After two years of delays due to a management change and COVID-19, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is finally set to hit theaters on May 6, 2022. The film is directed by Sam Raimi and stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, Rachael McAdams, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Xochitl Gomez. The film’s plot has been hidden for some time, but the basic premise is that Doctor Strange, with the help of old friends and new allies like multiverse teenager America Chavez, will cross the multiverse to face to a mysterious new threat.
The movie is the 28th installment in the MCU, and with the franchise recently adding the Disney+ series to the mix, that’s a lot of material to watch. Luckily the MCU has been very good at making standalone movies where you don’t have to watch every entry in the franchise to enjoy one, and the references and easter eggs are more of a reward than a chore. . That being said, it’s fun to get to know the inner workings of the MCU when watching one of its movies, because it makes the audience feel like they’re part of a shared cultural moment. For preparing Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madnesshere’s everything you need to watch to prepare.
The hero’s origin story is always a good place to start, and while the character has remained in the public consciousness by appearing in other characters’ movies, it’s been almost six years since the release of strange doctor. The film shows the character’s origin and also introduces other major characters who are set to return in the sequel like Wong, Baron Mordo, and Christine Palmer.
The other important thing to note is that the first reference to the MCU’s multiverse is in the film when The Ancient One shows the constant threats and worlds that wizards protect reality from. The “who are you in this vast multiverse” line seems to be the overarching thematic point of the sequel, as Doctor Strange will be up against other incarnations of himself, and what will set the MCU version apart.
Avengers Infinity War/Avengers Endgame
Although two separate films, Doctor Strange and Wanda are big elements of Avengers: Infinity War and both are cut at the end of the film, so they are not taken into account Avengers: Endgame until the end. Doctor Strange is a major role in Avengers: infinity war, as he warns Tony Stark about Thanos. Doctor Strange looks to the future and sees that the only way to beat Thanos is to give him the stone, paying in Avengers: Endgame when Tony sacrifices himself using the Gauntlet. Avengers: Endgame also gives audiences a glimpse into the power of wizards as they use their skills to open portals across the galaxy to transport heroes to battle Thanos and his army. By the end of the film, Doctor Strange has gone from his isolated solo cinematic adventure to a major member of the MCU, having ties to various heroes.
For Wanda, Avengers: Infinity War sees her having to sacrifice Vision to save the universe, only for the whole thing to mean nothing as Thanos uses the Time Stone to always retrieve Vision’s Soul Stone, and she has to watch him die twice. When she walks into Avengers: Endgame, the audience only gets a glimpse of her power, where she almost single-handedly destroys Thanos. The film ends with Wanda feeling lonely, setting the stage for her next adventure in the MCU.
The third Disney+ series to be released, Loki would technically be the first in an order to re-watch after Avengers: Endgame, as the series follows 2012’s Loki who escaped during The Avenger’s failed time theft. Loki is the series that really delves into the concept of the multiverse for the first time in the MCU. The series introduces the concept of variants through different versions of Loki, including Sylvie, Old Loki, Kid Loki, and Gator Loki.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness trailers and merchandise have already featured a few different variations of Doctor Strange. Both Loki and the next strange doctor movie are written by Michael Waldron, so there should be a fair amount of overlap between the two projects. At the end of the series, the one sacred timeline (the MCU) is shattered with the death of the One Who Remains and various branching realities fall apart, setting the stage for madness.
After years of being a supporting character, Wanda Maximoff finally takes center stage in her own series. Wanda Vision, which was the start of the MCU’s Phase 4 and the very first Disney+ series produced by Marvel Studios. The series focuses on Wanda and Vision living a happy life in the town of Westview, New Jersey, through the lens of various sitcom styles throughout television history. Still, viewers and other MCU characters wonder how this is possible when Vision is dead.
Wanda Vision is arguably the most vital piece to look at before Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madnessas Strange appears to find Wanda in the same remote cabin as the after-credit moment of Wanda Vision found the character reading the Darkhold, the Book of the Damned which could be an important part of the next film.
Wanda Vision fleshes out Wanda’s backstory that was discussed in Avengers: Age of Ultron, but here the audience can see various moments in Wanda’s life, such as the death of her parents, how she gained her powers, and ultimately how she becomes the Scarlet Witch, whose prophecy wants to destroy the world. The series also features Wanda’s twin sons, Billy and Tommy, who were spotted in the trailer for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madnessand seem to be Wanda’s main motivation in the film.
With the various branching timelines coming out of Loki, What if…? takes viewers through some of them and shows classic MCU stories, but how a minor change can alter the course of events. The series is a good first exposure to various parts of the multiverse for audiences, offering something both familiar and different. The first season consisted of nine episodes with different storylines, but the most important for the upcoming movie are probably episode one (“What if…Captain Carter was the First Avenger?”), episode four (” What if… Doctor Strange lost his heart instead of his hands?”) and episode five (“What if… zombies?!”).
The first episode introduces Captain Carter, a super-powered version of Peggy Carter who, in her timeline, becomes a super soldier instead of Steve Rogers. The latest TV spot from Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness seems to confirm that Captain Carter will appear in the film. Episode four features a Doctor Strange who goes evil, absorbing lifeforms for their power to save someone he loves and in the process destroying his universe, and although it seems the Sinister Strange variant shown in the film’s trailer to be different from the animated series, the episode provides audiences with exactly what could happen if someone as powerful as Doctor Strange were lost. Episode five is straightforward, as it’s an adaptation of Marvel Zombiesand trailers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness seem to point to a zombie version of Wanda Maximoff and Doctor Strange appearing in the film, which may confirm some opinions that this is the MCU’s first horror movie.
Spider-Man: No Coming Home
The highest-grossing movie of 2021 and one of the highest-grossing movies of all time, it’s a safe bet someone is going to see Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness saw Spider-Man: No Coming Home; if not, they need it. The film is the last important piece in the preparation of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Doctor Strange appears as a supporting character in the film and in an attempt to help Peter eventually fracture the multiverse, with various realities coming out.
While What if…? clearly established a multiverse that resembles the MCU, Spider-Man: No Coming Home made the two previous cinematic incarnations of Spider-Man, the Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield-directed trilogy amazing spider man movies, as part of the MCU multiverse. This lays the groundwork for all past Marvel adaptations that aren’t in the MCU to be somehow canon across the multiverse, which Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness seems to confirm with the appearance of Patrick Stewart as Professor X, having portrayed the character in 20th Century Fox x-men movies. This opens the door to the Multiverse to introduce a number of past Marvel characters.
Spider-Man: No Coming Homecoupled with the events of Loki and What if…? show a multiverse that is bleeding and fracturing at the seams, setting the stage for the events of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
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