Warning: This post contains major spoilers for Doctor Strange in the multiverse of madness.
Move over, Superman: Charlize Theron has jumped Fast & Furious-fresh to the Marvel multiverse in a single tape. The Oscar-winning actress makes her surprise Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in a short scene that appears in the middle of the film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness‘s credit scroll. Keeping Theron’s appearance top secret was a magic trick that would impress even the ever sarcastic wizard Benedict Cumberbatch. But the rushed nature of the scene also leaves it a little unclear which MCU citizen the Mad Max: Fury Road star plays… or what she means for Stephen Strange’s future.
Here’s her look: After saving the Multiverse from an enraged Scarlet Witch, aka Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), Doctor Strange is back at his home base in New York City when his afternoon walk is interrupted by Theron’s costumed magic wielder . The newcomer tells Stephen that he accidentally caused a “raid” – the collision of two or more other universes. “We need to fix it — unless you’re scared,” Theron says, opening a portal to another dimension. After a while, Strange replies, “Not in the least,” and the duo leap into the void together.
With a serious incursion to be solved, perhaps unsurprisingly the wizard of Theron didn’t have time to introduce himself. But the film’s credits reveal that she’s playing Clea, who’s been a Marvel Comics chapter for almost as long as Strange himself. Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, Clea made her inaugural appearance in a 1964 issue of Strange storiesa year after Doctor Strange debuted in that same comic.
Born the son of a Dark Dimension prince and the sister of Strange’s frequent nemesis, Dormammu, Clea becomes the Sorcerer Supreme of her dark realm and fights those magical obligations with her growing feelings for Stephen. The two even marry at one point and remain connected through Strange’s recent death, at which point Clea took over the Sanctum Sanctorum.
Not for nothing, but Cumberbatch’s Strange is currently single and ready to mingle, after seeing his former girlfriend, Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams), walking down the aisle with another man. He also couldn’t entice an alternate version of Christine from Earth-838 to leave her universe for good old Earth-616, where he and the rest of the MCU’s Earth heroes live. That means a romance could develop between Stephen and Clea as they deal with this nasty raid.
Although Theron is currently filming Fast XIt will be a minute before we see Cumberbatch again in Doctor Strange’s cape. Marvel’s upcoming slate is dominated by the likes of Thor, Ant-Man, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, and the Guardians of the Galaxy, meaning Stephen and Clea won’t likely return until 2025 at the earliest. And Marvel fans are already eagerly awaiting that potential love connection.
But Theron’s cameo isn’t the only surprise Marvel’s wacky multiverse has in store — here are other Easter eggs from Sam Raimi’s blockbuster sequel.
Professor X marks the spot
We had a feeling Sir Patrick Stewart was playing mind games with us when he claimed to be ignorant of who Doctor Strange was a few months ago. And, as teased, the X-Men star returned as the version of Professor Charles Xavier who lives on Earth-838, the universe where much of the action takes place Multiverse of madness plays out.
It’s worth noting that Xavier doesn’t show up at his school for mutants in this corner of the multiverse. Instead, he’s part of the Illuminati, a clandestine group of heroes who keep a close eye on their brethren and take action when they tip toward the Dark Side. With the good professor on this board are a few other well-known Marvel faces in slightly different forms. Hayley Atwell’s super spy Peggy Carter is back in the super-powered form of Captain Carter, a character who first appeared in the Disney+ animated series. What if?†
Also present is Maria Rambeau of Lashana Lynch – friend of Carol Danvers aka Captain Marvel – who became Captain Marvel herself in this reality. And then there’s Anson Mount’s Black Bolt, rescued from obscurity from the little-watched (with good reason) TV series in people and gifted with what can only be described as a lungbuster of a death scene.
But there’s one face you haven’t seen before… and it’s the film’s second-biggest casting coup, after Charlize Theron.
Threat Level Fantastic
Somewhere in the multiverse, there’s an Earth where John Krasinski was Marvel’s Captain America instead of Chris Evans. The office star has often talked about his failed audition to play the star-studded Avenger, which happened around the same time his real-life wife, Emily Blunt, was not playing Black Widow. In recent years, MCU Stans have fancast the pair as Reed Richards and Sue Storm, the leaders of Marvel’s original superteam, the Fantastic Four.
Multiverse of madness lives up to half of that promise when Krasinski appears alongside the rest of the Illuminati as Earth-838’s Reed Richards. And, unsurprisingly, people are already hoping that means he’s confirmed for future adventures.
If Krasinki adjusts again, it won’t be like the 838 Richards. That’s because he and the rest of the Illuminati don’t survive their encounter with the Scarlet Witch, who sends each of them in a gleefully horrific fashion. (For the record, this is Stewart’s third Marvel death scene after Professor X was previously killed in X-Men: The Last Stand and back in Logan.) In the case of Mr. Fantastic, he has literally stretched past his breaking point and turned into fantastic ribbons. Where’s Officer Michael Scarn when you need him?
third eye blind
In the wizarding game, three eyes are better than two. The comic book version of Doctor Strange has long had a third apprentice courtesy of the Eye of Agamotto, a mystical relic with the power to cut through illusions. (The MCU version was previously featured in the original) Doctor Strange as a home to the Time Stone, the Infinity Stone that allows users to manipulate the time stream.) Now its cinematic counterpart – two of them, in fact – open their own third eyes over the course of Multiverse of madness.
Only one of these Stranges uses this power for good, though, and it’s not the 616 version. En route to his final showdown with Wanda, our Stephen crosses paths with a sinister counterpart from a world destroyed by incursions. Powered by the darkholda book full of evil spells, this Strange is in the throes of madness and lashes out with all the powers at his disposal, including a third eye.
Fortunately, the 616 Strange is victorious in the ensuing battle and then uses the darkhold to defeat the Scarlet Witch with no apparent consequences. But in the final shot of the film, his own third eye pops open as he walks down the street and understandably freaks out… along with the audience.
Don’t worry though: Strange isn’t gone and badly broken. By the time Clea shows up in the middle of the credits, he can open that eye on command, suggesting he has it under control. For now at least.
Hail to the Pizza Poppa, honey
It’s not a Sam Raimi comic book movie without Bruce Campbell making life difficult for its central superhero. After repeatedly tampering with Tobey Maguire’s wall crawler at Raimi’s Spider Man trilogy, directing Evil Dead leading man now sets his sights on Doctor Strange. Campbell appears in Multiverse of madness as Pizza Poppa, a pizza ball seller on the corner of Earth-838. While most street food is free in that universe, you have to pay the daddy to taste his wares, which Strange’s travel companion, America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), learns the hard way when she and the wizard try to run away without handing over any money. .
Understandably annoyed at the lack of compensation, the vendor begins berating the duo, prompting Strange to cast a spell that turns the Pizza Poppa into the Punchdrunk Poppa while being repeatedly punched in the face with his own fist. It’s a tribute to a classic 1987 joke Evil Dead 2, and provides the film with a great joke after the credits where the hex eventually disappears. “It’s over,” Campbell says, referring to both the film and a recall that is 35 years in the making.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now in cinemas.