Variety initially reported in early 2020 that Rachel McAdams would not be reprising her role as Christine Palmer in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. However, several months later, Deadline confirmed that previous reports of McAdams' exclusion were incorrect and that she'd join the Doctor Strange sequel's cast after all, although it was unknown how significant her role would be.
More information about McAdams' role was revealed during post-production, and producer Richie Palmer confirmed that Palmer and Strange "are not back together" in the sequel. Recently, it was also revealed that Strange will be forced "to watch the love of his life marry someone else."
What's strange is that some footage has shown McAdams' Palmer inside the Illuminati facility holding Strange and Xochitl Gomez's America Chavez prisoner and seemingly working for them. So is this Strange's lost love from his universe secretly working for the group? Or, more likely, another Variant working for them?
A new interview with McAdams points to her having a more active role than the original Doctor Strange.
Rachel McAdams Wearing More Than Scrubs This Time
In an interview with Empire Magazine (via Great Magazines), Rachel McAdams spoke about her expanded role in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Unlike the original Doctor Strange, McAdams said that she "wasn't just wearing scrubs this time around" for the sequel and that she "was certainly a part of things I've never seen on screen."
Benedict Cumberbatch also talked about playing at least three Variants of himself in the sequel, which he believes has "very bold ideas" and that there will be "very unexpected conclusions" for the audience:
“There are some very bold ideas, and some extraordinary tests of Strange and encounters. There are some very unexpected conclusions. It’s fascinating to explore what would happen if there was an alternate reality that you could visit and all the mess that might ensue.”
As for Strange finally having all his actions catch up to him, from his meddling with time to almost breaking the multiverse in Spider-Man: No Way Home, Cumberbatch says the sequel has "a lot of reckoning" and "self-discovery" for the sorcerer:
“There’s a lot of reckoning. And a lot of self-discovery. Strange is almost a stranger to himself before this film unfolds and reveals what, essentially, is in his nature, that he then has to either confront or resist or fall into or become.”
Following Breadcrumbs of Doctor Strange Footage
When the first trailer for Multiverse of Madness was released shortly after the opening of No Way Home, it was immediately apparent that the woman standing to the left of Strange was Christine Palmer, which sent many fans' minds spiraling about her being a Variant or even playing Strange's other love interest, Clea. However, as trailers and reports went on, it was apparent this was Palmer or a Variant of her.
What's interesting is that, with all the footage released thus far taken into consideration, it appears that the sequences of events for this Palmer can be easily tracked. First, Doctor Strange and American Chavez are captured by the Illuminati and put into the glass cages, then Wanda invades the facility, resulting in them both escaping with this Variant of Palmer.
So, it could be that, in the chaos, Palmer freed them both and ran off with them, which would undoubtedly have McAdams being more involved in the plot than in the previous film.
Fans will see what McAdams' role in the sequel will be when they see Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in theaters on May 6, 2022.