Exploring Why ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ Renamed Shuma-Gorath

doctor strange gargantos

There’s been a lot of speculation surrounding who the main antagonist will be in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The first teaser trailer, which dropped as a post-credit sequence for Spider-Man: No Way Home, hinted at Strange being his own worst enemy. Yet, we also got a glimpse at a familiar creature from Marvel Comics history. The great Shuma-Gorath appeared with his classic green tentacle design, but it turns out it’s a creature known as “Gargantos.” The latest merchandise dropped and offered a closer look at his design, and he looks exactly like Gorath. So, why the change?

At face value, we can assume that they simply updated Gargantos’ design. It actually had closer ties to Namor than Doctor Strange in the comics, which is why it was a bit confusing when the name first popped up in July. It was revealed that Yenifer Molina will voice the role and outside of some rumors, there never was an official confirmation of Gorath’s inclusion. Yet, the design is copied from Gorath’s design from the comics. As such, it seems more like it’s the same character with a new name. There is the distinct possibility that the character was renamed due to the rights issues surrounding the name “Shuma-Gorath.”

While the Marvel character first appeared in a 1973 issue of Marvel Premiere #10, the name was first used in a short story titled “The Curse of the Golden Skull” by Robert E. Howard. As such, Marvel doesn’t technically own the rights to the name and may have chosen to rename him to avoid legal disputes. It’s a shame given how Lovecraftian the original sounds in comparison, but it’s not the first time they’ve done this. Especially with the character being heavily used in marketing, they might want to avoid any legal issues of using his name.

There is one element that might still speak in favor of Shuma-Gorath appearing in the film as a separate character. When you look back at the casting, Molina is listed as “Gargantos 2,” which would imply there are multiple versions of the character. While the inclusion of a number seems meaningless at first, it may be our first clear indicator that there’s more to Gargantos than meets the eyes. If there is indeed more than one version of this monster, it may be a hint that this isn’t just a singular entity.

So, while they may still avoid the name of Shuma-Gorath, there are hints that there’s more to Gargantos. He does seem small for a multiversal enemy with the name inspired by “gargantuan.” Though the name is fitting for a being wanting to take over the entire multiverse. Strange’s villains tend to be larger than life and it wouldn’t be too surprising that the being is simply an off-spring of something much larger, maybe even ethereal. Dormammu only had a physical form to interact with the infiltrator of his Dark Dimension. So, perhaps at the end of the multiverse, Strange will come face-to-face with its true form. We’ll know more once the film releases in May.

If you somehow missed it, you can check out the film’s first trailer here:

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