One of the biggest debates in Marvel fandom is an important one: who are the most important characters in the MCU? The two top contenders are either Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch or Brie Larson's Captain Marvel. After all, Wanda nearly killed Thanos herself, and Carol Danvers was able to hold her own in a one-on-one fight with the Mad Titan.
However, power isn't everything. While Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark was never one of the most powerful characters in the MCU, he was still one of the most important. Benedict Cumberbatch's hero seems to be stepping into a similar role, with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige even saying that his Doctor Strange is "the anchor of the Marvel Cinematic Universe."
Now, within the audio commentary of the good doctor's recently released sequel film, the creatives behind Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness have revealed who they think are two of the most important heroes of Marvel's current Phase 4.
Marvel Phase 4's Lead Characters
During the audio commentary for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, some of the creative team discussed two of the most important heroes of Phase 4, and how one of them fell from grace for understanding and sympathetic reasons.
While watching the Kamar Taj action sequence, Marvel producer Richie Palmer stated that "if Doctor Strange is the anchor of the MCU of Phase 4, then Wanda Maximoff is the jewel in the crown," indicating that, in Marvel Studios' minds, Stephen Strange and Wanda Maximoff are the two lead characters of the MCU's first post-Infinity Saga phase:
"Yeah, it’s crazy to see Wanda act like this for the first time, it’s so exciting. And for fans of the comics, we were so excited to bring this to screen and finally deliver on the promise. Once you introduce the character of the Scarlet Witch, even before she was the Scarlet Witch, we introduced her in Age of Ultron, there was always the hope that we can bring her to this place of her doing things like [infiltrating Kamar Taj]. And it’s really exciting, and she is the best. If Doctor Strange is the anchor of the MCU of Phase 4, then Wanda Maximoff is the jewel in the crown."
During the meeting of Elizabeth Olsen and Benedict Cumberbatch in the apple orchard, Michael Waldron, the writer for the film, noted how it was "such an exciting scene for fans to finally get [Strange and Wanda] on screen together," and that both of them are "big contenders... [as] the most powerful [people] in the MCU:"
“Such an exciting scene for fans to finally get these two on-screen together. A lot of times they debate who’s the most powerful person in the MCU. These are two big contenders for it, right here.”
Sam Raimi, the director of Multiverse of Madness, pointed out how their test audiences "[were] not used to seeing their hero Wanda" as the bad guy:
“I think this really hit our test audience in a strong, good way, this scene that you wrote, because they’re not used to seeing their hero Wanda turn to the side of evil. It really is a powerful choice, to watch one of the heroes fall.”
Despite her turn, Palmer made it clear how "[they] love Wanda, [and didn't] want to see her go through the pain she's gone through:"
“I’m also not sure they’re ready to see our hero, Doctor Strange, be put in such a position where he’s being confronted with that from her. ‘You gave up the Time Stone, and look what it did to me, Strange.’ We love Wanda, we don’t want to see her go through the pain she’s gone through. And you could lead it all back to that moment.”
Waldron sided with Wanda in that "[she was] making some pretty sound points here," even though she was certainly going about it in the wrong manner:
“Yeah, I would argue Wanda is making some pretty sound points here, and I think that makes for the best villains, the villains you could really believe are the heroes of their own story. Erik Killmonger, Thanos, Loki.”
Raimi complimented Waldron's work, saying how he "made our villain a human being... with motives we understand:"
“I think that was one of [Michael Waldron's] finest accomplishments with the script, was that you made our villain a human being, and with motives we understand. And if not root for her, we can empathize with her.”
What's Next for the Two Main Heroes?
After the events of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, there's no denying the importance of the Scarlet Witch in MCU. Not only is she clearly one of, if not the, most powerful character in Marvel's ever-expanding roster, but she's also destined to do some gnarly things.
In WandaVision, Agatha Harkness warns her how she will end the world one day—an event that has not yet come to pass. Could she be the one to set off the potential Secret Wars project? It would make perfect sense given the recklessness showcased in the most recent film.
As for Strange, his importance was never in question—particularly when he was the Sorcerer Supreme. While he may have lost the official title, for all intents and purposes, he still occupies those expectations within the MCU. After all, right now he's currently out with Charlize Theron's Clea saving Earth-616 (or some other reality) from an Incursion.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now on streaming Disney+.