Theory Thursday: How ‘What If…?’ Sets Up ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’

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Marvel Studios is exploring new avenues with this summer’s Disney+ animated series What If..? To those unfamiliar, the anthology comic run that started in 1977 explored alternate realities. It would explore how one detail could change the curse of history. So, now that Marvel Studios is exploring new ventures, such as WandaVision‘s sitcom stylings, the animated series may elevate the MCU to new creative heights by exploring different genres. After Avengers: Endgame introduced the concept of alternative timelines into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it made us wonder if the upcoming multiversal storyline might be more relevant than we might at first expect.


A Multiversal Question


Around a week ago, I discussed the new direction for Marvel Studios’ canonical timeline. At the moment, the main timeline has remained pretty linear over the past decade. Avengers: Endgame changed that two years ago, as we got introduced to this universe’s time travel. The moment they change something in the past, the ripple effect will create a new timeline. As you can see in the visual above, What If is about to split the timeline up into the multiverse. Theoretically, this show might give Marvel fans their first full-on deep dive into the expansion that I believe will be known as The Marvel Cinematic Multiverse moving forward. Not just that, it also will have some deeper implications for the franchise’s future. 


Just The Beginning


The first trailer for What If…? gave us a glimpse at multiple alternate universes. If I had to choose, I’m most excited about the one focused on Doctor Strange. I believe that, unlike the other episodes, it won’t retell a previous episode but rather tease one that’s yet to come. So, I firmly believe it will provide a glimpse of his upcoming sequel. Not just that, it will also tease the main villain that will bring madness into the multiverse. He is rather prominent in the trailer, as it teased us with an alternate version of the magical doctor that has fallen to the dark side.



He could bring about the destruction of the world (and possibly the multiverse as we know it). Upon closer examination, he conjures a very familiar form of red magic with black dots swirling around it. I suspect that this may turn out to be Chaos Magic, which we got introduced to in WandaVision. This version of Strange seems to be losing his humanity, as he has tentacles expanding from his hand. I believe that this isn’t Strange but rather someone imitating him. Whoever this individual turns out to be, there is a good chance he might be the main villain of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. After the season finale of WandaVision teased Wanda’s quest, she may have found her way into this alternate dimension. If you take a closer look at the image above, you can see a woman in red staring at this twisted version of Strange. Going by her red outfit, I suspect she could turn out to be Wanda seeking her children.


Anything is Possible


The Doctor Strange sequel is among my most anticipated MCU films to release in the coming years. When the multiverse is involved, pretty much anything and everything is on the table. Perhaps we even get to revisit the alternate realities presented in What If. Just imagine Doctor Strange and Wanda Maximoff enter an alternate reality centered around Marvel Zombies, which pays tribute to Army of Darkness. It would be a waste not to pay tribute to the film that the same director, Sam Raimi, worked onnOr, you could have Doctor Strange face off against different versions of characters we know, like a live-action Peggy Carter as Captain Britain. Case in point, you should consider paying attention to What If…?, especially now that the multiverse is about to be blown wide open.



Case in point, you should definitely consider paying attention to What If…?, especially now that the Multiverse is about to be blown wide open.

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