Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness took Benedict Cumberbatch’s Stephen Strange and Xochitl Gomez’s America Chavez from Earth-616 and threw them into Earth-838. In this new reality, there are a lot of differences, but chief among them is the existence of the Illuminati.
The secretive group doesn’t waste much time taking in Strange once he arrives at Mordor’s doorstep. But, despite the attendance of Reed Richards and Professor Xavier, there’s another element of their headquarters that was likely the cause for some curiosity: the Ultron bots.
Instead of the evil Ultron seen in Avengers: Age of Ultron, these bots seem to be working much closer to their original purpose. Were audiences witnessing what might have happened if Tony’s “suit of armor around the world” had actually been successful?
According to Marvel Studios producer Richie Palmer, that’s exactly what was happening.
Tony Stark’s Impact on Earth-838
In an interview with Empire, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness producer Richie Palmer talked about the untold story behind Earth-838’s Wanda Maximoff and how the Tony Stark of that world plays into everything.
Palmer made it clear how "[they believed] that the 838 Wanda had some children and kinda retired… and didn’t need to prioritize being a superhero:”
"Yeah, we believe that the 838 Wanda had some children and kinda retired. She was happy living a life with her family and didn't need to prioritize being a superhero. Maybe because of the Illuminati, maybe because of some other stuff.”
He then diverted the focus to the Tony Stark of Earth-838, revealing how “[that] is a world where Ultron seemed to work the way [he was] intended [to in Avengers: Age of Ultron],” an achievement that gave many superheroes the chance to retire:
“… but this is a world where Ultron seemed to work the way Tony Stark intended him to work in Age of Ultron. 'A suit of armor around the world,' Tony was trying to get the Avengers to retire in Age of Ultron. So imagine this is a Wanda that, around that time... This is a world where Tony cracked Ultron, and it worked, and he went, 'Hey, whoever wants to retire and go home, can.' And then the Illuminati came to rise behind the scenes, pulling the strings, but, I think it's just a little bit of a better world for whatever reason, and Wanda was able to go and have the life that she deserved. We as the audience don't know who the father of those children is in this universe.”
The producer continued, noting how “[Earth-616] Wanda probably had the most chaotic life out of all the Wandas in the Multiverse:”
“Although, we believe it was probably a more natural situation for this Wanda, and less chaotic, and that our Wanda, the 616 Wanda, probably had the most chaotic life out of all the Wandas in the Multiverse, which is why her mission in this movie was to peak into the Multiverse and have all these dreams about all these other universes, and find out that yours is the messed up one. Your life is the one, and all the other ones are nice, and you could have had a nice life that you only could've dreamed of, and you're the one that couldn't get that life. That's pretty maddening."
Stark’s Suit of Broken Armor Around the World
While Stark’s plan may have seemed reckless in Age of Ultron, partially because of the raging murder bots, Earth-838 shows audiences that his plan clearly had merits. With it having gone well, instead of the AI going rouge as it did for 616, everything seemed to shape up nicely for the local superheroes.
Though, clearly, Iron Man should have considered the possibility of an angry witch dream walking through the Multiverse—rookie mistake.
The real question is if Tony Stark was so paramount to the success of his global Ultron security program, where was he when the events of Multiverse of Madness were going down. Sure, maybe they couldn’t have gotten Tom Cruise, but it sure does seem like someone that important should have had a presence in those scenes.
In the end, however, it’s great he wasn’t there. If he were, he’d just be another Illuminati body lying in the rubble of their HQ. Though, someone should probably help Mordo out of his hole.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now streaming on Disney+.