With Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, audiences have finally been able to explore the Multiverse properly with Benedict Cumberbatch's titular hero. It was a rocky road, no doubt, with Scarlet Witch destroying everything she could in her path—but nonetheless, it was great fun. While Loki, What If...?, and Spider-Man: No Way Home all had Multiversal elements, it's here with director Sam Raimi's film that audiences truly got to know the concept.
Warning - The rest of this article contains spoilers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
The last time fans saw Strange, he was busy rounding up all of Spider-Man's villains before they could wreak havoc on the 616-universe. Despite everything happening in the newly released movie, strangely enough, there aren't many references to Tom Holland's MCU outing.
One of the only nods was the moment in the pizza joint, where Strange mentioned how he had an incident with Spider-Man recently but avoided going into more detail with America Chavez. With how heavy into the Multiverse that story was, one would think No Way Home would come up a little more, even if Stephen doesn't remember Peter Parker.
Now, a Reddit user brought to attention a fun jab that Multiverse of Madness made at Spider-Man: No Way Home—one which also doubles as a dark parallel.
Doctor Strange Pokes at No Way Home
As pointed out by Reddit user /uMattApple13, the opening minutes of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness contained a fun reference to Spider-Man: No Way Home.
As Defender Strange and Chavez are running to the Book of Vishanti, he realizes he has to kill her and take America's Multiverse-jumping powers to keep them from falling into the wrong hands. However, the words he said next as he attempted to take those powers seemed quite familiar: “In the grand calculus of the multiverse, your sacrifice is worth more than — !”
The familiarity comes from how Universe 616's Strange muttered almost exactly the same phrase when trying to tell Peter it was wrong to try and change the fate of the villains trapped in his dungeon: “In the grand calculus of the multiverse, their sacrifice means infinitely more than their lives.”
The subversion of this line in Multiverse of Madness acts as an ironic twist on Strange's initial words, with Defender Strange humorously and horrifically being the one to make the sacrifice – even if he didn't intend for that to be the case. The Strange Variant certainly ate his own words, but it did inevitably lead to 616-Strange having the ability to dream walk at the end of the movie. So in many ways, his sacrifice did mean more than his life.
The Multiversal Doctor Strange Sentiment
Some may have found this to play as a dark humor moment. The fact that Defender Strange was killed moments after, saving Chavez from the fate he chose, could have read as twisting the line from Spider-Man: No Way Home on its head.
For others, it may have been a dark parallel to how Stephen Strange justifies some of those harder choices—whether one agrees with them or not. Clearly, at the end of Multiverse of Madness, it all worked out for Chavez; but by no means was it a guarantee.
As Marvel Studios aims to play around with the Multiverse more in its coming stories, hopefully, these parallels across universes can be explored with more characters down the line. Even the most drastically different Variants of any character are likely to hold common sentiments that their 616 counterparts have, but instead, have them warped in unique ways.
Maybe this will be something fans see explored as Loki enters its second season.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is playing in theaters worldwide.