One beautiful element of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that fans don’t have to watch the trailer to know if they want to watch a movie. Some fans want to know as little as possible about the new films and be surprised in theaters. If you want to maintain that sense of wonder for “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” but still want to be prepared for the movie, here are some things to keep in mind.
The 2016 movie marks Stephen Strange’s first appearance in the MCU. This is his origin story. Since “Doctor Strange” introduces the character, it is essential to watch before “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” A brilliant but arrogant neurosurgeon, Strange flaunts his talent and only accepts medical cases that are unique or challenging. However, he will not touch anything that he perceives could damage his flawless reputation. After a car accident wrecks his steady hands, Strange is desperate to repair them. In search of his salvation, he encounters something different than anything he’s ever seen at Kamar-Taj in Kathmandu, Nepal — sorcerers.
The Ancient One explains that they harness energy drawn from other worlds to cast spells and create magic. Their world is merely one of thousands in the multiverse. Strange struggles with nearly every step of the training process to harness his magical abilities, from belief to practice, but once he understands it, he excels.
Mordo becomes a mentor, teaching Strange about relics and how to fight. He is knowledgeable in the ways of the mystic arts and a strict rule follower, which is what ultimately leads him to part ways with the titular character, who broke natural law. While Strange has not seen him since they defended the Hong Kong Sanctum together, Mordo makes an appearance in the post-credit scene. After absorbing the magic of an old friend, he reveals his answer to what is wrong with the world: “Too many sorcerers.”
Wong is another friend Strange makes at the Kamar-Taj. Unlike Mordo, Wong allows students to bend the rules to maintain balance, even after he witnesses Strange use the Time Stone to tamper with natural law and defeat Dormammu. Steadfast, Wong continues to be a part of Strange’s guidance in the mystic arts.
While the series does not feature an appearance of the mystical arts master, even preliminary trailers of “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” reveal that Wanda plays a major role in the sequel. The Disney+ original series stars Wanda Maximoff and Vision, picking up after “Avengers: Endgame,” and Wanda has to cope with the grief of losing Vision.
Each episode of “WandaVision” is shot in the sitcom style of a different decade, starting with the 1950s. On the surface, Wanda and Vision seem to live normal lives together in Westview, but strange occurrences start piling up until Wanda’s realizations and the real world intrudes. First, the Sentient World Observation and Response Department, or S.W.O.R.D., seeks to dismantle Wanda’s spell and sends Monica Rambeau, the daughter of Maria Rambeau from “Captain Marvel,” to investigate the anomaly. Before she knows what is happening, Monica is sucked into the barrier that separates Westview from the rest of the world.
After her nosy but magical neighbor Agatha Harkness captures Wanda and rifles through her memories, Agatha discovers Wanda’s raw power and addresses her with the codename all Marvel fans have been waiting to hear: the Scarlet Witch.
In the final episode, Vision fights a battle of his own against a version of himself that S.W.O.R.D. created. It becomes a philosophical battle and he leads White Vision to realize he has been blinded. Vision then shares his memories, giving White Vision the same knowledge as the original.
“WandaVision” highlights Wanda’s power and demonstrates how much of it she truly has. She unknowingly holds an entire town captive to live her dream with Vision, and without difficulty, she casts and maintains spells. After going through Wanda’s barrier multiple times, Monica Rambeau is imbued with powers of her own. Wanda also fabricated Vision and twin boys, Tommy and Billy. After she realized she was manipulating reality, her heart was torn, but she chose to let Vision and her sons disappear in order to free the town. She leaves Agatha in Westview after she warns Wanda that she has no idea what she’s unleashed. After losing her perfect life and freeing the people of Westview, Wanda goes into seclusion to live a seemingly peaceful life. As the camera zooms further into her cabin, though, viewers see Wanda’s astral form flipping through a spellbook. Then in the distance, her sons’ voices cry for help.
Strange unites with the Avengers in both “Infinity War” and “Endgame.” In the third “Avengers” movie, Doctor Strange meets the Hulk, Iron Man, Spider-Man and the Guardians of the Galaxy. In Thanos’ search for the Infinity Stones, Doctor Strange gives him the Time Stone to save Tony Stark. After Thanos obtains all six stones, his snap obliterates half of all living things in the universe, including Doctor Strange.
Doctor Strange played a small but monumental role in “Endgame.” Not only did he bring countless MCU characters to the final battle with the help of Wong and other masters of the mystical arts, but he also signaled to Iron Man that they were in the one timeline where the heroes win against Thanos, inspiring Tony’s heroic actions. In the latest “Avengers” movie, Thanos reveals that he destroyed all of the stones, which leaves Doctor Strange without the Time Stone, and since he has disappeared for five years, Wong is now the Sorcerer Supreme.
Doctor Strange also appeared in “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” The most recent Spider-Man film is the MCU’s first dive into the multiverse and familiarizes fans with the concept. In the film, Strange casts a spell that goes wrong after Peter Parker tries to change it mid-casting, causing interdimensional beings to enter their world. Despite Wong’s advice, he messes with the multiverse, which he knows little about, and fans will only see more of its manipulation in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”
After seeing their favorite characters appear throughout the MCU, fans are eager to see the master of the mystic arts and the Scarlet Witch face the endless challenges of the countless realities in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”