Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is so much more than a sequel. Rather, Marvel Studios' first film of 2022 is the next big-screen chapter of the MCU's Phase 4 Multiversal tale, and a continuation of both Tom Holland's Spider-Man: No Way Home and Elizabeth Olsen's WandaVision from Disney+.
Set to release on May 6, much of the plot for Doctor Strange 2 has been kept under wraps; but thanks to the film's marketing, fans know to expect Variants of Doctor Strange, elements of horror courtesy of director Sam Raimi, and a potentially unhinged Scarlet Witch.
However, since this film is about the Multiverse and madness, anything can happen; but now, just days away from Doctor Strange 2's theatrical debut, Marvel Studios has revealed just how this strange adventure begins.
Doctor Strange 2 Preview References WandaVision & Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man
During Marvel Studios' panel at CinemaCon 2022, attendees were treated to the first fifteen minutes of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. While the opening sequence footage hasn't been publicly released, The Wrap has provided a full description.
The preview showed a Doctor Strange from a different universe attempting to protect Xochitl Gomez' America Chavez from an Eldritch abomination who is attempting to take her Multiversal powers.
Just when the abomination is about to kill them both, this alternate Doctor Strange takes Chavez' powers and kills her for the sake of protecting the universe.
However, this is all just a dream.
The MCU's Doctor Strange is then seen attending Christine Palmer's wedding, where the two have a moment of closure. Christine, played by Rachel McAdams, says, “always had to be the one holding the knife, and I could respect you for it, but I couldn’t love you for it.”
But then, this moment of calm is interrupted when another Eldritch abomination arrives in New York, along with America Chavez. Strange and Wong both spring into action, with Wong joking, “You know how it is customary to bow in the presence of the Sorcerer Supreme? I’m... aware of the customs."
Strange, Wong, and Chavez succeed in stopping the monster, with Strange actually ripping out the monster’s eye with a lamp post.
Afterward, Strange struggles to understand why Chavez has come out of his dreams, which leads to him revisiting the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Chavez actually reacts in disgust upon learning of a Spider-Man who shoots webs out of his body, before explaining her ability to travel through the Multiverse. However, she admits that she doesn't have control of her powers and only does it when she's afraid.
She also informs Strange about the Book of Vishanti - a contrast to the Darkhold which Wanda came into possession of in WandaVision - that may help her learn control.
Chavez doesn't quite trust Benedict Cumberbatch's character, considering the Strange she knew attempted to kill her, but she does go with him to Kamar-Taj for protection while the sorcerer goes to find Wanda for information.
This is followed by the tune of the WandaVision jingle and a replay of the final moments of the series where Wanda had her twins. She is then shown waking up from her dream.
Scarlet Witch tells Strange that she is trying to “leave the magic behind,” before he invites her to Kamar-Taj to protect Chavez.
The Hollywood Reporter also shared a summary of the footage, describing the one-eyed octopus which threatens Christine Palmer's wedding day celebration, as well as Strange and Wong fighting alongside Chavez and her explanation of being able to travel through the Multiverse.
Doctor Strange 2's Incredible Pacing & Disney+ References
For fans who have been concerned about Multiverse of Madness' relatively short runtime, this preview should put those fears to rest. Again, this is the first fifteen minutes of the film, and in that time, Strange has met Chavez, battled a monster, and recruited the Scarlet Witch. If anything, it sounds like audiences could be in for Infinity War-level pacing.
The other good news? Since much of what was shown in the preview has already been revealed in trailers and TV spots, audiences have seen little of the film itself, implying that there are plenty of spoilery surprises in store.
The scene in which Strange talks about No Way Home to Chavez is particularly interesting for those who have been following the film's development, since America Chavez originally had a role in No Way Home back when Doctor Strange 2 was set to release ahead of the Spider-Man threequel.
Plus, the fact that Tobey Maguire's Spidey and his organic webs were referenced isn't just a fun nod to Spider-Man director Sam Raimi, but it's likely to add to the speculation that Maguire's Spider-Man could return in Multiverse of Madness.
Now, the use of the WandaVision jingle is particularly noteworthy. Some have suggested that Marvel's Disney+ shows are supplemental or side projects and not necessarily required viewing. This scene suggests otherwise; and if the rumors are true, Disney+'s Loki may have a presence in this film as well.
While the extent of WandaVision and No Way Home's presence in Multiverse of Madness remains to be seen, this CinemaCon preview did exactly what it was supposed to do in that it increased anticipation and offered audiences a glimpse of what to expect ahead of its May 6 release.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness debuts in theaters on May 6.