If you were among the group of people who helped Spider-Man: No Way Home break box office records last weekend, then this isn’t news to you. But if you haven’t seen the threequel yet, then Marvel Studios just gave you an early Christmas present: the first teaser for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse Madness.
Released Wednesday morning (the same day as Disney+’s Hawkeye finale), the two-minute spot reveals our first look at director Sam Raimi’s follow-up to 2017’s Doctor Strange, and is the same one that played at the end of No Way Home, which featured Benedict Cumberbatch’s Stephen Strange in a supporting yet pivotal role. The biggest takeaway from the tease is that WandaVision isn’t the only Disney+ show that ties into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
To understand what’s going on the trailer, you have to know where Doctor Strange is coming from. In No Way Home, Strange ignores Sorcerer Supreme Wong’s (Benedict Wong) advice and casts a spell that would make the entire world forget Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is Spider-Man. Short story shorter: The spell goes awry and allows visitors from parallel universes (read: past Spider-Man franchises) to enter the MCU, but Strange and Peter set things straight in the end. But apparently, that didn’t fix everything.
The teaser shows that Strange is still dealing with the fallout from that chaos; however, there’s a bigger problem on the horizon, as Strange’s ally-turned-foe Baron Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) confirms.
“The greatest threat to our universe is you,” says Mordo, as the camera reveals a sinister-looking version of Strange.
If that shot — and the one of Stephen and Christine’s (Rachel McAdams) apparent wedding — confused you, it’s because this is a reference to Disney+’s universe-hopping What If…? The animated anthology series’ fourth episode centered on an alternate version of Stephen Strange who learned magic after Christine’s tragic death. Even though the Ancient One warned him he couldn’t change her fate because it was an absolute point, Strange ignored her and started amassing more and more power until he transformed into the twisted and corrupt Strange Supreme and destroyed his entire universe. In the show’s finale, Strange Supreme helped the Watcher’s ragtag team of heroes from across the multiverse defeat an alternate version of Ultron and promised to watch over a pocket dimension imprisoning the Zola-controlled Ultron and Killmonger. As of now, it’s unclear if the evil Strange in the Doctor Strange 2 teaser is the same one from the show or another variant.