Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness sent shockwaves throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Benedict Cumberbatch's sophomore solo installment reunited the titular hero with Elizabeth Olsen's Wanda Maximoff, debuted Xochitl Gomez's game-changing America Chavez, and journeyed into universes never explored before. Mix in some shock cameos to boot, and Marvel Studios has cooked up another headline-commanding summer blockbuster.
Warning - the rest of this article contains spoilers from Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
As the Scarlet Witch explains in trailer footage, there seems to be a double standard when it comes to Doctor Strange's actions. When the good doctor "breaks the rules," he's seen as a hero, but when Wanda does it, she becomes "the enemy." Just as he did in Avengers: Infinity War and Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange breaks the rules once more in Multiverse of Madness, tapping into the pages of the Darkhold in order to bring an end to Scarlet Witch's reign of terror.
Unlike giving up the Time Stone or instigating the memory spell, this enacted cheat code comes with direct consequences.
While Strange is perusing the New York City streets, he is overcome with terror and collapses to his knees. The sorcerer then jolts up, opening a new third eye on his forehead. The repercussions from his Darkhold usage don't end there, as Strange is confronted by a debuting A-Lister in the film's first post credits scene.
Doctor Strange 2: Who is Clea?
The Sorceress Supreme has arrived.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness sent fans into the scrolling credits with the first Marvel Cinematic Universe appearance of Clea, played by Charlize Theron. The atomic blonde-haired magic user dropped a bombshell on Strange by noting he caused an "incursion," before asking that he join her down the fury road into the Dark Dimension.
Charlize Theron's MCU Debut Explained
While not met with the immediate applause John Krasinski's Reed Richards received, Charlize Theron's Clea has major implications for the Doctor Strange franchise moving forward.
For starters, the journey she's setting Stephen on likely pulls the good doctor away from the MCU for the time being. Moving Strange into a Dark Dimension adventure indicates that the inevitable Doctor Strange 3 will return the franchise to its roots, in that it will probably be a contained magical quest that happens in the shadows of the human world.
As for Clea herself, this is a comic character that wears plenty of hats. On the page, Clea has been Doctor Strange's student, significant other, and even successor. She is the offspring of Prince Orini and Umar, the sister of Dormammu, making her the niece of the Doctor Strange (2016) villain. Unlike the Nebulas and Shang-Chis of the world, Clea does not hate her villainous parents: she embraces it. Clea worships Dormammu and even becomes the Sorcerer Supreme of the Dark Dimension.
Despite her mob ties, Clea is not all evil. As mentioned, she eventually falls in love with Doctor Strange after betraying Dormammu. Without a dimension to call home, Strange would take Clea under his wing in New York City. The good doctor would even teach Clea his mystical ways at the Sanctum Sanctorum, and when he eventually met his end, Clea would take his place as Earth's Sorcerer Supreme. She would even honor her late lover's memory by adopting the Strange surname.
The Marvel Vocabulary Grows
The post-credits implications go beyond the debuting character.
As noted above, Clea claims the events of Multiverse of Madness caused an "incursion." For fans of Marvel comics, this word should pop as much as "Multiverse" or "Avenger." On the page, incursions are a collision of two Earths. They are triggered when one universe's character kills his or her own Variant. The first Marvel Comics incursion occurred when one unknown universe's Molecule Man was killed by Earth-616's Molecule Man.
In Doctor Strange 2, Earth-616's Doctor Strange kills Sinister Strange, impaling the evil iteration on a fence outside the Sanctum Sanctorum. If the MCU's incursions have the same definition as they do in the comics, Marvel fans could be looking at a colossal consequence come Doctor Strange 3.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is in theaters now.
MCU Writer, Editor, Podcaster