Since bursting onto the scene back in 2016, Doctor Strange has quickly risen through the ranks to become one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most popular characters.
His debut solo adventure was a reality-shattering romp with some mind-bending visual effects, quickly followed up by memorable guest appearances in Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame.
Now, it’s time for him to branch off on his own once again, with the wonderfully titled sequel Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on the slate of upcoming Marvel movies and poised to explore the various alternate versions of the MCU.
With zany horror director Sam Raimi at the helm, expect some weird new takes on your favourite characters as well as the return of Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch, who is confirmed as Strange’s co-star.
Here’s everything we know so far about Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
When is Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness released in cinemas?
The film was originally scheduled for released in May 2021, but it has been moved twice along with the entire Marvel phase 4 slate due to coronavirus, and is now planned to hit cinemas on 24th March 2022.
The plot of the movie will pick up directly after the events of upcoming Disney+ series WandaVision, which had initially been intended to air just a few months before the release of Doctor Strange 2.
But since alterations were made, there is now a much larger gap between the two projects on Marvel’s upcoming slate, prompting speculation that WandaVision could be pushed until sometime next year.
Who is directing Doctor Strange 2?
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.
Marvel and I have mutually agreed to part ways on Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness due to creative differences. I am thankful for our collaboration and will remain on as EP.
— N O S ⋊ Ɔ I ᴚ ᴚ Ǝ ᗡ ⊥ ⊥ O Ɔ S (@scottderrickson) January 10, 2020
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.
Who is in the cast of Doctor Strange 2?
Aside from the obvious return of Benedict Cumberbatch as the sorcerer supreme Doctor Strange, the big news from Comic-Con 2019 is that Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch will feature in the film.
Producer Kevin Feige revealed that her upcoming Disney+ streaming show WandaVision will link directly to the plot of Doctor Strange 2, with some fans wondering if the troubled heroine could break reality as she has done in the comics.
In February 2020, Variety reported that Rachel McAdams (who plays Christine Palmer or Night Nurse) wouldn’t be reprising her role for the sequel, despite being a huge part of Strange’s origin.
On the other hand, Benedict Wong will be back as Wong, Strange’s most trusted friend and a fellow sorcerer who helps protect the universe from magical threats.
Chiwetel Ejiofor will also return as villainous 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 toldand other press. “To anything that he does, he just brings a wealth of imagination and passion.
“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.”
Meanwhile, Deadline reports that Baby-Sitters Club’ Star Xochitl Gomez has also joined the cast of the film, although this has not been confirmed by Marvel.
It is not clear what character Gomez would be playing (if the reports are accurate).
Who is the villain in Doctor Strange 2?
At this point, we’re not quite sure.
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.
“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 super cool concept.”
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.
What is the plot of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness?
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, 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.
What is the Multiverse?
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’s been 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.
If Doctor Strange does introduce the concept properly, 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.
Is there a trailer for Doctor Strange 2?
Nope – at the current time, the trailer and any sneak peek pictures are hidden away in the dark dimension.
If you’re looking for something else to watch, check out our TV Guide.