Spider-Man: No Way Home opened the door to the MCU's Multiverse at the end of last year, breaking the box office and the internet alike with five other-worldly villains and both past cinematic web-slingers. Now, after the Multiverse was "a concept about which we know frighteningly little" in that threequel, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness amended that status upon its May 6 release.
WARNING: The rest of this article contains spoilers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
More so than any other solo project outside of those led by Doctor Strange and Wanda Maximoff, No Way Home was an important story for fans to revisit ahead of watching Strange's second solo adventure. With only 126 minutes of runtime, however, neither Holland, Garfield, nor Maguire made their return to Earth-616's New York City as Strange encountered everything that the Multiverse had to throw at him.
Another question fans had after the Spider-Man threequel was exactly how the world would remember the web-slinger himself after Strange's spell supposedly made the world forget that Peter Parker ever existed. Now, thanks to one of Doctor Strange 2's earliest moments between Strange and America Chavez, there's more clarity on that subject moving forward.
Doctor Strange 2 References MCU's Spider-Man
In one of the first scenes from Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Doctor Strange and Wong acknowledged that they had dealt with the Multiverse before when they met America Chavez.
When Chavez asks about their experience with the Multiverse, Strange and Wong reference "an incident with Spider-Man," confirming that the two do still remember the Multiversal events with the Web-Slinger. This also clarifies that Strange's spell from the end of that movie worked and that they have forgotten his name, as neither sorcerer references Peter Parker directly:
Stephen Strange: “Giant monsters, I can clearly handle, but what bothers me is that last night, you were in my dream.”
America Chavez: “That... wasn’t a dream. It was another universe. How much experience do you guys have with the Multiverse?"
Strange: “We have experience of the Multiverse, most recently there was an incident with Spider-Man...”
Chavez: “What man?”
Strange: “Spider-Man. He has the powers of a spider.”
Wong: “Hence the name.”
This scene also indicates that America Chavez has never met any version of Spider-Man in the 73 universes she's visited before. This leads to some interesting quips and questions about where Spider-Man shoots his webs from and what he looks like; it even ties back to the conversation between the three Spideys at the Statue of Liberty along with the Easter egg paying homage to the six-armed Spider-Man from the final battle.
Chavez: “Gross. Does he look like a spider?”
Strange: “No, no. More like a man.”
Wong: “Climbs walls, shoots webs.”
Strange: “Yeah, bingo.”
Chavez: “Out of his butt?!”
Strange: “No, well, maybe. I don’t know. Honestly, I hope not.”
No Memory of Peter Parker in Doctor Strange 2
“But you gotta understand that would mean that everyone who knows and loves you, we… we’d have no memory of you. It would be as though you never existed."
When Peter Parker asked Doctor Strange to help fix the problems that Mysterio caused by revealing his identity, the results from Strange's spell were left to be quite open-ended. Would nobody know who Peter Parker is? Would they not know that Peter Parker was Spider-Man? Would they remember that Spider-Man existed or what happened with him at the end of No Way Home?
Although there isn't a lot of time spent on that moment, it does bring some clarity to how Strange and Wong remember what happened in that Multiversal adventure. Noting that it was an "incident" likely means that they know about the villains and heroes that came into their world before the spell at the end sent them back to their universes.
There's also the chance that Strange only remembers the first spell he tried to cast for Peter, which was meant to make the entire world forget about Peter being Spider-Man. But with Strange no longer remembering Spider-Man's secret identity, perhaps he has no memory of who the individual behind the mask was. He may not even be thinking about the spell at the end of the story, although with Doctor Strange 2 focusing on his own progression through the story, it may be some time until those details are fully revealed.
It's also interesting to see how America Chavez isn't aware of any version of Spider-Man, although it's something that could still be explored in later movies featuring the Multiverse. There are certainly more than the 73 universes that she's visited thus far, and this now sets up quite a fun interaction between the two characters, particularly since she was originally supposed to appear in Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Looking ahead to Spider-Man's future, more will certainly be revealed about his status in the public eye when he takes on his second confirmed trilogy within the MCU.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now playing in theaters worldwide.