Marvel fans were well fed on Super Bowl Sunday. The newest Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness trailer dropped and left the fandom speechless. In less than three minutes, the action-packed trailer managed to leave us with a mile-long list of questions and an even more intense burn of anticipation.
There’s a lot to cover, so let’s just hit the highlights.
Charles Xavier and the Illuminati
Baron Mordo (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor) says to Doctor Strange, “I’m sorry, Stephen. You’re desecration of reality will not go unpunished.” We then see Doctor Strange being escorted by what looks like Ultron bots to a large room with a council that will most likely charge Strange with his crimes against the multiverse (as seen in Spider-Man: No Way Home). While the faces of the council are not revealed, there was a distinctly familiar voice that said, “We should tell him the truth.”
That voice — as I’m sure you know — was Sir Patrick Stewart. If you aren’t already all caught up, Stewart played Professor X in 20th Century Fox’s X-Men movies. This has led many Marvel fans to believe that the hidden council is none other than the Illuminati. No, not the one that we think Beyoncé and Jay-Z sold their souls to.
I’m talking about the one that is comprised of Iron Man, Namor, Black Bolt, Doctor Strange, Professor X, and Reed Richards. This group of heroes mainly deal with conflicts within the multiverse and with talks of introducing Namor in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Reed Richards and the Fantastic Four in a future Fantastic Four project, and (hopefully some point soon) the X-Men, it makes for a very good argument that we will be seeing this group of multiverse heroes briefly introduced in Doctor Strange 2 as a warm-up.
The suspicion of the Illuminati’s appearance tracks for a couple of pretty solid reasons. Not only is Sir Patrick Stewart confirmed to reprise his role as Professor Charles Xavier, but Strange is also a part of this council in the comics. Also, there have been rumors that Tom Cruise is set to play a Tony Stark/Iron Man variant as well as John Krasinski appearing as Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic. While there is a very good chance that Cruise and Krasinski’s cameos are as variants of the famed superheroes, fans couldn’t be happier with the thought of resurrecting Tony Stark and casting Krasinski as Mr. Fantastic.
Since last year’s premiere of What If…? on Disney+ in August, we have all been asking the same thing — is What If…? MCU canon? If you’re familiar with the comics, the “What If?” series was meant as one-off stories that weren’t canon to character stories but rather a fun off-shoot involving a mash-up of our favorite Marvel characters. This led many of us to believe that the MCU would follow suit, using What If…? as something to pass the time while we waited for upcoming movies and other supplemental MCU Disney+ series.
Well, Marvel Studios pulled a fast one because based on the most recent trailer, it looks like What If…? is MCU canon. You thought things were going to get crazy because of evil Doctor Strange? Let’s take it a step further with — get this — Captain Carter. If you take a look at the most recent Doctor Strange 2 poster, you’ll see a reflection of Captain Carter’s shield in the most bottom right shard of glass.
Who’s fighting Wanda?
In the trailer, there’s a brief glimpse of a fiery being going head-to-head with Wanda. This unknown opponent could be a few different people. Some people think that it’s the Fantastic Four’s very own Johnny Storm (aka Human Torch) just off the red and blue visuals alone. But I think we could see one of three characters instead.
My first guess is Superior Iron Man. Looking at the Ultron bots earlier in the trailer, the design looks strikingly similar to Superior Iron Man. A clue? Possibly. Now hear me out, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is just that — a multiverse of madness. It wouldn’t surprise me if the most evil and vile version of Tony Stark popped up. This iteration of Stark makes the MCU Tony Stark look like an angel. In the comics, Superior Iron Man releases the Extremis Virus 3.0 (a healing serum that essentially provides physical perfection). The public becomes addicted to the serum and then become almost immediately deprived of any further “upgrades” unless they pay a $100/day fee. Superior Iron Man goes as far as offering Extremis 3.0 to Daredevil — who had tried to stop Stark from “playing God”, curing him of his blindness and causing him a lifelong pain of knowing what life would be like if he could see.
My second guess is Nova. Speculation around Nova’s debut aren’t new whatsoever. Many have suspected his MCU debut to be in 2023’s Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 3 but similar to the Illuminati, this could just be another tactic to somewhat acquaint us with a variant of the new character before we meet him next year.
The last guess I have is Jean Grey from the X-Men. It seems like anytime Charles Xavier needs the big guns to come out, he employs the help of Omega-level mutant Jean Grey. Talks of Game of Thrones actor Sophie Turner reprising her role as a young Jean Grey have been nonstop. Similar to Wanda, Jean Grey is extremely powerful and wildly unstable. As of right now, Wanda is the most powerful being in the MCU and I can’t think of anyone better to face her than the Dark Phoenix.
Wanda’s breaking point
“You break the rules and become a hero. I do it, I become the enemy. That doesn’t seem fair…”
Since Avengers: Age of Ultron, we have seen Wanda Maximoff’s sanity chip away piece-by-piece. Since her breaking point in WandaVision, it’s clear that her identity as Wanda Maximoff — a Sokovian girl who loved old American sitcoms — has nearly vanished and she is now fully consumed with the pain and nearly limitless power of the Scarlet Witch. We are slowly (and sadly, surely) seeing Wanda’s transformation into a villain in the MCU. She has a deadly combination up her sleeve of having nothing to lose and enough power to manipulate, create, and destroy realities.
There’s a lot to process and digest after this trailer so don’t feel too crazy for not being able to wrap your mind around it. The introduction of the multiverse in the MCU is meant to open doors to unlimited possibilities. This film is meant to usher us into a small part of something a lot bigger.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will be in theaters May 6, 2022.
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Photos via Marvel