Marvel Studios is in the fast lane towards Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. After debuting its first teaser as the second post-credits scene of Spider-Man: No Way Home, Stephen Strange's sophomore solo installment dropped its second trailer immediately following its Super Bowl TV spot. This comes roughly three months before Multiverse of Madness hits theaters, bringing Marvel back to its famous May weekend for the first time since 2017's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
While the new Doctor Strange 2 footage does its best to keep the film's biggest reveals shrouded in secrecy, it gives fans plenty of juicy frames to hyper-analyze. Without further ado, here are 12 Easter eggs, hidden meanings, and plot details within the latest Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness trailer.
The trailer opens with Strange approaching a bleak Sanctum Sanctorum, surrounded by skeletal remains. Narration alludes to this being a dream, but the set design indicates this location could be a real place within the multi-dimensional MCU.
This appears to be the Nightmare Dimension, which is a reality that is fueled purely by fear. In the comics, the Nightmare Dimension is appropriately ruled over by Nightmare, a famed foe of Doctor Strange's that specializes in the spooky.
While Nightmare showing face in Multiverse of Madness is far from confirmed, he is a card that Marvel creatives have had their eye on for a long time. 2016's Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson often professed his desire to include Nightmare in a future Strange project. Derrickson departed Doctor Strange 2 due to "creative differences," but that doesn't mean all of his concepts for the sequel were scrapped.
No Way Home Backlash
It's going to be a long Phase 4 for the good doctor.
Shortly into the trailer, Strange admits that he "did what [he] had to do to protect our world." This comes on the heels of Spider-Man: No Way Home, which saw Doctor Strange cast a spell to erase Peter Parker from the world's memory in order to prevent Multiversal madness. Is this in reference to that Multiversal mistake, or something else?
Wong lectures Strange that he "opened a doorway between universes" that cannot be easily closed once unlocked. This, combined with WandaVision's Hex magic and Loki's inciting assassination, might just be the recipe for permanent disaster across the MCU's Multiverse.
Marvel trailer manipulation might be back.
Roughly 30 seconds into the trailer, a sunset shot of New York City's cityscape glistens as Strange narrates about "[protecting] our world." While this particular skyline is the New York City the MCU is familiar with, it's worth keeping an eye on. Marvel has digitally removed characters from pivotal promotional material before in efforts to send fans on a wild goose chase. Considering the amount of noteworthy skyscrapers in Marvel mythos, it's not crazy to assume this skyline shot has been tampered with.
Everything from the Baxter Building to the remodeled Avengers Tower could end up being in this landscape come May 6. With Spider-Man icon Sam Raimi in the director's chair, Oscorp HQ is also on the table.
Fans get their best look yet at the jolly green Minotaur in this trailer.
This is Rintrah, an extradimensional beast that has regular encounters with Doctor Strange on the page. While the first teaser positioned Rintrah as an antagonist, this new footage contextualizes his status as a friend at Kamar-Taj.
Here, Rintrah stands battle ready alongside sorcerers in training as black smoke encroaches on the dojo.
What If...? stock just skyrocketed.
In a frame that redefines the term blink-and-miss-it, Strange and Xochitil Gomez's America Chavez fall through space and time, literally. The two pass dinosaurs as they break through glass-like barriers. In one particular freeze frame, Strange can be seen drifting into an animated dimension, one that rewires his character into a cartoon.
Animated projects like What If...? and X-Men '97 have been rumored to play into Doctor Strange 2 for a while, but always under the assumption that their cartoon characters would receive a live-action casting. This dimension indicates that Multiverse of Madness is venturing into the two-dimensional at some point, even if it's just within a brief montage.
Chiwetel Ejiofor makes his first MCU appearance since 2016, but toy leaks indicate this is not the same Mordo fans were introduced to six years ago.
This Variant is Master Mordo, a version of the character speculated to be the Sorcerer Supreme of his world. Master Mordo plays judge, jury, and executioner in this trailer, as he sorrowfully explains Strange's Multiversal mistakes "will not go unpunished."
Mordo appears later in the trailer as well, clashing with a shackled Strange. That fight features Strange wearing handcuffs that are noticeably less bulky than the restraints he rocks earlier, indicating that Mordo reinforces them after their bout concludes.
He may be the one to bring Strange in, but Mordo is not the only judge and jury in this trailer.
Strange stands before a six-chaired throne room, all of which are shrouded in shadows. While Mordo and Patrick Stewart's Professor X make up two of these councilmen, the remaining four remain a mystery. That said, the vibe of this secret society is eerily reminiscent of Marvel's Illuminati.
On the page, the Illuminati are a classified collection of Marvel's elites. Unlike the Time Variance Authority, the Illuminati do not script timelines but rather adequately prepare for Avengers-level threats. The most famous roster of the faction includes Tony Stark, Reed Richards, Charles Xavier, Namor, Black Bolt, and Doctor Strange.
Doctor Strange 2's adaptation of the Illuminati is unlikely to be an exact copy of the comic line-up, but there's reason to believe that the group's founding father may be amongst the live-action ranks.
Even seven years after Avengers: Age of Ultron, Tony Stark's evil artificial intelligence continues to make an impact.
As first reported by The Direct, Ultron sentries make their live-action return in this footage, guiding a handcuffed Strange through the Illuminati's hallways. If Ultron bots are back, their maker can't be too far behind.
The design of these Ultron sentries appears to be the work of Superior Iron Man, a Tony Stark Variant that dials up the arrogance to the danger zone. An alternate version of Stark appearing in Multiverse of Madness has long been speculated, and some believe a glimpse of him can be seen later in this footage.
Captain Marvel? Iron Man?
Wanda Maximoff's battle with this glowing flight-based hero is Marvel's Yanny vs. Laurel debate.
Upon first glance, this appears to be a Maria Rambeau rendition of Captain Marvel, as the famous star-shaped emblem can be made out on the character's chest. That said, another frame seems to showcase a familiar goatee, hinting that this could be the aforementioned Superior Iron Man in action.
Considering Wanda is being positioned as an antagonist in this movie, it makes more sense for her to battle Captain Marvel, who is significantly more morally pure than Superior Iron Man. Surrounding statues also indicate this battle goes down at Illuminati HQ, despite Wanda rocking a casual Friday wardrobe. This could be a way of calling back to WandaVision, when Scarlet Witch arrived at SWORD's facilities in street clothes and broke into the lab that was tampering with Vision's remains.
Speaking of WandaVision...
Return to Westview
The now-infamous New Jersey town has not seen its last days in the MCU.
Towards the final moments of the trailer, Wanda confronts herself inside her former Westview home. The casual-clothed Wanda comforts a fully-uniformed Scarlet Witch, who just fell to her knees in a suburban living room.
That Darkhold is no joke.
Wanda's lone line of dialogue comes as she lectures Strange about the fairness of "[breaking] the rules." Not only is Strange's expression chillingly fearful, but his attire is all too familiar.
Strange is wearing the same scarf and jacket as when he questions Wanda earlier in the trailer about her Multiverse knowledge. Not only that, but the blurry red background of this scene seemingly includes leaf-less trees. This hints that not only are these two moments happening in the same scene, but Wanda may be manipulating reality again.
Symbolism is going crazy in Doctor Strange 2.
When Strange first confronts Wanda, she is trimming branches from a field of white blossomed trees, speculated to be on Mount Wundagore. In literature, white blossoms are seen as a symbol of peace, while spiritually, white blossom trees are viewed as the opposite of chaos.
Surrounding Wanda with white blossom trees is director Sam Raimi's way of showcasing Wanda's inner peace. On the flip side, shedding those trees of their blossoms when Wanda transforms into the Scarlet Witch only emphasizes the mental havoc she's experiencing at that moment.
White blossomed trees can also be seen in Strange's vision of a universe where he's "the hero" and is immortalized with a statue in front of the Sanctum Sanctorum. Where there's smoke, there's fire, and where there's white blossoms, there's a major plotpoint.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits theaters on May 6.
MCU Writer, Editor, Podcaster