The Radio Times logo

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness release date, cast, trailer and plot

Everything you need to know about the return of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sorcerer Supreme. **CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR DOCTOR STRANGE 2 AND SPIDER-MAN NO WAY HOME**

Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Marvel Studios
Published: Friday, 6th May 2022 at 2:37 pm
Subscribe to Radio Times magazine and get 12 issues for £1

Marvel’s hectic new adventure is finally upon us.

Advertisement

While Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange has appeared in the likes of Spider-Man: No Way Home and the last two Avengers movies, it has been a whopping six years since his first solo feature.

But now Marvel’s sorcerer is back to tackle the consequences of breaking the doors open to the multiverse.

When a powerful new enemy is unleashed, Strange must team up with old and new allies, including Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and a troubled new young character, America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez).

Marvel has released the final Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness trailer, offering a recap of Strange and Wanda’s MCU journeys up to this point as well as a glimpse of the battles to come from the sequel.

A previous trailer gave fans further confirmation that Sir Patrick Stewart’s Professor X will be in the movie, as he says: “We will see what kind of Doctor Strange you are.”

The presence of Stewart had already been teased multiple times in trailers and posters for the movie, but the new teaser leaves no doubt, with his voice indistinguishable this time around.

However, it’s the confirmation of two big character cameos in the teaser that has really got fans excited. Read more on this surprise development below.

It’s safe to say that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is jam-packed with action and all kinds of wild developments for the future of the MCU, with the upcoming sequel set to link to a number of Marvel’s other Phase 4 releases including WandaVision and Loki and have major ramifications for other upcoming Marvel movies.

Doctor Strange 2 was supposed to arrive on 25th March 2022, but has been delayed for a third time until later in the year.

So, without further ado, here’s everything we know so far about Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Though be warned: spoilers follow.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness release date

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness YouTube/Marvel Studios

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was released in UK cinemas on Thursday 5th May 2022.

The much-anticipated project started filming in London in late 2020 and wrapped its shoot in April 2021, but was later undergoing reshoots, according to Marvel executive Victoria Alonso.

Appearing on the red carpet for Spider-Man: No Way Home, Alonso revealed that reshoots are almost finished.

"No, we haven't [finished Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness]. That's the next one," she told a reporter for Variety. "We're shooting additional photography, and we're almost done. Listen, there's so much to come. You and I are going to be chatting the whole year."

The release date for the film has been moved twice along with the entire Marvel Phase 4 slate due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

After its original release date of November 2021, Doctor Strange 2 was then set to release on 25th March 2022 before being moved once again to May next year.

On the latest delay, that has affected all MCU movies out next year, Kevin Feige said to Variety: "It's production shifts and changes, and because we have so many slots, we can just shift slots. So all the Marvel slots are the same, we're just shifting the movies coming out.

"And yes, Strange has moved six weeks, so instead of there being three months between Marvel movies, there'll be five months between Marvel movies, and I think that we can all handle that."

The plot of the movie will pick up directly after the events of Disney Plus series WandaVision, which had initially been intended to air just a few months before the release of Doctor Strange 2.

In the meantime, why not take on a movie marathon and watch all the Marvel movies in order?

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness cast

The following individuals have been confirmed for the central Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness cast.

  • Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Stephen Strange
  • Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor as Karl Mordo
  • Benedict Wong as Wong
  • Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez
  • Michael Stuhlbarg as Dr Nicodemus West
  • Rachel McAdams as Dr Christine Palmer

Aside from the obvious return of Benedict Cumberbatch as the sorcerer supreme Doctor Strange, the big news from Comic-Con 2019 was that Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch will feature in the film.

Producer Kevin Feige revealed that her Disney+ streaming show WandaVision will link directly to the plot of Doctor Strange 2.

Both Cumberbatch and Olsen appear to be playing at least more than one variant of their characters.

The first trailer for the sequel has confirmed that Rachel McAdams will be reprising her role as Strange's former partner Dr Christine Palmer, alongside Xochitl Gomez as new inter-dimensional heroine America Chavez.

Benedict Wong will also be back as Wong, Strange's most trusted friend and the new sorcerer supreme who helps protect the universe from magical threats.

Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch and bathed in red light while talking to Doctor Strange
Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness YouTube/Marvel Studios

Wong also sang the praises of the different energy that Raimi brings to the set, saying to Collider: "I like throwing alts, and he likes them, so we just have a bit of a laugh. I just throw anything at the wall, and sometimes it will fall down and sometimes it'll stick. It's amazing, the creative process."

“I think he has an incredible mind, and I think that he really is able to bring that mind into his storytelling in a really unique way. And it’s very very suited to the world that has been created in Doctor Strange.

He added: "I’m excited to see what he does with that world, and where he takes it."

Elsewhere, Chiwetel Ejiofor will likewise return as the now-villainous Karl Mordo and recently expressed his excitement about working with iconic director Sam Raimi.

“I love Sam Raimi, so I’m very excited that he’s making the film, the second Doctor Strange,” he told RadioTimes.com and other press. “To anything that he does, he just brings a wealth of imagination and passion."

Could Ejiofor also be portraying multiple versions of Mordo?

Christine Palmer in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Christine Palmer in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Marvel Studios

Finally, Call Me By Your Name actor Michael Stuhlbarg will reprise his role as Strange's former colleague and professional rival Dr Nicodemus West.

Will West be present at Palmer's wedding? Could he even be marrying Palmer? We're sure Strange would shudder at the thought.

For full spoilers on the surprise cameos, see below.

What is Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness about?

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Marvel Entertainment/YouTube

Doctor Stephen Strange will team up with Scarlet Witch to face multiple dangers as the multiverse breaks down. Scarlet Witch's role in the film and her future beyond it has emerged in a huge Marvel leak.

More like this

As if Karl Mordo wasn't bad enough to deal with, we have various monsters and villains appearing - including an evil Doctor Stephen Strange!

We doubt this will be easy.

According to a listing from Production Weekly, the plot will follow Dr. Stephen Strange as he continues his research on the Time Stone after the events of Avengers: Endgame, before an old friend turned enemy shows up, messing with the plan and causing him "to unleash an unspeakable evil".

While he was still attached as director, Scott Derrickson had revealed that the sequel would play up “the gothic [and] the horror” of Doctor Strange's world, and speaking at the New York Film Academy, Marvel's Kevin Feige explained that while the film won't be strictly horror, “it’ll be a big MCU film with scary sequences in it".

"I mean, there are horrifying sequences in Raiders [of the Lost Ark] that I as a little kid would [cover my eyes] when their faces melted... It’s fun to be scared in that way, and not a horrific, torturous way, but a way that is legitimately scary," he added.

While Derrickson is no longer involved in the project, it doesn't seem to have diverted completely from that original pitch, with co-star Elizabeth Olsen having recently described it as "bonkers", and adding that: "They're definitely going for that horror show vibe."

While some fans were disappointed that they didn't get to see Cumberbatch and Olsen share the screen in WandaVision, the former Sherlock star has teased that their impending team-up will be worth the wait.

"That would've been fun," he told Jake's Takes about a potential WandaVision cameo. "But, ah hell, you know. That's all to come... It's very exciting."

In an interview with Collider, Cumberbatch went on to discuss how Multiverse of Madness is enriching his character, with the guidance of legendary director Sam Raimi.

"Our origin stories, I guess, and obviously the beasts that were the Avengers films to be a part of were a thrill, but you're kind of just along for the ride," he said. "You do the best with what you've already got given to do.

"The second time around, there's a bit more of, 'So, what do you want to do, and how do we go about solving this?' So it feels very creative. Scarily so, sometimes."

We have known for some time that the end of WandaVision would serve as a precursor to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Speaking at a virtual Paley Dialogue session last month, producer Kevin Feige said that Doctor Strange 2 will be an “evolution” of the story explored in WandaVision – but not the end of it.

“That’s the first place where that story will continue but there will be other places,” he teased.

What troubles could Wanda bring to Doctor Strange’s doorstep?

Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch with a bloody face and red energy emerging from her hand
Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff Marvel/YouTube

Speaking to Empire, the film's producer Richie Palmer teased: "I don’t know who’s more powerful than Wanda.

"Meeting the Wanda Maximoff at the end of Endgame would have been a lot for Strange. Who comes out on top as the most powerful being in the universe? Maybe we find out at the end of the movie."

Meanwhile, Loki has also aired since a six-episode run that might well have torn apart the Marvel Universe as we know it, with the series finale creating a chaotic multiverse that seems intrinsically linked to the title of Strange’s upcoming sequel.

Loki writer Michael Waldron has admitted that the next Doctor Strange movie, which he also co-wrote, will “clean up the mess” caused by the God of Mischief’s antics at the TVA.

During an interview with Vanity Fair, Waldron added: “I can tell you that it’s a ride…very Sam Raimi. The film is incredibly visually thrilling. John Mathieson, our DP [director of photography], who shot Gladiator and Logan — I think the look of it is going to be unlike anything you’ve seen in the MCU before.”

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness trailers

The first official teaser trailer for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was released in December 2021.

The second Spider-Man: No Way Home end credits scene was a full-length trailer for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, giving us a first look at the fallout of Strange’s latest disastrous spell, which nearly tore open the multiverse at the end of No Way Home.

Now, the full trailer has been released online on social media and YouTube for all fans to enjoy.

The trailer kicks off with a voiceover from Baron Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) as he recalls his warning in Strange’s first solo film that magical recklessness “will not go unpunished".

We also get a first glimpse of Rachel McAdams as Dr Christine Palmer, Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch, Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez and even Doctor Strange’s nemesis, Shuma Gorath.

The trailer ends with a big revelation as Mordo steps aside to reveal the so-called “evil Doctor Strange”. Why not check out an earlier theory of ours for more information on evil Doctor Strange.

For more information about the trailer, read our guide to the Spider-Man: No Way Home end credits scenes.

The first proper trailer landed on 13th February 2022, featuring a disembodied voice cameo – seemingly Sir Patrick Stewart as his iconic X-Men character Professor X.

The context of this makes it even more exciting, with it looking like the MCU is about to introduce its very own version of the Illuminati.

A week before the movie's May release date, a TV spot confirmed the appearances of Maria Rambeau's Captain Marvel and Peggy Carter's Captain Carter in the movie.

The footage shows Rambeau's Captain Marvel firing Photon Blasts in someone's direction, though it’s unclear who she’s aiming for, as well as Captain Carter being forced back by a powerful Scarlet Witch attack.

The short promotional video was uploaded to YouTube on Thursday (28th April) and, though it has since been deleted, was re-uploaded to Twitter by various fans. Watch below:

As detailed above, a final trailer has now landed, giving viewers a look at Strange and Wanda's MCU journeys up to this point and teasing battles to come from the sequel.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness poster

Doctor Strange fans can now feast their eyes on a dark multiverse-themed poster for the new film.

The poster seen above features both Doctor Stephen Strange and Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff as they team up for the new adventure.

Will they stay allies or could the dark events within the film rip the pair apart?

Who is directing Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness?

Sam Raimi is the director of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson had initially been expected to return for this sequel, but dropped out of the project in January citing "creative differences".

The dispute was reportedly over the film's horror elements, with Derrickson keen to ramp up the scarier aspects of the multiverse, while producer Kevin Feige wished to keep it more family-friendly.

That said, it's notable that Derrickson was replaced by arguably one of the most famous horror movie directors working today, as Evil Dead creator Sam Raimi was confirmed as joining the film in April.

He's no stranger to the superhero genre either, having directed the original Spider-Man trilogy starring Tobey Maguire, prompting fan suspicion that the former Spidey could web in for a cameo.

And he seems to be a great match with Cumberbatch saying to Collider: "There's a bit more of, 'So, what do you want to do?' ... It feels very creative. Scarily so, sometimes'.

Olsen also discussed her experience working with the legendary filmmaker to Collider, saying: "I love Sam Raimi. First off, he's a lovely person and I really enjoy our playfulness together, just kind of allowing ourselves to discover new things and he's a great energy. He's a very specific filmmaker and loves playing with his camera... it's been fun."

And it is not just the director changing as whereas last time the score was handled by Michael Giacchino (Lost) but now Danny Elfman is stepping in. Elfman is no stranger to superhero themes as he worked on the 1989 Batman movie and teamed up with Raimi for the first two of his Spider-Man movies.

Who is the villain in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness?

At this point, we’re not quite sure, but the trailers seem to suggest that Scarlet Witch will be the antagonist. This doesn't necessarily mean she will die in the film - and Wanda could be the type of villain that will redeem herself.

The end of the first Doctor Strange certainly set up Mordo as the main antagonist for future films, as the post-credits scene saw him turn on Strange for meddling with natural law and claim the planet had "too many sorcerers".

However, there could be a new baddie on the block: Nightmare. Ruler of the “Dream Dimension”, the supervillain has the power to suck psychic energies from the subconscious minds of dreaming beings.

"I really like the character of Nightmare and the concept that the Nightmare Realm is a dimension," Derrickson told IGN when questioned on which villain he’d want to bring into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, before he had stepped aside.

Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch and bathed in red light while talking to Doctor Strange
Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness YouTube/Marvel Studios

“We decided not [to use Nightmare in the first Doctor Strange film] because that’s a bit of a complex idea: to try to introduce everything we do introduce, and introduce the idea of nightmares themselves as being a dimension.

"I hope somewhere down the line we do get to explore that because I think that’s a super cool concept.”

However, the trailer does also include the evil alternate version of Doctor Strange himself, so perhaps he is the villain we should be fearing.

We can't rule out the possibility that Scarlet Witch herself could be a villain of sorts, as she has lost control of her powers in the comic books before, causing all sorts of trouble for her fellow Avengers.

The latest trailers suggest at least some conflict between Wanda (or a variant of Wanda) and Doctor Strange.

What is the Multiverse?

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor strange in Multiverse of Madness
Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Marvel/YouTube

Within the Marvel comics, the multiverse is basically the popular science-fiction trope that infinite parallel universes exist containing radically or slightly different versions of the world we know.

The main Marvel comics universe is dubbed Universe 616, and occasionally visitors and villains from other universes cross over for hugely important stories, including the Spider-Verse miniseries (which inspired animated movie Into the Spider-Verse).

In Spider-Man: Far From Home the multiverse was mentioned onscreen for the first time when con artist Quentin Beck/Mysterio (Jake Gyllenhaal) falsely claimed to be from a parallel world.

However, it was suggested that just because Beck lied doesn't mean there isn't a multiverse at all, with the fact that Skrull leader Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) took the backstory at face value suggesting that he may have been aware of the real multiverse.

Indeed, the Loki spin-off series on Disney Plus confirmed the existence of said multiverse, with various parallel worlds splintering off from the MCU's so-called "Sacred Timeline".

If the Doctor Strange sequel explores the concept further, it could allow for parallel versions of the characters we know and love, evil versions of heroes, heroic versions of villains and even some deceased Avengers coming back for a surprise cameo.

One of Marvel's most popular alternate universes is titled Marvel Zombies, depicting a world where a terrible virus has transformed the Avengers into flesh-eating monsters.

Many fans have also posited that the introduction of the multiverse could be the perfect way for Marvel to introduce the X-Men franchise to the Marvel Cinematic Universe - so watch this space.

If you're looking for something else to watch, check out our TV Guide or visit our Movies hub for all the latest news.

Advertisement

The latest issue of Radio Times magazine is on sale now – subscribe now and get the next 12 issues for only £1. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to the Radio Times podcast with Jane Garvey.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Sponsored content