Doctor Strange 3 may seem like a far away prospect seeing as Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness only just hit cinema screens around the world, but in the grand calculus of the MCU, it's never too early to think about sequels. The ending of the new Doctor Strange film left the door open for more but, like many Marvel Studios movies, it's the post-credits scenes that tease the most.
Warning - The rest of this article contains spoilers from Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness features two post-credits scenes, the first of which introduces one of Hollywood's biggest stars to the MCU. After dodging rumors for years, Mad Max: Fury Road star Charlize Theron has finally made her Marvel debut, playing the sorceress Clea.
Those familiar with Clea from the comics will know she plays a large role in Doctor Strange's life as his love interest and eventual wife. Now the writer of Multiverse of Madness has addressed how Clea's post-credits inclusion sets up the story of Doctor Strange 3.
Doctor Strange 2 Writer Explains Clea's Future
Michael Waldron, the writer of both Loki and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, hinted at Clea's future in an interview on Deadline's Hero Nation podcast.
Waldron said that introducing "the great love of Doctor Strange" in the post-credits sequence of the film was always intended and went on to explain how the sorceress is tied to Doctor Strange's previous enemy, Dormammu:
"We always knew we wanted to introduce Clea, who in the comics is you could say the great love of Doctor Strange, but really in a lot of ways his formidable equal as a sorcerer herself. Her backstory is fascinating, she's the niece of Dormammu, the giant floating head from the first movie."
The writer said that in order to introduce Clea they first needed to "close the book" on Stephen's relationship with Christine Palmer.
"They have a lot of great adventures in the comics, and we knew we wanted to introduce her, but it felt like we had to close the book to some extent on his love story with Christine Palmer, Rachel McAdams' character."
Waldron continued, saying that Stephen is contemplating Christine's advice to "be open to the idea of loving someone" and then, conveniently, Clea arrives.
"So you know, Doctor Strange hears that wisdom from Christine to face his fears and be open to the idea of loving someone and then along comes Clea and I guess we'll see what happens next between the two of them."
Doctor Strange 3: A Love Story?
The inclusion of Clea in the Doctor Strange narrative has been hinted at for a while, but now the stage is well and truly set for Charlize Theron's character to play a big role in Doctor Strange 3.
All we know about Clea so far, in the context of the MCU, is that she approaches Doctor Strange to help her fix an incursion that he has caused, before whisking him away to the dark dimension. As explained in Multiverse of Madness, an incursion occurs when two realities collide, resulting in the collapse of either or both. There's no telling what the incursion is that Doctor Strange is responsible for, but it's clearly problematic enough that Clea needs the help of a fellow sorcerer.
While brief, the post-credits sequence also hinted at the potential for romance between the two characters. As Waldron explained, by the end of Multiverse of Madness Doctor Strange is at a point in his life where he's ready to overcome his reservations about love. When Clea arrives and asks Strange to come with her, she uses the line "unless you're afraid?". This ties in nicely to the advice given to Stephen by Christine Palmer which was to "face your fears."
By following Clea into the Dark Dimension it seems Doctor Strange is finally open to the idea of new love, so we can probably expect the third movie to hone in on the couple's classic comic book romance.
To date, a third Doctor Strange movie hasn't been announced. However, a line in the credits at the end of Multiverse of Madness did confirm that Doctor Strange will return.