February 15, 2022 8 min read
During the 2022 Super Bowl, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness got a full trailer, revealing many new details about the plot and characters. As the multiverse becomes more prominent in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the upcoming Doctor Strange sequel will once again put the concept front and centre, continuing story threads from the first film and Spider-Man: No Way Home, as well as the MCU’s Disney+ shows. Not only will the Doctor Strange 2 Super Bowl trailer feature monsters and Doctor Strange variants, but it also feature at least one familiar face from another Marvel film franchise.
While Doctor Strange became a sorcerer in his first solo outing, he cemented his position as Master of the Mystic Arts in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, where he proved invaluable to The Avengers in their battles against Thanos. Doctor Strange 2 will present Stephen Strange with his greatest challenge yet, as the ramifications of his universe-altering spell in No Way Home will put his reality and the reality of others in jeopardy once more. Doctor Strange, on the other hand, won’t be alone.
Wanda Maximoff, now known as the Scarlet Witch, will appear alongside Doctor Strange and Wong. She is still coming to terms with her heartbreaking character arc in WandaVision. America Chavez, a Marvel Comics superhero from another reality who becomes a defender of the mainstream universe, will also make her MCU debut in Doctor Strange 2. With the multiverse reopened, it’s not surprising that at least one Doctor Strange variant, known to comic fans as Defender Strange, will assist the mainstream version as well.
The Doctor Strange 2 trailer begins with Benedict Cumberbatch’s Stephen Strange speaking of a reoccurring nightmare where he sees a dilapidated Sanctum Sanctorum surrounded by skeletal remains. The film is said to be the MCU’s first foray into the horror genre, as well as Sam Raimi’s return to superhero adaptations. Raimi is well-known among Marvel fans for his phenomenal Spider-Man trilogy, but he’s also celebrated for his work in the horror genre, particularly the Evil Dead films. This is presumably a glimpse into the Nightmare Dimension, rather than a figment of Strange’s imagination.
The magical realm of Kamar-Taj appears to be under attack from a dark force throughout the Doctor Strange 2 trailer. This manifests itself at one point as a black cloud descending on the Master of the Mystic Arts’ temple-like home, and sadly, the battle does not appear to be going in favour of the sorcerers as explosions rip through the scenes.
The first shot of the new debuting Marvel hero America Chavez reveals her multiversal abilities in the form of a star-shaped portal torn in the fabric of the universe behind her as she is bound by what appears to be Doctor Strange’s Crimson Bands of Cyttorak spell. The restraints, upon closer inspection, belong to a mysterious multiversal demon.
A multiversal monster restrains America Chavez early in the Super Bowl trailer, which appears to take place within Stephen Strange’s nightmare. It’s unclear how Doctor Strange 2 will alter America Chavez’s origin, but she clearly has her own powers and appears to be traversing the multiverse on her own. However, Chavez is seen throughout the rest of the trailer, displaying her super strength from the comics. Chavez, who will be played by Xochitl Gomez, also has the abilities of flight, enhanced durability, and interdimensional travel.
Defender Strange, a new multiverse variant, appears to be sucked through one of America Chavez’s portals in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment. He appears to be another multiverse identity for Benedict Cumberbatch’s sorcerer, wearing a new costume and having distinctive white strips in his hair. The gash on his forehead suggests that he, too, will be fighting the monster that kidnaps Chavez. The Doctor Strange 2 Super Bowl TV commercial also featured a closer look at Defender Strange.
The trailer also explains that, despite Doctor Strange’s repairs to reality in No Way Home, his botched spell to make the world forget about Peter Parker’s secret identity had a lasting impact on the multiverse. Spider-villains, Man’s as well as other Peter Parker variants, were drawn into the mainstream MCU, but other threats may have slipped through the cracks of the multiverse as well. Whatever harm the Green Goblin caused when he destroyed Doctor Strange’s Macchina di Kadavus may have also harmed the multiverse.
The trailer also shows Stephen Strange’s friend, colleague, and love interest, Dr Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams), possibly marrying (with Strange not being the groom). Given that Strange died during Thanos’ Snap and wasn’t resurrected for another five years, Palmer could have survived and moved on. The scene is most likely set early in the film before the monstrous entities from the multiverse infiltrate Strange’s reality.
In a trailer with many firsts this one is special — Rintrah, a Minotaur-like creature, is depicted alongside the other Masters of the Mystic Arts as a foreboding cloud gathers around them. Rintrah is a Doctor Strange comic book supporting character who briefly served as Strange’s apprentice. It’s unclear how significant a role Rintrah will play in Doctor Strange 2. Rintrah, like America Chavez, comes from another world in the comics. Given that the Masters of the Mystic Arts derive their powers from alternate realities, it’s not surprising that one of their members comes from a different universe even before Strange unleashes the multiverse.
While some may believe that Strange being forced to stand trial for his crimes after simply attempting to help Peter Parker get into college is a bit much, the consequences of that fateful No Way Home spell are already clear. The sorcerer is shackled in high-tech shackles, implying that there is another police force protecting the timelines, ostensibly with even more power than the TVA. For the time being, their identity appears to be unknown.
Doctor Strange is led through what appears to be a facility owned by whoever has arrested him — presumably Mordo, based on his voiceover — but his former friend’s voiceover has intriguing implications. Strange’s desecration of reality, according to Mordo, will not go unpunished. Mordo may be referring to his own judgement, but he could also be referring to the Time Variance Authority, which monitors and neutralises multiversal threats. Strange’s actions would undoubtedly qualify, and Loki characters are rumoured to appear in Doctor Strange 2.
Mordo appears to have kidnapped Doctor Strange and restrained him with a squad of what appear to be Tony Stark’s Iron Legion drones, albeit with a more Ultron-like appearance. It remains to be seen whether they were reprogrammed after the Sokovian battle, but it appears more likely that these drones are in the service of security and protection and were brought here from a timeline in which Ultron was never able to corrupt them. That would be exciting if it hinted at the return of Iron Man to the MCU.
Doctor Strange 2 appears to include the debut of the Illuminati, the supremely powerful group of superheroes charged by their founder — Tony Stark — with collectively protecting the universe. It appears that the remit has been expanded in this version to include protecting the entire multiverse. For the time being, the members are mostly unknown, but Mordo appears to be one of them.
Sir Patrick Stewart returns as Professor Charles Xavier, also known as Professor X, which is easily the most shocking and exciting moment of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness trailer. Stewart’s portrayal of the X-Men founder first appeared in the 2000 film X-Men by 20th Century Fox. Given the multiverse premise of Doctor Strange 2 and the multiverse heroes and villains in No Way Home, Stewart reprising his iconic role in the MCU isn’t surprising. While Stewart’s voice is unmistakable in the Doctor Strange 2 trailer, the footage doesn’t provide a clear look at Professor X, possibly saving it for another trailer or the film’s theatrical release.
A brief flash shows Cumberbatch’s sorcerer succumbing to a particularly painful-looking reality-bending spell in another nightmarish sequence reminiscent of Doctor Strange’s forced epiphany moment when Strange sprouted many tiny hands. It’s unclear how it happens, but the block head effect is a stunning demonstration of how far the effects team is pushing Sam Raimi’s sequel.
As revealed in the first Doctor Strange teaser at the end of No Way Home, an evil variant of Stephen Strange will appear in Doctor Strange 2. It’s unclear whether this evil Strange will be the same variant seen in Marvel’s What If…?, Strange Supreme, or a new variant. Strange Supreme redeemed himself in the What If…? season finale, making this Strange variant a potential ally. Doctor Strange battling a sinister version of himself will make for an exciting and surreal sequence in either case.
A glowing human figure flies through a kaleidoscopic plane of reality later in the trailer. Some may suspect that this figure is the Human Torch or another Doctor Strange comic book character. With the multiverse reactivated, the figure could be a hero from another reality, such as Professor X from the Fox X-Men films, but there’s a good chance it’s Monica Rambeau in her full multiverse Captain Marvel variant look.
Gargantos, a gargantuan tentacled monster, is also shown in the trailer. At various points in the trailer, Gargantos is seen fighting America Chavez and throwing a bus at Doctor Strange. While Gargantos is most likely a monster from another dimension in Doctor Strange’s Multiverse of Madness, the creature is a comic book foe of Namor the Sub-Mariner. The inclusion of Gargantos in Doctor Strange 2 fuels speculation that Namor will make his MCU debut in Phase 4.
Wanda Maximoff, played by Elizabeth Olsen, returns to her and Vision’s home in Westview, despite WandaVision’s destruction at the end of Phase 4. Wanda, now the Scarlet Witch, continues her comparison with Doctor Strange by stating that when she broke the rules, she was viewed as a villain. Although Maximoff was understandably distraught over Vision’s death, she did control the minds of an entire town, causing unimaginable pain and loss of agency, so it’s not unreasonable for her victims to demonise her. Despite this, Strange’s actions have the potential to destroy the multiverse, but he is not portrayed as a villain. Maximoff’s role in Doctor Strange 2 may not be as Strange’s ally.
One of the trailer’s final shots depicts an unsettling image of what appears to be yet another Doctor Strange variant. This Stephen Strange appears to have merged with shadowy creatures from another universe, corrupting him and turning him into a zombie. While this zombie Doctor Strange is most likely a variant, he could be the mainstream version in some form of torture or corruption. This moment, like the rest of the new character and story reveals in the Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness trailer, teases an entertainingly horrific second solo outing for Doctor Strange.
Doctor Strange is shown gazing at a statue of himself near the end of the trailer, while Wanda Maximoff’s voice scoffs at Strange being viewed as a hero when he breaks the rules. Strange maybe looking at New York City long after he dies if he travels through time as well as the multiverse. Strange will be remembered as a hero after his death, despite his reckless and potentially disastrous actions, if the statue is any indication.