Our minds were collectively blown with the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s last offering, Spider-Man: No Way Home, what possibly could be next? If there’s one thing we’ve taken away from Tom Holland’s last outing as the hero, it’s that nothing is off the table anymore. Multiple Spider-Men can hug it out and the multiverse can open wide open. And as the title of the next feature suggests, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, looks like we’re in for a wild ride. What could the next MCU installment be setting up?
Following the release of the latest Doctor Strange trailer, a ton of fans are theorizing about what could be in Multiverse of Madness and we need to talk about them. And on a larger scale how it could affect the greater MCU. The portal is open, let’s jump through!
One popular theory that has been hinted at in the marketing for the Doctor Strange sequel is Stephen coming face to face with The Illuminati. This secret society in the comics is a group of superheroes who work together in secret for the greater good. In the comics, the Illuminati is composed of Tony Stark, Namor, Reed Richards, Black Bolt, Professor Charles Xavier and Doctor Strange. When Stephen is handcuffed and taken into a large hall before many believe they hear Patrick Stewart’s X, a raised platform with seats for six members can be seen. Perhaps after Strange broke open the Multiverse, the Illuminati put it in their hands to confront him and quietly fix the issue.
Back in 2019, Marvel Chief Kevin Feige shared that the mutants would be joining the MCU, but we’ve yet to figure out how exactly that will occur. Given there’s a good chance that Patrick Stewart’s Professor X is in Multiverse of Madness, per people hearing his voice in a big moment in the trailer, and playing into the Illuminati theory, we do wonder if the movie will actually go into introducing the X-Men into the MCU in this movie. I wouldn’t expect it to be a big part of the movie, and it’s likely X is from another dimension in the upcoming movie, but if the multiverse is cracked open, maybe that’s the access point to which the X-Men become part of the universe.
What’s even more likely than the set up of the X-Men is our introduction of the Fantastic Four, which is among upcoming Marvel movies from Spider-Man: No Way Home director Jon Watts. There’s a couple connections here. One of them being Reed Richards being part of the Illuminati. The one caveat here is we expect the Illuminati to be from another dimension and therefore a random actor that doesn’t end up being the leader of the MCU’s Fantastic Four could be the Illuminati Reed Richards, if the character is involved. Given the pattern of the MCU bringing back former actors, who knows, maybe Ioan Gruffudd comes back!
The other connection that could tie the Fantastic Four to Doctor Strange is if Jonathan Majors’ upcoming role as Kang the Conqueror (who will be the villain in 2023’s Ant-Man And The Wasp: Quantumania) is set up. The character is famously related to Reed Richards and Majors had a hand in Loki’s multiverse setup during the finale episode.
Another possibility is that Multiverse of Madness is the movie where Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool finally enters the mix after four years away from the big screen. Basically, we’ve been talking out all the former Fox Marvel properties that are now Disney’s but we’ve yet to see them enter the mix. Doctor Strange’s situation with the multiverse is certainly ample ground for characters such as Deadpool to finally find their way into the universe, because it allows for them to keep their continuity in their previous movies and then be introduced to the characters of the MCU. Ryan Reynolds said he’s not in it with the caveat that he could be an “unreliable narrator.”
Tie-ins To Disney+’s What If Series
Over the summer, Marvel Studios released its first animated series in What If…?, which not only incorporated Doctor Strange, but fits into the character’s corner more than any other title because Stephen has had the ability to see possibilities through the Time Stone. In a moment in the Doctor Strange trailer, there looks to be a zombie version of Doctor Strange, which would be a callback to an episode of the series where the Avengers are infected by a zombie plague. One has to wonder if this tie-in will mean What If…? Is more prevalent in the MCU than we were led to believe prior. And will we see the Zombie Avengers in live action, via one dimension in the multiverse?
A wild theory that has run rampant recently is the idea that Tom Cruise is going to be in the next Doctor Strange movie. Fans believe that the Mission: Impossible actor is set to play Iron Man from another dimension, which is called the Superior Iron Man and it’s a nod to the actor almost playing the hero in Iron Man. This is a really fun idea, especially because seeing Iron Man come back with another actor playing him would be a blast to see. Cruise would also kill it. That opens the question if we’ll see a whole other lineup of the Avengers as well! How long is this movie going to be?
A Bigger Future For Sam Raimi In The MCU
While I just can’t imagine Multiverse of Madness setting all these things up, there is one thing we can logically speak to. The movie is Sam Raimi’s first time back as a Marvel director since the Spider-Man trilogy, and if the movie pulls off some of these awesome concepts, it could mean a new Raimi era in the world of superheroes. Perhaps, more Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movies. We know that Marvel likes to continue working with its directors and his Doctor Strange movie could open the portal for more films from the Evil Dead director.
There’s a lot theoretically happening in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. We’ll have some answers once the movie hits theaters on May 4.