The Multiverse of Madness looks to put Doctor Strange on trial, and it may be for something very different than his spell from No Way Home.
Doctor Strange can be quite the loose cannon sometimes, which would be less concerning for the Marvel Cinematic Universe were he not capable of multiverse-altering magic. Even before Tony Stark’s death in Avengers: Endgame, Strange held the title of the MCU’s most arrogant hero: tempered by the loss of surgical skills and his long road to becoming Sorcerer Supreme, but always a little too sure of himself for comfort. Much of it centers on his difficult-at-best relationship with Christine Palmer, for whom he still pines, but who has apparently moved on by the time the events of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness take place. The combination of the two may prove disastrous.
In fact, it already has. During a memorable episode of What If…?, a variant of Doctor Strange destroyed his entire reality attempting to save Christine. Even then, the episode felt like more than just a one-off, and sharp-eyed fans believe that the “Strange Supreme” of that reality might become a major antagonist in Multiverse of Madness. If so, it would go a long way toward confirming whatever “crime” the Prime Strange is accused of in the film’s trailer.
Strange initially left Christine to fulfill his duties as Sorcerer Supreme. The decision never sat well with him, and it appears to play a part in Multiverse of Madness. The movie’s trailer shows Christine wearing a wedding dress and presumably preparing to marry someone else. That’s been confirmed in a recent article from The Direct, which quoted producer Richie Palmer saying that the two are not together. While it isn’t surprising, it may have a far larger bearing than it seems.
The Multiverse of Madness finds Strange being charged with some unspecified crime that Karl Mordo refers to as his “desecration of reality.” It’s currently uncertain what that refers to. His actions during Spider-Man: No Way Home make for an obvious candidate, as Strange – recklessly and with little regard for the consequences – botched a forgetting spell and sent villains from across the multiverse crashing into the MCU as a result. That’s certainly crime enough to justify Mordo’s condemnation, along with whatever sanctions come with it.
But if Christine is a part of the film’s drama – along with Strange’s unresolved feelings for her – then that crime could very well have a much different origin. It would also account for the presence of Strange Supreme, the variant from What If…? Season 1, Episode 4, “What If… Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands?” That Strange refused to accept that there were things outside of his control. Having lost Christine in the car crash that cost the Prime Strange the use of his hands, he embarked on a reckless crusade to bring her back, defying the laws of reality and ultimately undoing everything and everyone in his universe. The first season ended with him repentant but still trapped in a pocket dimension, floating in the void of his former world.
Strange Supreme is terrifyingly close to Prime Strange in temperament and outlook. Having faced the consequences of a terrible decision, his presence in The Multiverse of Madness suggests that he may be trying to prevent Strange from doing something similar. If that’s the case, then it would make Christine a more central part of the plot, as well as give Prime Strange a reason to commit the crimes Mordo hints darkly at. It also suggests that Strange has learned nothing from his debacle in No Way Home – understandable since he was subjected to his own forgetting spell – and that Strange Supreme is here to stop him from causing cataclysmic damage to reality.
To top it off, Prime Strange isn’t Sorcerer Supreme anymore. Wong took over the position following the events of the Snap, which freed Strange of its obligations and could very likely send him back to Christine. If she has other plans, he might do something reckless in the face of it, which would presumably move his crime away from the events of No Way Home and toward something that will unfold in Multiverse of Madness. Only time will tell, but there may be a good deal more to Strange’s desecration of reality than first appears.
To see what crime he’s accused of committing, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness bursts into theaters on May 6th.
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About The Author
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A native Californian, Rob Vaux has been a critic and entertainment writer for over 20 years, including work for Collider, Mania.com, the Sci-Fi Movie Page, and Rotten Tomatoes. He lives in the Los Angeles area, roots for the Angels, and is old enough to remember when Splinter of the Mind’s Eye was a big deal.
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