Spider-Man: No Way Home is obliterating box office records left and right. Tom Holland's latest Spidey movie has delighted audiences with its depiction of the multiverse, which allows the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to import several non-MCU villains including Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina) and Electro (Jamie Foxx).
We've already broken down the Spider-Man: No Way Home mid-credits scene. Now, we're taking a closer look at the Marvel movie that's couched within No Way Home's post-credits scene.
WARNING: SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME SPOILERS AHEAD
What happens in the Spider-Man: No Way Home post-credits scene?
Instead of the usual post-credits stinger, No Way Home presents us with a trailer tease. The movie in question is Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the cosmos-spanning MCU epic that's due out in May 2022.
What aspects of Doctor Strange 2 are revealed?
We already knew that Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) was going to join Stephen Strange/Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). The teaser confirms this with a conversation between the two characters that takes place in a countryside setting. Wanda is clearly grappling with the emotional fallout from Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, which in turn fuelled the events of the acclaimed WandaVision as her mind fractured ever further.
Strange refers to 'Westview', which for those who haven't seen the series is the town that fell under Wanda's mind control. She put a hex (witch's curse) on the town and turned it into an alternate reality that resembled a TV sitcom, in order so that she could cope with the loss of Vision (Paul Bettany). In fact, she created a new version of her former lover to further maintain the illusion.
The perceptive and all-powerful Doctor Strange would clearly be aware of Wanda's trauma and the events that occurred in Westview; let's not forget, this is the man who saw that infinitesimal chance of defeating Thanos (Josh Brolin). He was also willing to wipe the collective memories of those who knew Peter Parker as Spider-Man. It's unclear how Wanda will play a role in Doctor Strange 2 – her vulnerabilities and fractious nature may make her a threat as well as an assist. She apologises for making "mistakes" and acknowledges that "people were hurt", which implies a redemptive arc for the character in Doctor Strange 2.
What else do we see from Doctor Strange 2?
Before we see him on screen, we hear a threatening voiceover from Baron Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor). Strange's former ally turned enemy, at the end of the initial Doctor Strange movie, Mordo renounces the ways of Stephen Strange and steals mystical energy. His reasoning: "The world has too many sorcerers." We imagine from the tone of his voiceover in the No Way Home/Doctor Strange 2 teaser that he's being set up as one of the main antagonists.
Mordo apologises to Strange for veering off the path and appears to initiate a deadly conflict involving Strange, Wong (Benedict Wong) and their mystical Tibetan retreat, Kamar-Taj. That said, Mordo doesn't appear to be too sorry as he declares to Strange: “The greatest threat to our universe is YOU." It's not clear what Mordo hopes to gain from replacing Strange's alleged tyranny with his own but we'll wait and see. There's also a brief glimpse of Gargantos, a colossal sea monster and one of the sworn enemies of Doctor Strange from the original Marvel comics.
Is that an alternate, evil version of Doctor Strange in the teaser?
Yes, it is, and it would appear to have a 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 (Rachel McAdams, whom we glimpse in the Doctor Strange 2 trailer in a wedding context). This meant that Strange started to absorb power from the Dark Dimension, eventually emerging as the deadly Strange Supreme.
Is this who appears in the Doctor Strange 2 teaser? It may well be, and he declares that "things are getting out of hand". You can say that again – the brief glimpses of an inverted, fragmenting New York also allude to the dangers of the multiverse, and its ability to twist reality out of all proportion. Could Mordo, in fact, be referring to the threat posed by Strange Supreme? Has Mordo looked into the possibilities of the multiverse and discerned this terrifying truth? If this is the case then there's a clear narrative thread from the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home, in which Doctor Strange warned Peter Parker: "The multiverse is something about which we know frighteningly little."
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has reportedly completed its sixth and final week of reshoots. Rumour has it, these reshoots were mandated to import more multiversal characters into the movie, says The Hollywood Reporter. Reshoots are certainly not unusual on a movie of this size; in fact, they're par for the course. However, they don't usually amount to more than a few days' worth of pick-up shots, designed to smooth over bumps in character and narrative flow.
That the movie has had to endure six weeks of additional filming is concerning for some. Benedict Cumberbatch has himself expressed curiosity about the end result, saying: "There's a lot of stuff going on in it."
Do we see America Chavez in the trailer?
Yes, we do, and she's identified by her signature jacket. As played by Xochitl Gomez, Chavez hails from an alternate dimension where she was part of the Young Avengers initiative. Her abilities include flight, super speed, super toughness, and strength but, crucially, she can also open portals between different dimensions. That surely makes her a valuable ally for Doctor Strange – assuming, of course, that she only wants to use her powers for good.
Either way, Chavez is the first Latin-American LGBTQ character in Marvel comics lore, so her big-screen portrayal is poised to break new ground.
Who is directing Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness?
That would be Sam Raimi, the man behind the three Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movies. Raimi brought style and panache to the first-ever big-screen iteration of the wall-crawler, fusing his typically kinetic camerawork with breakthrough CGI effects. The first two of Raimi's movies were acclaimed for their entertaining yet empathetic take on the character of Peter Parker, whereas the third was criticised for being overstuffed with too many villains.
However, Raimi's horror background may be equally pertinent to Doctor Strange 2. In 1981, Raimi courted huge controversy with his splatteringly gory yet morbidly funny Evil Dead, a movie that ended up on the notorious 'Video Nasties' list in the UK. The list referred to movies released on VHS that were decried for their violent and allegedly immoral content. The cult reputation of the first Evil Dead movie was compounded by its two sequels, released in 1987 and 1990. Raimi's go-for-broke style aimed to make people laugh and wince in unison, emboldened by DIY gore and camera effects that defied Evil Dead's non-existent budget.
Elements of Evil Dead were evident throughout all three of Raimi's Spider-Man movies (particularly the chilling Doc Ock hospital scene from Spider-Man 2). Could we, therefore, be about to see the first fully-fledged MCU horror movie? There have been intermittently creepy elements in previous MCU movies (No Way Home generates chills from Willem Dafoe's leering return as Green Goblin), but Multiverse of Madness could go the extra mile.
When is Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness released in the UK?
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is released on 6th May 2022. Scroll down to watch the trailer in full, and if you can't wait to watch Spider-Man again, click here to book your tickets for Spider-Man: No Way Home.