Spider-Man: No Way Home has been breaking milestones left and right since its release one week ago today! From box office pandemic records to becoming the highest audience-rated movie of all time on Rotten Tomatoes, Spider-Man: No Way Home is on a roll. Spider-Man also just accomplished a big milestone related to Disney+ that fans have been clamoring for years!
One distinction this film boasts more than most of its Phase 4 counterparts is a wealth of direct connections to projects that came before it as well as those that will come after. This comes largely due to its use of the Multiverse, which comes after the Summer 2021 Disney+ series, Loki, and prior to 2022's blockbuster theatrical movie, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
While Stephen Strange's role in this movie paled in comparison to his previously non-MCU counterparts, the Sorcerer Supreme is set for a key role in next year's solo sequel alongside Elizabeth Olsen's Wanda Maximoff. No Way Home even did something that no other MCU movie has done by tying back to Maximoff's last entry from early 2021.
Spider-Man 3 to Disney+ to Doctor Strange 2
WARNING: The rest of this article contains spoilers for Spider-Man: No Way Home.
The second post-credits scene from Spider-Man: No Way Home showcased the first footage from 2022's Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
In this scene, when Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange reunited with Elizabeth Olsen's Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch begins by acknowledging the Westview anomaly she caused in WandaVision, which premiered on Disney+ in January 2021.
Stephen Strange: "Wanda..."
Wanda Maximoff: "Oh, I knew sooner or later you'd show up. I made mistakes and people were hurt."
Strange: "I'm not here to talk about Westview."
This is the first time a Marvel Studios movie has directly referenced the events of an MCU Disney+ series, following No Way Home's opening scene that indirectly acknowledged Hawkeye's premiere with a Rogers: The Musical Easter Egg.
This is great news for fans who have always wanted Marvel Television shows to connect with the MCU movies. Marvel Television, before Disney+, has made some of the best Marvel content to date, from Daredevil to Agents of SHIELD. The connections between Marvel TV and the MCU movies, however, have been little to non-existent.
Marvel Studios' plans with Disney+ were to further connect their television shows and movies, better than the Marvel Television connections of old. Feige has promised that the MCU Disney+ shows are essential for fully understanding the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Doctor Strange 2 seems to be the first time where those MCU Disney+ connections will start to pay off in a big way. Wanda's journey through WandaVision will have a direct impact on her character in Multiverse of Madness, and the events of WandaVision (specifically about Westview) also seem to have an impact on the Doctor Strange sequel.
Which MCU movie will connect to Disney+ next?
The obvious answer is the very next MCU movie coming out! Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is likely the next MCU movie that will directly reference the MCU Disney+ shows, specifically WandaVision. Probably for the first time since the MCU Disney+ shows started with WandaVision, it will be necessary to be caught up with the TV shows to fully understand the MCU movies.
However, there is a chance Doctor Strange 2 won't be the first movie to reference the TV shows. There is an outside chance that Morbius will reference the MCU TV shows!
Originally planned to release this month in January, Morbius is now coming out on April 1st, 2022. Likely, the Moon Knight Disney+ show will premiere before that time, close to when The Book of Boba Fett finishes. There is a chance given the similar worlds of Morbius and Moon Knight that the Morbius movie could reference the Moon Knight Disney+ show.
Spider-Man Truly Connecting the MCU
Although the MCU has been utilizing Disney+ for all of 2021, delivering five unique series that tie directly into the franchise's past events, this post-credits tease marks a new and unique moment in MCU history.
While she was first introduced in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney+, Julia Louis-Dreyfus' Valentina Allegra de Fontaine came back in the post-credits scene of Black Widow alongside Florence Pugh's Yelena Belova. However, she didn't specifically touch on the fact that she'd met John Walker, mention what she did for her job, or anything along those lines.
The Multiverse of Madness trailer notably concluded with a shocking assertion from Mordo telling Strange that, "The greatest threat to our universe is you." before fans are sown their first live-action look at Supreme Strange. While this more-evil, alternate reality version of Doctor Strange first appeared in the tragic Episode 4 of What If...?, it's unclear if the sequel will reference any of the events from the animated series, although rumor has it that Hayley Atwell's Captain Carter could be making a Multiversal comeback in live-action.
Other than this, no other Disney+ show event has been directly acknowledged on the big screen. Although it was almost a given that this would happen with WandaVision and Doctor Strange 2, to see it happen in the movie's first full look is a truly monumental moment.
The big question now is just how much time Doctor Strange 2 will spend looking back at the events of WandaVision, especially since Wanda is the biggest supporting character in May's Multiversal blockbuster. Regardless, this connection comes as something that Marvel Studios has never done before, and it should be just the start of more of a truly interconnected universe between the movies and the TV series.
Spider-Man: No Way Home is currently playing in theaters. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is set for theatrical release on May 6, 2022.