As Phase 4 continues to have a notable lack of an Avengers blockbuster on the slate, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness looks to be the biggest film of the year. The titular Avenger will be joined by Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch and Xochitl Gomez's America Chavez as it follows directly on from the events of WandaVision and Spider-Man: No Way Home for a Multiverse-hopping adventure.
After a moderately well-received solo debut, Benedict Cumberbatch's sorcerer has since stepped into a prominent role in the MCU and was integral to Avengers: Infinity War, Endgame, and Spider-Man: No Way Home.
With the immense excitement shown behind cameos and shock character introductions in recent projects, Marvel Studios reportedly held reshoots for the sequel recently to add even more surprises from the vastness of the Multiverse. As filming has wrapped and the May 2022 release is just a few months away, The Direct breaks down 25 Marvel heroes and villains who could pop up in Multiverse of Madness.
The Avengers That Could Have Been
Marvel Studios has truly established itself as the master of casting having filled almost every major role with the perfect actor or actress. But over the years, there have been many cases in which another star almost got the role, something which could be referenced in Multiverse of Madness with cameos from alternate reality Avengers.
Iron Man (Tom Cruise)
Ultimately, Robert Downey Jr. turned out to be the exact right choice to play Tony Stark aka Iron Man, although he wasn't the original choice for the role and wasn't the most popular at the time. Marvel originally wanted to cast Tom Cruise in the role, and a cameo from the action legend would absolutely leave audiences cheering.
Captain America (John Krasinski)
Similarly, Chris Evans wasn't always going to be the MCU's Captain America, as The Office star John Krasinski was almost cast in the role. Years later, Krasinski remains the favorite to lead the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic, although a cameo as another universe's star-spangled man shouldn't get in the way of that becoming a reality.
Hulk (Edward Norton)
For the most part, the MCU has managed to hold onto its cast members in the long term for multiple years and projects. But in some rare occurrences, actors have been left behind and subsequently been recast in their roles. Edward Norton originally played Bruce Banner in 2008's The Incredible Hulk and while Mark Ruffalo has been a superb replacement, it would be a jaw-dropping surprise to see him briefly reprise his role in another universe.
Thor (Tom Hiddleston)
Before going on to iconically portray Loki, Tom Hiddleston originally auditioned for the role of Thor. Ultimately, everything worked out well as the British actor proved far better suited for the God of Mischief while Chris Hemsworth certainly delivered as Thor. With the actor already rumored to appear as Loki in the Multiverse of Madness, it wouldn't hurt to also see him as an alternate God of Thunder.
Black Widow (Emily Blunt)
In another case of casting close calls, Emily Blunt was at one point in line to play Black Widow in place of Scarlett Johansson. Coincidentally, Blunt is married to Krasinski in real life, so if the two were both to appear as their respective almost-Avengers, they could be shown to have some romantic interest in reference to the popular Captain America/Black Widow relationship.
Hawkeye (Jensen Ackles)
After initially auditioning for the role of Captain America, Supernatural star Jensen Ackles was once offered the role of Hawkeye before turning it down due to other commitments. Having filled up the roles of five of the six original Avengers, it could be interesting to see the 2012 team assemble once again with an alternate line-up of actors in each role: the Avengers that could have been.
Doctor Strange (Joaquin Phoenix)
Despite being a grand-scale Marvel event movie, Multiverse of Madness still absolutely remains a Doctor Strange outing, so if any hero deserves to have another version appear, it's the sorcerer himself. Around the time Benedict Cumberbatch was cast, Joaquin Phoenix was a favorite for the role within the studio, although he ultimately turned it down before going on to star in Joker. Perhaps the Oscar-winner may be more interested in joining the Marvel universe in a cameo capacity.
Spider-Man (Tobey Maguire)
With director Sam Raimi helming the Multiverse blockbuster, there may be no cameo more perfectly suited to the film than Tobey Maguire's Spider-Man, reuniting the duo for the first time since 2007's Spider-Man 3. After just recently returning for No Way Home, Maguire would almost certainly be willing to come back once again in some capacity.
Of this list's entries, this option could be the most likely as rumors pointed to Maguire's Spidey truly returning for more MCU action in this movie. Perhaps they could finally explain the Doctor Strange reference in Spider-Man 2 that confirmed the sorcerer's existence in Raimi's original world.
Loki and the Gang
After recently opening up the Multiverse into infinite realities, Loki left viewers on a dramatic cliffhanger as the God of Mischief returned to an alternate reality TVA. Given the bureaucratic time-hopping organization's interest in branched timelines, perhaps the TVA could pop up in Doctor Strange's Multiverse adventure. There have even been some rumors to suggest Loki, Mobius, and Sylvie will appear in Multiverse of Madness.
As Loki's recent Disney+ solo outing redeemed the new God of Mischief Variant into something of a time-hopping hero, it would make logical sense for him to join Doctor Strange and Wanda for their Multiversal antics. Tom Hiddleston's hero could even get involved in the magical action as an experienced spell caster himself.
Having been the one to initially open up the Multiverse, Sylvie may be the cause of the madness unfolding in Doctor Strange's latest adventure. After being left in the Citadel at the End of Time aside He Who Remains' corpse in the final moments of Loki, the sorcerer could track down the Goddess of Mischief for an explanation regarding the ongoing chaos.
Even if Loki and Sylvie don't appear in the sequel as they are left in the limbo of the Season 1 cliffhanger, the TVA could justifiably show up in some capacity as Doctor Strange and his magical team hop around the Multiverse. In the event that the TVA does make an appearance, there's no better choice to represent the organization in Multiverse of Madness than Owen Wilson's Agent Mobius, a fan favorite in the making.
Kang the Conqueror
Loki established Johnathon Majors' Kang the Conqueror as a Multiversal threat-to-be with an infinite number of evil and dangerous Variants out there. Kang will play a key role in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, but before then, it wouldn't be shocking if Doctor Strange were to run into a conquering Variant or two in his reality-hopping travels.
Mutants Join the MCU
The X-Men have already had a long-running live-action franchise with two decades worth of films centered around some of the most famous mutants. Given their extensive run, Fox's franchise has a huge number of cameo opportunities for Marvel Studios to pick from for Multiverse of Madness, with some possibly even sticking around in the MCU.
After 20 years' worth of films, most of Fox's X-Men cast will naturally be rebooted, although Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool will be sticking around for a third solo outing, this time within the MCU. As the Merc with a Mouth makes the jump between cinematic universes, what better film to explain his arrival than Multiverse of Madness with a cameo that would undoubtedly thrill audiences as it sets the stage for the future?
Having spent almost two decades in the role with nine appearances under his belt, Hugh Jackman's Wolverine sits alongside Robert Downey Jr's Iron Man boasting the most beloved comic book performances of all time. There's arguably no character or cameo that would shock and excite audiences like Logan himself. Marvel Studios has almost certainly asked Jackman to reprise his role for Multiverse of Madness; what's tougher to predict is whether he signed on.
The Doctor Strange follow-up will reportedly assemble an Illuminati-style team of heroes from across the Multiverse to take on an unknown threat. Charles Xavier aka Professor X has always been a staple member of the line-up due to his genius, power, and mutant influence, making a live-action appearance a no-brainer. But would he be played by Patrick Stewart, James McAvoy, or a new actor altogether? Any would undeniably be a crowd-pleaser as either an icon returns or a major hero makes his MCU debut.
With Scarlet Witch tagging along for the Multiversal ride, perhaps her original comic book father Magneto will join her. Granted, the magnetic mutant may not be Wanda Maximoff's MCU father, but a cameo appearance from either Ian McKellen or Michael Fassbender's Magnetos could be a fun way to pay homage to her classic origins.
A Maximoff Family Reunion
With Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch playing a critical role in Multiverse of Madness following the events of WandaVision, it only makes sense for much of the series' cast to join her in some varying capacity.
Wiccan and Speed
Wanda's sons Billy and Tommy faded out of existence with the end of the Westview reality. However, the post-credits scene of WandaVision teased their return as Wanda heard their voices calling out to her while studying the Darkhold. Following this tease, the twin boys will almost certainly appear in Multiverse of Madness and will probably be the source of Wanda's motivations as she attempts to track them down. What's less clear is whether they will still have their superpowers as they did in Westview.
After meeting his demise in Avengers: Infinity War, a new Vision made his debut in WandaVision with SWORD's rebuilt version of Paul Bettany's Avenger. As White Vision looks to find his place in the world after the finale, it would only be fitting for Wanda's robotic husband to appear alongside her in the Doctor Strange sequel.
Although, if the two were to remain separated for some time, Armor Wars would be a logical next appearance for White Vision as War Machine deals with stolen Stark technology.
Having served as the main antagonist of WandaVision, Agatha Harkness is now undeniably the MCU's most experienced magic-user and therefore would fit nicely in the Doctor Strange sequel. After her defeat, Agatha warned Wanda that she has "no idea what [she] has unleashed" and is "gonna need [her]."
These lines may have been placed to lead into an appearance in Multiverse of Madness which directly follows the events of WandaVision, or alternatively to tie into her upcoming Disney+ spin-off.
Fantastic Four Fun
After two unsuccessful attempts by Fox at bringing Marvel's first family to life, the Fantastic Four will soon get a new lease of life in live-action as Spider-Man trilogy director Jon Watts helms the MCU reboot. Although, there is a chance at least some of the team, or maybe even past iterations of them, could appear in the Multiverse romp.
Human Torch (Chris Evans)
Chris Evans' Captain America recently bid farewell to the MCU with his Avengers: Endgame retirement. Since then, reports have circulated that the Marvel veteran has signed on to return to the comic book world. Naturally, most assumed this would mark the surprising return of his star-spangled hero, but perhaps it will instead be as his first Marvel hero, Johnny Storm aka Human Torch - who he played in 2005's Fantastic Four.
Marvel's first family leader, Mr. Fantastic, has long been a staple member of the Illuminati, being one of the greatest minds in the comic book world. As both past interpretations of the character are heavily controversial, to say the least, Multiverse of Madness' Reed Richards would almost certainly have to be played by a new actor. With Marvel Studios' Fantastic Four on the way to theaters in the coming years, it may be time for one of the team to pop up in another project.
The Guardians of the Multiverse
Doctor Strange Supreme
What If...? saw the debut of a twisted new Doctor Strange who, grief-stricken by the death of Dr. Christine Palmer, sought out magic and absorbed Multiversal beings to become the most powerful sorcerer possible. Many believed Doctor Strange Supreme to be the creepy Benedict Cumberbatch Variant who appeared during the first trailer; should this be the case, the twisted Sorcerer may be set for an expanded role in Multiverse of Madness.
After making her first appearance in What If...?, Hayley Atwell's Captain Carter is rumored to make her live-action debut in the Doctor Strange sequel, which makes logical sense given the Multiversal nature of the animated series. For now, there is nothing to suggest the rest of the team - including Party Thor, the Thanos-armored Gamora, and Black Panther Kilmonger - will be making the jump to live-action with her.
The Direct recently exclusively revealed that Ultron's robot accomplices will make an appearance in Multiverse of Madness. While this surprise return may seem odd at first, a Multiverse-hopping Ultron, powered with all six Infinity Stones, was just recently seen in What If...?. With Captain Carter seemingly set to make an appearance, the animated anthology series may just link to the wider MCU more than was once thought.
Can't Forget Bruce Campbell (BONUS)
Bruce Campbell has a long-running tradition of collaborating with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness director Sam Raimi. The duo came together for The Evil Dead early in their careers and, since then, the actor has appeared in many of Raimi's films, including his legendary Spider-Man trilogy.
Across Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy, Campbell appeared as a ring announcer, theater usher, and French maître d' He was also expected to appear as Mysterio in the canceled fourth installment.
Campbell has previously teased he will make another cameo in Raimi's latest Marvel flick, although it's unclear who his character could be. With the Multiverse involved, the possibilities are truly endless, although he will most likely just play another small role not based on any existing hero or villain.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits theaters on May 6, 2022.