Following “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” strange things are afoot in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Luckily, Benedict Cumberbatch’s former Sorcerer Supreme returns to theaters this spring in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” to sort things out. That’s great news, because True Believers across the multiverse certainly have a lot of questions after the first trailer dropped following Spidey’s most recent adventure. But now there’s also a brand new synopsis for the upcoming Sam Raimi film which raises even more questions.
Journey Into Mystery
Marvel stealthily dropped this updated blurb about the follow-up to Scott Derrickson’s 2016 film. It doesn’t really tell us much we didn’t know already, but that last sentence definitely stands out.
In Marvel Studios’ “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” the MCU unlocks the Multiverse and pushes its boundaries further than ever before. Journey into the unknown with Doctor Strange, who, with the help of mystical allies both old and new, traverses the mind-bending and dangerous alternate realities of the Multiverse to confront a mysterious new adversary.
“Mystical allies both old and new” is pretty straightforward. We already know Elizabeth Olsen and Benedict Wong are reprising their roles as the Scarlet Witch (fresh off of her sabbatical in “WandaVision”) and current Sorcerer Supreme Wong. Also, Xochitl Gomez is set to make her debut as America Chavez AKA fan favorite Young Avenger Miss America. But the mention of “a mysterious new adversary” is the bit to focus on. After setting out on a journey to target fellow magic users, Chiwetel Ejiofor returns as Karl Mordo. Based on his recent activity, one would assume that he would be the big bad in the sequel. However, even though he was an ally to Strange last time they crossed paths, he’s not necessarily a new threat. Plus, the multiverse does add a complicated layer on top of things. So who could the main antagonist of this movie be?
With the entire multiverse open to the MCU, the possibilities for someone to disagree with Doctor Strange have grown exponentially. (Although, he is the worst, so it’s probably not that hard.) But there are a few frontrunners for the position.
Killmonger & Arnim Zola
Even though they pick and choose when this applies, the MCU has always been associated with the phrase, “It’s all connected.” In the trailer for “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” it looks like the titular hero comes face to face with his corrupted counterpart from another universe. Specifically, that counterpart looks an awful lot like the variant seen in the Disney+ animated series “What If?” So if Strange Supreme can make an appearance in the movie, why can’t other characters from that show pop up as well? I know that they ended season 1 by getting trapped in a pocket dimension, but Killmonger and Arnim Zola could have unintentionally been set free by the Sacred Timeline’s Strange. After all, they were trapped in Strange Supreme’s pocket dimension. If he’s out, who’s to say the other inhabitants of that dimension aren’t out as well? They’re certainly the type to be adversarial and they can cause some real damage to the multiverse if kept unchecked.
Rumored to be a part of the film when Derrickson was still involved, there’s a chance Nightmare could be the big bad. He is the evil ruler of the Dream Dimension and one of the Fear Lords. As long as beings that dream exist, so does Nightmare. If Strange accidentally stumbles upon his turf while galavanting around the multiverse, Nightmare could be an unstoppable foe that the main Strange can’t handle alone. Could this be where Ponytail Strange comes in? (Yes, I know that’s not his name, but I’m still calling him that.) Time will tell.
Also a dweller of the Dark Dimension, Umar is a high-dimensional being trapped in a human body. Not only does she have a whole arsenal of mysterious powers, but she’s also the sister of Dormammu, who definitely still has beef with Strange after their last encounter. Armed with powers that surpass those of the top student of Kamar-Taj and possibly an agenda of revenge on behalf of her brother, Umar could cause a lot of trouble for Team Strange.
Kang The Conqueror
After making an appearance in “Loki” on Disney+ as He Who Remains, Jonathan Majors was confirmed to be joining the cast of “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” as Kang the Conqueror. As far as big bads go, Kang is one of the biggest in all of Marvel Comics history, up there with Thanos. And since his whole deal is traveling through time and across various universes, how could he be contained in only one Phase Four film? Even if he’s not the main villain, he could be pulling the strings in the background until a big post-credits scene reveal like Thanos in “The Avengers.”
Dr. Nicodemus West
This pick comes after scrutinizing the press release that included the new synopsis. It lists Michael Stuhlbarg alongside Cumberbatch, Olsen, Wong, Ejiofor, and Rachel McAdams on the cast list. While it could just be because he’s returning to reprise his role as Dr. Nick West from the first movie, it might also mean that he has a much bigger role in the sequel. He was already established as a professional rival for Strange in the medical field. Even after West performed the surgery to save Strange’s hands, Stephen still held a grudge — although, he did eventually trust West to try to save The Ancient One and acknowledged that he was a good surgeon.
In the comics, Dr. Nicodemus West is the villain in Brian K. Vaughn & Marcos Martin’s “Doctor Strange: The Oath.” He follows Strange to Kamar-Taj to learn the mystic arts, thinking magic can help him heal people around the world. But the two wizards find themselves at odds when a special magic elixir falls into the wrong hands. Could they finally come to blows on the big screen in a fight that spans the multiverse? This very small detail that I’m likely reading far too much into could suggest that might be the case.
Finally, I mentioned “What If?” and Strange Supreme earlier. An evil version of Doctor Strange might be an easy answer for the villain of this movie, but whether or not it’s the specific version of the character we saw in that animated series remains to be seen. Again, Strange Supreme appears to be the variant our Strange encounters in the trailer. And what’s more familiar yet mysterious than fighting a version of yourself? Also, an evil version of Strange from Counter-Earth known as Necromancer appears in the comics, so there’s potentially more than one Strange in the multiverse with nefarious intentions. As they say in the trailer, there’s a very good chance that things just got out of hand if this prediction comes true.
With so much to speculate on, we could infinitely expand this list. I mean, we didn’t even touch on the possibility of Tony Stark played by Tom Cruise being the villain. I doubt that’s the case, but it’s a possibility! So before we get too outrageous, we’ll just patiently wait until “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” hits theaters on May 6, 2022.
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Source: Slash Film