Marvel Studios' most recent film, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness continues to be a crowd-pleasing favorite for moviegoers. The movie, which sees Benedict Cumberbatch's Master of the Mystic Arts, Dr. Stephen Strange, exploring Marvel's parallel universe with the help of teenage powerhouse, America Chavez, won three straight weekends at the box office and has raked in over $800 million worldwide.
In Multiverse of Madness' mid-credit scene, Strange is confronted by the sorceress known as Clea (as played in a cameo appearance by Charlize Theron). During the events of the film, Strange causes an incursion and he and Clea must embark on a journey into the Dark Dimension in order to set things straight. Strange opens his third eye, which originally appeared as a result of using the Darkhold, and the pair jump into a tear in reality created by Clea.
An incursion, as explained in the context of the movie, is something that can happen when a person tampers with a parallel universe that is not their own. The effects of an Incursion can be cataclysmic, so Strange and Clea have their work cut out for them. But where will that work take them?
A Strange and Clea Team-Up is in the MCU's Future
Speaking to Marvel.com, Michael Waldron, screenwriter on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness explained the impact that introducing Strange's "great love" Clea will have:
“We were really excited to introduce Clea,” shares Walron. “Getting Charlize Theron to play that character, holy crap! In the comics, Clea is Doctor Strange’s great love so to speak. The alternate Christine Palmer, as she says goodbye to our Doctor Strange, tells him to face his fears, to be willing to love someone else and to face that fear connecting with someone else.”
Waldron also suggests that Charlize Theron's Clea will play a "pivotal" role in Stephen Strange's story and confirms a "collision of universes" could be on the horizon for the MCU. Comic readers will know that Incursions are what lead to the large-scale event, "Secret Wars" in 2015, where many universes met their destructive end, so the very idea that these cosmic happenings are coming to the MCU is definitely foreboding:
“It felt like the perfect time to finally introduce this very pivotal character in Doctor Strange’s canon,” teases Waldron. “Strange went to the Multiverse and tampered with it as much as you probably possibly could. I don’t think it’s any surprise per the rules that Reed [Richards] laid out that he caused an Incursion. So now there’s an oncoming collision of universes. But what does that mean for the MCU? We’ll find out. But we’ve got a semi-corrupted Doctor Strange and Clea on the case! So it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Could Romance Be in the Air for Stephen Strange?
As Waldron mentioned, Clea and Strange are something of an item in the pages of the comics. In the books, Clea was born out of pure energy and served as the ruler of the Dark Dimension for a time. She became the lover of Dr. Strange and the two eventually marry, with Clea even taking over Strange's role as the Sorcerer Supreme in his absence.
Of course, the MCU does not rigidly follow the comics, so it's possible that Clea's backstory has been altered for the movie. But one thing will very likely hold true and that's the romance between Strange and Clea. Dr. Christine Palmer, Strange's old flame and the woman he was pining for, is now happily married in the MCU. Not to mention that a Variant of Christine whom Stephen formed a connection with in the sequel, lives in another dimension from across the Multiverse. So, the good doctor is now very much "on the market." This provides ample opportunity to pair Cumberbatch's sorcerer with Clea.
Additionally, with Strange off gallivanting around the Dark Dimension, Wong, the Marvel Cinematic Universe's current Sorcerer Supreme, is now without his roommate! Will audiences be seeing even more of the fan-favorite Wong in the MCU going forward as he picks up the slack from the MIA Strange?
As mentioned above, incursions are what led to the comic book version of Secret Wars. It's very much worth mentioning that an adaptation of that storyline is heavily rumored to be coming to the MCU at some point. So fans will likely see more upcoming setup for what is sure to be Marvel Studios' next large-scale crossover film.
Marvel Studios' Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now playing only in theaters.