the animated sphere.
At the moment, there are absolutely no signs pointing to what kind of story Marvel Studios will deliver with X-Men '97, although there is a chance it could become canon with the MCU. That chance was made even more real with Doctor Strange 2's Easter egg, and even though Stewart's hero met a gruesome end, the stage is set for the mutants to finally take their place amongst Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
Marvel Studios' Fantastic Four is arguably one of the most anticipated MCU projects on the docket for the foreseeable future following the studio's acquisition of Marvel's First Family. That excitement went to new levels after seeing John Krasinski's take on Reed Richards, as Mister Fantastic showed up alongside the rest of the Illuminati on Earth-838.
Even though this version of Krasinski's hero turned into human spaghetti thanks to Wanda's magic, the former star of The Office is heavily rumored to be in the running to play the MCU's prime Reed Richards in Fantastic Four. Thankfully, the use of the Multiverse means there is more than one version of the Fantastic Four, and Earth-616 will have its own version to tackle in the upcoming solo movie.
Right now, Marvel Studios is looking once again for a director, and Krasinski's return as Reed Richards in Fantastic Four hasn't been confirmed yet. Even so, the stage is set for this iconic team to make their presence felt after seeing the first member of Marvel's First Family in Doctor Strange 2.
Avengers 5/Secret Wars
Avengers: Endgame changed the course of the MCU forever after the Avengers assembled to defeat Thanos, which also brought an apparent end to Tony Stark, Captain America, and Black Widow. While Avengers 5 has only been discussed fleetingly, especially since it likely won't make its way into theaters for some time, Doctor Strange 2 may have just set up one of the MCU's biggest events to tackle in that film - Secret Wars.
In the comics, Secret Wars shows what happens when a number of universes collide with one another due to events called Incursions, destroying one or both worlds entirely. Sound familiar? It should, as Reed Richards specifically spoke about this happening in the MCU's Multiverse, and Clea told Strange directly that he caused an Incursion before whisking him off to the Dark Dimension.
While no other details are set into stone yet, these two plot points almost definitively indicate that Marvel Studios wants to bring Secret Wars onto the big screen, which could come in a fifth Avengers movie. It will also likely include the MCU's take on Doctor Doom, who has already been teased on other occasions, as he becomes a key player in the Secret Wars plot.
It will be some time until things get insane enough within the MCU to see that happen, but it was Doctor Strange 2 that set that idea in motion with the Multiverse devolving into complete chaos.
You're probably looking at this list and wondering "How in the world does Doctor Strange 2 set up She-Hulk?" Well, the answer to that question is an important player to remember in these proceedings - Benedict Wong's Wong.
In March 2022, the actor behind the Sorcerer Supreme was surprisingly confirmed to be part of the cast of Tatiana Maslany's She-Hulk, the big green lawyer's first time appearing within the MCU. Wong was last seen trying to hold off Wanda Maximoff's impending reign of terror in Doctor Strange 2, and he's now back to his normal post at Kamar-Taj training a new batch of sorcerers for future battles.
How Wong actually plays in She-Hulk's story is anybody's guess, but it does help that he has previous connections with both the Hulk and the Abomination through Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Benedict Wong is becoming one of the MCU's most connected players as he moves into his fourth appearance in Phase 4 alone, although this one is certainly the most unexpected.
What If...? Season 2
One of the earliest confirmed members of the Illuminati in Doctor Strange 2 was Hayley Atwell's Captain Carter, a character that first appeared in a leading role in Season 1 of What If...? on Disney+. Even though she suffered a truly gruesome fate in the Multiversal sequel when Wanda seemingly chopped her in half, it teased that Peggy is still a key player in the MCU's Multiversal story.
What If...? Season 2 has been confirmed to be in the works for some time, and it's expected to release before the end of the year on Disney+. Additionally, Disney and Marvel revealed that Captain Carter would be one of the show's main characters for multiple seasons to come, meaning that Atwell will unquestionably be back in the not-too-distant future.
Doctor Strange 2 only included Captain Carter for a few minutes as she passed judgment on Doctor Strange and jumped into battle with Wanda, leaving her journey for What If...? Season 2 still in the dark.
Thankfully Atwell wants to revisit this character soon, and it shouldn't be too long before more details emerge on that front - hopefully with her using that new jetpack she sported on the big screen.
Agatha: House of Harkness
Doctor Strange 2 heavily featured a couple of major players from WandaVision in Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch and the Darkhold, otherwise known as The Book of the Damned. The Disney+ series put both of them into featured roles as Wanda Maximoff moved toward her villainous path, and behind it all - it was Agatha all along.
Agatha is even set to have her own solo series in Agatha: House of Harkness, which could be directly influenced by what came to pass in Doctor Strange 2. The show could explain more of the Darkhold's history should it be a prequel, and there's a good chance that it ties heavily into the Scarlet Witch's story after their first encounter in 2021's WandaVision.
Kathryn Hahn's villain was even included in promotional material for Doctor Strange 2, hinting that there are more ties between her and that movie's characters than people know about at this moment. These will be something big to follow once House of Harkness moves further into development, and one can only hope that there are more musical numbers to help dive into that history.
The MCU Continues To Expand
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now available to stream on Disney+. Which show or movie do you think ties the most into Doctor Strange 2? Which character or team are you most excited to see following this movie? Let us know at @MCU_Direct, @TheDirect, and @RichardNebens.