The multiverse is officially open for business in the latest trailer for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The preview for the upcoming Marvel movie debuted at the 2022 Super Bowl, and it promises a kaleidoscopic, headlong rush into the unknown. Here's the new poster that teases the return of the mind-melting mirror dimension.
Having manipulated the multiverse to help Spider-Man (Tom Holland), Benedict Cumberbatch's Sorcerer Supreme discovers that his magnanimity may have come at the cost of the entire world. The director of the original Spider-Man trilogy, Sam Raimi, makes his long-awaited return to comic book filmmaking as Marvel Phase Four continues apace.
Scroll down to discover our essential trailer highlights, including a surprise cameo from a certain X-Men stalwart that may point towards the future of the MCU.
1. It picks up directly after the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home
Originally, Multiverse of Madness was supposed to come out after the release of No Way Home. However, owing to the pandemic and various scheduling quirks, the Doctor Strange sequel now follows in the footsteps of the web-slinger's latest blockbuster. This may account for the widely reported reshoots: it's likely that director Sam Raimi and his team had to recalibrate the opening of the Doctor Strange sequel for continuity's sake.
Regardless, the movie opens as Strange reckons with the consequences of his multiverse-tampering actions. He can't say he wasn't warned – his close ally Wong (Benedict Wong) is on hand to issue a stark warning about the perils of tampering with alternate universes.
2. Christine is getting married
Oscar nominee Rachel McAdams didn't get too much to do in the original Doctor Strange film, so hopefully, that will change here. The trailer implies that she's getting her nuptials, which will sure add more heartache for Strange amidst the multiverse chaos.
3. Vision's legacy lives on
Referred to as 'Vis' by Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), the late, lamented Vision (Paul Bettany) was seemingly ahead of the game. He apparently had conversations with Scarlet Witch about the implications of the multiverse, hardly surprising given his sentient abilities. And when Strange discovers that Vision's omens were, in fact, correct, it spells almighty hell for the citizens of New York and beyond.
4. The movie resurrects the tension between Doctor Strange and Baron Mordo
We haven't seen Chiwetel Ejiofor's Baron Mordo in the MCU since the post-credits scene of the first Doctor Strange movie. He began that film as an ally of Strange, but gradually turned against him, and was teased as a major antagonist come the climax. In Multiverse of Madness, Mordo arrests Strange for his "desecration against reality", although it's not clear whether Mordo is motivated out of piousness or antagonistic spite against his former friend.
5. There may well be a cameo from Patrick Stewart
At least, we're certain that's the voice of the X-Men legend voicing an off-screen character. He only utters a single phrase, "We should tell him the truth," but it's loaded with all manner of implications. If we're to assume that this is Stewart in his familiar guise as X-Men leader Charles Xavier, then we've got a clue as to the possible direction of Marvel Phase Four. With the emergent multiverse, various characters and properties are now content to swirl around one another and interact, and one of these properties could well be the X-Men. Also, the X-Men franchise now falls under the auspices of Disney and the MCU after the company bought out 20th Century Fox, making a crossover movie increasingly likely.
It's long been rumoured that an X-Men movie within the MCU was likely, and it may well become a reality. Marvel president Kevin Feige has remained relatively tight-lipped on the issue – might our patience be about to pay off? Back in 2019, when quizzed by IGN about the possibility of both X-Men and Fantastic Four being brought into the MCU, Feige replied: "It's still early days, but it's been a fun exercise, and it's one, by the way, that we've been doing for years.
"Every development meeting starts with cool ideas and fun ideas, and our wheels are always turning in terms of what if... to use a Marvel publishing term. What if we did this? What if we did that? What if we had access to such and such characters? That's how Spider-Man: Homecoming came together in the first place, and it's fun to now be in this position with the Fox characters, too, because if we come up with a great ‘What If’ we can actually do it."
6. Is that Superior Iron Man as played by Tom Cruise?
Rumours have been circulating that we'll be getting an alternate Iron Man as played by the Cruiser himself. Superior Iron Man is actually a villain hailing from another dimension, so this would certainly be an intriguing and exciting way to continue the legacy of Robert Downey Jr.'s late Tony Stark. Mind you, the mystery figure could also be our new Johnny Storm from the new MCU Fantastic Four movie. The pic will be directed by Spider-Man's Jon Watts, and will finally see Marvel's first family fall under the MCU umbrella. Questions, questions...
7. Gargantos makes an appearance
Gargantos is a colossal sea monster and one of the sworn enemies of Doctor Strange from the original Marvel comics. Plus, judging from the Multiverse of Madness trailer, he's got it in for New York buses.
8. The alternate Doctor Strange from Marvel's What If...? returns
Multiverse of Madness has a clear connection with Marvel's What If...? series. The show introduced a multiverse variant of the Doctor Strange character, one who eventually became beaten down and disillusioned by his inability to save his girlfriend Christine Palmer. This meant that Strange started to absorb power from the Dark Dimension, eventually emerging as the deadly Strange Supreme. How this develops in the movie remains to be seen.
9. Wanda reckons with her sense of self – literally
There's a shot of the haunted Wanda approaching her other self, all the while as she grapples with her own identity. Multiverse of Madness is poised to be as much her story as it is Strange's, as Wanda ponders why Strange's actions brand him a hero, while she's decried as an outcast and an enemy. This is sure to add significant levels of pathos to the story as the movie picks up the thread of Wanda's fragmenting mind and emotions from WandaVision, and may well bring that narrative thread to a dramatic close.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is released in the UK on 6th May. What did we miss in the trailer? Let us know @Cineworld.