Biggest cameos in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Some big-name actors play major Marvel characters in the newly-released Doctor Strange sequel. *Contains spoilers*
The new Marvel film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has finally arrived in cinemas, and it’s absolutely jam-packed with action, parallel worlds and – most excitingly for certain fans – big-name cameos.
But who are the actors making a guest appearance, and what’s the significance of the characters they’re playing? We’ll break them all down for you below, after a little background about how they fit into the plot.
Beware, we’re dealing with some spoilers from here on out.
**Spoiler warning for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness**
Most (but not all) of these cameos come in the same stretch of the film, where Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) travels to another universe where a secret council of superheroes hatches plans to save the world.
This group is called the Illuminati – based on a similar gathering in the Marvel comics – and is made up of either alternate versions of familiar superheroes from the MCU, or characters that have appeared in other superhero universes but have not yet made their debut in the main Marvel Cinematic Universe.
We’re introduced to them by Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Mordo, but given that he gets his own poster for the film we’re going to go ahead and say that’s not a cameo. Instead, let’s start with…
Who are the biggest cameos in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness?
Sir Patrick Stewart as Professor X/Professor Charles Xavier
This one might not be a big surprise, as Stewart’s voice can be heard in an early trailer and the actor himself confirmed his appearance quite a while ago. What might be less expected, however, is the version of Professor Charles Xavier that Stewart is reprising.
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Rather than the character that appeared in the X-Men film series from 2000 to 2017, this variant of Professor X is clearly inspired by the 1990s X-Men cartoon. He has that character’s iconic floating yellow chair, shares a distinctive special effect when using telepathy – a sort of ripple from his head that live-action Professor X never had – and he’s even accompanied by a short burst of the cartoon’s iconic theme tune.
We’re sure this has nothing to do with the fact that Disney are rebooting the 1990s cartoon pretty soon, no siree…
Hayley Atwell as Captain Carter/Peggy Carter
When Marvel’s What If…animated series launched last year, one of the biggest breakouts was this alternate version of Captain America. In the retelling, the series imagined how the original Captain America movie might have turned out if love interest Peggy Carter was given the super-soldier treatment instead of Steve Rogers, with Hayley Atwell reprising her role from the original Captain America movies.
Now, this film shows us Atwell as Captain Carter in live-action. It’s unclear if this is the “same” Captain Carter as the one we saw in What If… – in fact, we’d be guessing it’s not supposed to be based on a few clues – but she still seems to occupy the place that Chris Evans’ Captain America did in the MCU, right down to a certain catchphrase.
It’s not just a quick cameo, with Atwell gave some pretty involved stunts to take part in, and hopefully, this isn’t the last of live-action Captain Carter we’ll see in the wider Marvel multiverse.
Lashana Lynch as Captain Marvel/Maria Rambeau
Another fun alternate version of a character, albeit one we haven’t actually seen before. Lashana Lynch played Monica Rambeau, the old friend and colleague of hotshot pilot Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) who watched Carol become the cosmic-powered Captain Marvel in the 1990s (and 2019 film Captain Marvel).
This version of Maria, though, has Carol’s powers herself – presumably, in this universe, it’s her that had the accident and took on the heroic mantle, while Carol watched from the sidelines. We don’t hear much from her in Doctor Strange 2, but it’s a great way to get Lynch – whose star has only risen since 2019 – back in the MCU.
Anson Mount as Black Bolt/Blackagar Boltagon
Fans already knew that every corner of the Marvel universe, no matter how awkward to justify, was fair game for character returns – just look at the roles of Charlie Cox (of Netflix’s Daredevil), William Hurt and Tim Roth (of 2008’s The Incredible Hulk) in recent years.
But Anson Mount’s comeback as the Inhuman monarch really takes the cake. Mount starred as ‘Blackagar Boltagon’ in the ill-fated Inhumans TV series, a rare misfire from Marvel in its pre-Disney Plus days that was critically reviled and quietly cancelled after just one season.
Most fans would have forgotten the series if they even ever saw it – but clearly, the team at Marvel didn’t. Now Mount (who has a bit more star power himself thanks to his role in Star Trek: Discovery and Strange New Worlds) is back playing a comic-book accurate version of Black Bolt, right down to the tuning fork headpiece and little armpit wings of his costume.
In the comics, Black Bolt is an Inhuman (sort of genetically altered human via a magic mist, but also an advanced society living on the Moon) who has a voice so powerful, that a single word could level a building. Like his on-page counterpart, Mount’s version has to communicate without using his words, though he still manages to make an impact with little dialogue.
John Krasinski as Mr Fantastic/Reed Richards
This casting may be the most exciting of all for fans, who have spent years lobbying for the A Quiet Place actor/director to play the patriarch of Marvel’s First Family.
While there is a Fantastic Four movie on the way (which Spider-Man: No Way Home director Jon Watts just dropped out of), Krasinski managed to get to the role of team leader Reed Richards/Mr Fantastic first. In the comics, the Fantastic Four were Marvel’s first team of superheroes in the 1960s (a timeframe nodded to by Doctor Strange when he jokes that the FF sound like a band that was “big in the 60s”), who gained superpowers after flying through cosmic radiation in space.
Richards gained the ability to stretch and alter his body, and this combined with his existing superintelligence made him a significant figure in the Marvel comics universe.
We don’t find out too much about this version, though it seems he is married and has children – going by tradition, he would have married his teammate Sue Storm and had powerful children called Franklin and Valeria, so it seems likely this is who he’s referring to in the film.
Going ahead, fans may expect Krasinski to play the “real” Mr Fantastic in Marvel’s planned film, but this isn’t a given – if anything, we’d say his appearance in this film makes it less likely, considering how many of these are “alternate” actors and characters playing key characters. Still, you never know.
Charlize Theron as Clea
The film’s last big cameo is the only one not associated with the Illuminati, and it doesn’t arrive until Doctor Strange’s first post-credits scene.
In the scene, Doctor Strange is strolling around new York when he’s confronted by Charlize Theron wearing a rather snazzy purple costume. She blames him for causing an incursion of universe (a side effect of multiverse travel, where two universes collide and one is destroyed) and requests his help in fixing it. He agrees to assist, and the pair leap off into a new adventure.
In the credits, this character is listed as Clea, and she has quite a history in the comics. An elemental being who looks human but is anything but, Clea is a longtime ally and love interest of Doctor Strange, and a key part of his supporting cast on the page (to the extent that most fans assumed Rachel McAdams was playing her in the first Doctor Strange movie).
Getting a major star like Theron in this role suggests that Clea could play a significant part in any Doctor Strange movies moving forward (especially now that it seems the storyline with McAdams’ character Christine has wrapped up). Watch this space…
Screenwriter Michael Waldron discussed Clea's inclusion with Marvel.com, noting: "We were really excited to introduce Clea.
"Getting Charlize Theron to play that character, holy crap! In the comics, Clea is Doctor Strange’s great love so to speak.
"The alternate Christine Palmer, as she says goodbye to our Doctor Strange, tells him to face his fears, to be willing to love someone else and to face that fear connecting with someone else."
He added that this felt like the "perfect time" to introduce the major Doctor Strange character to the MCU.
So, we can definitely expect to see Theron back as Clea sometime soon.
Bruce Campbell as Pizza Poppa
OK, there is one more cameo worth mentioning. Director Sam Raimi has a history of including his Evil Dead leading man Bruce Campbell in his films (most famously he played a wrestling announcer, a theatre user and a maitre d’ in Raimi’s three Spider-Man films), so it was no surprise to see him turn up again in Multiverse of Madness.
This time, he’s a vendor selling “pizza balls” in the Illuminati universe – a possible callback to all the Pizza-based gags about Spider-Man 2, perhaps? – and pops up again in the final post-credits scene, where a spell placed on him by Doctor Strange finally wears off.
Truly, it's the ultimate cameo in a film of huge cameos. There's no better way to end the film – or this article.
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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ending explained: Does Wanda die?Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness comes to UK cinemas on Thursday 5th May, while you can sign up for Disney Plus for £7.99 a month or £79.90 a year. For more, check out our dedicated Fantasy page or our full TV Guide.
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