Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is exactly what it sounds like. Marvel’s Master of the Mystic Arts finds himself flung through a multitude of alternate worlds, encountering a constant stream of potential “what if?” scenarios in every one. Unfortunately, a movie can only tell so much story, and as a result, audiences only get quick glimpses into the divergent timelines presented throughout Sam Raimi’s latest superhero epic. With all the funky new concepts and character variants introduced in the film, fans may even leave the theater wishing Marvel Studios had some sort of animated Disney+ series dedicated to exploring their multiversal offshoots. Well, fear not True Believers. This seems like a good time to remind everyone that Marvel’s What If…? does in fact exist, and another season is still on the way!
When the second batch of episodes finally hits the small screen, it’s sure to feature at least a couple of episodes based on events from the Multiverse of Madness. When it comes to what those episodes might be, there are a lot of options on the table. Luckily, we here at Murphy’s Multiverse have narrowed it all down to only a handful of the most intriguing choices. Follow along as we dive into the prism of endless possibility, and guide you through the vast new realities that could become episodes in the upcoming second season of What If…?.
What If…Scarlet Witch Annihilated the Multiverse?
This is the easy one, but it’s also maybe one of the most interesting. As those who have seen Multiverse of Madness know, Elizabeth Olsen‘s Wanda Maximoff takes a surprisingly dark turn as the film’s main antagonist. The former Avenger embraces the Darkhold and her title as “Scarlet Witch”, going on a killing spree in search of a universe where she is allowed to exist peacefully with her children. It was a goal she attempted once before in WandaVision, with slightly less violent methods. She’s eventually stopped by Doctor Strange and the young America Chavez, but she comes pretty close to achieving her goal.
Earlier in the film, Benedict Wong‘s Sorcerer Supreme mentions that the Scarlet Witch is prophesized to either rule the multiverse or annihilate it. Thankfully, the latter never comes to pass, but what if fans were able to peek into a world where Strange and Chavez failed? What if, in another universe, the Scarlet Witch succeeded? The movie talks a lot about “Incursions”, when two universes collide and destroy each other due to excess multiversal fiddling. It’s likely that with no one powerful enough to prevent her from tearing through the multiverse, she would eventually cause it’s destruction in the form of countless incursions. This would be a catastrophic threat on the same level as the first season’s Infinity Ultron, and would be a good reason for The Watcher to intervene a second time.
What If…Maria Rambeau Was Captain Marvel?
One of the more exciting reveals of the Doctor Strange sequel comes in the form of the Illuminati. The team is comprised of Marvel heroes from across the multiverse, assembled to protect it and their world from any threat they deem too great to exist. One member of the group, Hayley Atwell‘s Captain Carter, already made her debut on What If…?, but her associates are a whole different deal. While major cameos like John Krasinski‘s Mr. Fantastic or Patrick Stewart‘s Professor X are incredibly cool, their lack of MCU history doesn’t exactly lend itself well to the premise of the aforementioned animated series. Luckily, the group isn’t a total What If…? scratch.
Lashana Lynch makes a surprise return to the role of Maria Rambeau, only this time, she’s the one wielding unprecedented cosmic power. Chiwetel Ejiofor‘s Karl Mordo variant introduces the character as “Captain Marvel”, indicating this Rambeau comes from a universe where she was the one who took that fateful flight with Dr. Wendy Lawson and ended up in the hands of the Kree. Almost nothing about her origin or life are revealed in her few brief scenes, but her existence just begs to be further explored. If Maria was abducted from Earth, what happened to her daughter Monica? Was she raised by Carol Danvers? Was S.W.O.R.D. ever founded? What kind of galactic hero would Maria turn out to be? Also, that awesome Photon-inspired suit deserves a little more screen time than it actually got.
What If…Vision Lived?
For a decent chunk of Multiverse of Madness, the Sacred Timeline’s version of Scarlet Witch inhabits the body of another universe’s Wanda Maximoff and uses her to do all the dirty work. While this process, called “dream walking”, is pretty darn neat, it’s not the aspect of this scenario that’s most fascinating. The Wanda who falls under the Witch’s control is shown to be a loving mother of her two sons, living a relatively normal life despite still having her superhuman abilities. This suggests that the Maximoff of this world may not have suffered all of the same traumas as the mainstream Wanda fans have come to know. WandaVision taught audiences that the hero’s ideal life includes her husband, Paul Bettany‘s Vision, yet he’s nowhere to be seen during the film.
Perhaps he simply wasn’t home when 616 Scarlet Witch broke in and began manipulating his wife, or perhaps he wasn’t able to survive in this universe either. Whatever the case may be, it sets up an interesting question that What If…? could answer. What if Vision lived? Would Wanda’s life look more like the domestic one we see in the film, or would the couple still be out saving the world with the Avengers? It’s likely the Scarlet Witch persona would not have been embraced in the same way viewers have seen in the MCU’s Phase 4, but if it had, how would Vision’s presence have impacted it’s effect on the world? Hopefully Kevin Feige and the team at Marvel Studios give us answers sooner than later.
What If…The Illuminati Won?
The Illuminati were an insane, unthinkable live-action superhero dream team…which lasted for all of a few minutes before they all died. Forced to confront the full power of the Scarlet Witch, each member of the group fell violently, one-by-one. Though, what if they hadn’t? What if the Illuminati had been able to put down Wanda Maximoff and keep both Stephen Strange and America Chavez in their grasp? The squad had just finished telling Strange that he was a bigger threat than the Scarlet Witch when the latter wiped the floor with them, and the implications of their big speech seemed pretty depressing.
In the comics, the downfall of the Illuminati is their willingness to cross the line of ethics and do whatever they feel is necessary to protect the world. With the entire multiverse at risk, they might have offed the Sacred Timeline’s Strange in an effort to contain his supposedly terrifying power. What would have happened to his home universe had he never returned? As for America, it was only a matter of time before they discovered just how incredible her abilities really were. What would they have done with her once they knew? In the wrong hands, she could be a weapon used to “maintain peace” across all of space and time.
What If…Doctor Strange Was Earth’s Mightiest Hero?
When Stephen Strange fist arrives on Bruce Campbell‘s pizza planet, he’s greeted by an old friend-turned-enemy who’s become that world’s Sorcerer Supreme. Mordo explains to Strange that his variant died saving the Earth from Thanos, and had publicly become known as his Earth’s most popular hero. There’s even a statue bearing the inscription outside the Sanctum Sanctorum, and a whole museum dedicated to Strange’s life story. While later revelations from the Illuminati reveal this tale wasn’t entirely true, it does make one wonder where Tony Stark was while all of this was going down. His absence, and the lack of an Iron Man on the Illuminati roster, could be a subtle reveal that the universe in question never produced an armored Avenger of it’s own.
If this is the case, What If…? could capitalize with an episode centered around a world where Stephen Strange is the face of the Avengers and everyone’s favorite good guy. A variant of Strange from a completely different universe, dubbed “Defender Strange” by marketing, is seen at the beginning of the movie sporting a sweet pony tail and black-and-red threads. What if this variant is from a world where Strange formed The Defenders as Earth’s Mightiest Heroes instead of Stark and Nick Fury leading the charge with The Avengers? It’s a longshot, but it seems like a story worth diving into.