The biggest Marvel Studios film since Avengers: Endgame is about to release and everyone’s minds are working overtime trying to figure out who the real big bad is. We were led to believe that it would be the Scarlet Witch (played by Elizabeth Olsen). That seemed like the perfect big bad, right? After the events in WandaVision, the Scarlet Witch has finally arrived and she is seconds away from being fully unhinged (the loss of your romantic partner and “children” will do that to you).
As time has passed, I’ve been thinking — what if we are being misdirected? Marvel Studios has never shied away from inserting filler scenes to throw off the scent and I would not put it past them to do it again for this big and bold project. Let’s be honest here, it would be such a waste to give away the big bad in the trailers. I’m not saying that the Scarlet Witch isn’t going to try to pull something funny or have some semblance of a mental breakdown (because she probably will). However, I do think that there’s a larger picture involved and when it comes to the MCU, isn’t there always a bigger picture?
So who could the actual big bad be? Nightmare. Let’s quickly review the first twenty seconds of the Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness trailer. Before we see anything, Doctor Strange (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) says, “Every night, I dream the same dream. And then…the nightmare begins.” Doctor Strange isn’t the only character to mention a “nightmare.” Wanda Maximoff says the same line. “Every morning, the same nightmare,” the Scarlet Witch says in a voice over. I’ve said this many times and I’ll say it until its collapse, everything in the MCU has its purpose.
Who is Nightmare?
In the context of the MCU, Nightmare is a huge question mark. However, in the comics, Nightmare is a huge menace. He’s a frequent foe of Doctor Strange and is basically the Freddy Krueger of the Marvel Comics universe.
Nightmare appeared in the very first Doctor Strange story, 1963’s Strange Tales #110. Born in the realm called the Everinnye, Nightmare is a demon that rules over the Dream Dimension, where many tortured humans wander during their slumber. In Nightmare’s origin story, a troubled man came to Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum for help with his night terrors. Strange astral projects into the man’s unconscious mind, where he encountered his Nightmare in the dream realm.
Nightmare’s primary power (in the Marvel comics) is that he can infect the dreams of just about anyone, corrupting them from the inside. He can also literally take over the bodies of others by infecting their dreams. Additionally, if he chooses to, Nightmare has the ability to trap someone’s dream soul in his realm and torment them for all time.
Given his power are incredibly strong, it has its limits. He once tried to trap the conscious world into his realm, which resulted in failure. Although Doctor Strange is Nightmare’s primary archenemy, due of the nature of his power, Nightmare has fought against nearly every major Marvel hero from Spider-Man to Captain America and even the most psychically shielded and divinely protected Moon Knight.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will premiere exclusively in theaters on May 6, 2022.
Photos via Marvel/RealD 3D