The trailer for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness gave the audience a taste of the chaos and dangers that await Doctor Strange after messing with the fabric of time and space, and he will come face to face with other versions of himself, including a zombie one – but why do he and Scarlet Witch become zombies? The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase 4 is covering both movies and TV shows, with the latter linking to the former and thus expanding this connected universe even more. The main theme in this new phase so far is the multiverse, which will go out of control in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
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The multiverse has already been teased in WandaVision, explored a bit in Loki, messed with in Spider-Man: No Way Home, and will unleash its chaos in Doctor Strange’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) second solo movie. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is set after the events of No Way Home, where Peter Parker (Tom Holland) asked Strange to cast a spell that would make everyone forget he’s Spider-Man, but the spell was botched and instead, it opened the gates to the multiverse. By the end of No Way Home, Strange closed the gates by casting a spell that made everyone forget Peter Parker, but that doesn’t mean that this universe isn’t in danger anymore.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will see Strange dealing with the consequences of the multiverse chaos in No Way Home, which will bring him face to face with new and mysterious adversaries. With the help of old and new allies, among those Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), Strange will have to save the multiverse from madness and will encounter some of his variants in the process. The first teaser (released as the post-credits scene in No Way Home) showed Evil Stephen Strange, but the trailer and spot released during the Super Bowl LVI revealed more variants, most notably Zombie Strange and Zombie Scarlet Witch, but why would they turn into zombies?
Among the MCU’s TV projects was the animated series What If…?, confirmed to be part of the MCU’s canon. What If…? explored alternate timelines in the multiverse showing what would have happened if some of the MCU’s major events occurred differently, and episode 5 showed what would have happened if the members of the Avengers and more turned into zombies. In the episode, Hank Pym rescued Janet van Dyne from the Quantum Realm (just like he did in Ant-Man and the Wasp), but Janet had been infected with a quantum virus that turned her into a zombie. Janet infected Hank, and when they returned to the lab, she attacked Scott Lang, and within 24 hours, the virus had spread. Unfortunately, many of the Avengers and other heroes became infected, among those Stephen Strange. It was later revealed that Wanda was also infected and had been kept captive by Vision, and he had been feeding other survivors to her.
Now, at this point it’s unclear if Zombie Strange and Scarlet Witch are variants coming from that specific universe into the main timeline of the MCU or if Strange’s zombie version is a corrupted, tortured, or possessed version of the Sorcerer while Wanda’s is a consequence of the dark, magical powers she has been messing with. The multiverse offers countless possibilities, and it’s to be seen if the same storylines and characters seen in What If…? will make it into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness or if the movie will give a new story to these scenarios.
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