What’s next for the MCU

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hit theaters Thursday and it’s doing pretty well for Marvel Studios, scoring its biggest opening in 2022 to date and claiming the 11th best domestic box office opening of all time. Critically, it was more divisive than you might think, with many either being put off by how “Sam Raimi” the Doctor Strange sequel is or absolutely loves it due to the style of the Evil Dead director.

If you’ve seen the movie, you’ve probably noticed how unique it is in the pantheon of Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. It contains more horror elements than ever before and it introduces many new concepts and ideas to the MCU. In fact, I think Multiverse of madness sets where the MCU eventually goes later in phase 4 and beyond. To discuss this further, however, you need to dive deep into the film, so beware: there will be plenty of spoilers ahead.

If you haven’t seen Multiverse of Madness yet, but plan to, I highly recommend dipping for now.

Last chance… SPOILERS AHEAD!

As the name implies, Multiverse of madness is all about the multiverse, which is infinite. If you can imagine it, there is a universe to host the idea. There is a universe where Doctor Strange mainly speaks Spanish and runs with America Chavez as a duo. There is a universe where Wanda Maximoff lives peacefully as a single mother – for some reason no Vision in sight – with her two children, Billy and Tommy. There’s even a universe where a naked Wong is chased by a terrifying clown. Doctor Strange, Christine Palmer and America Chavez learn all this and more in Multiverse of madnessincluding that there is a group called the Illuminati made up of different sectors of the MCU – Avengers such as Captain Marvel and Captain Carter, The Fantastic Four’s Reed Richards, X-Men’s Charles Xavier and the Inhumans’ Black Bolt.

However, the main thing they learn from is something in the MCU called “incursions.” These happen when two universes collide, which can happen in different ways. Maybe someone from one universe is taking in a piece of another universe. For example, if Wanda had managed to completely control the Wanda from another universe to become the mother of her Billy and Tommy, she probably would have caused some sort of raid. If Doctor Strange and the Christine from Earth-838 he meets later in the film decided to live together for the rest of their lives, they would have triggered a raid, something Christine mentions in the final moments of the film. Raids can be small in the MCU, it seems, but if Multiverse of madness displayed on screen, they can also be devastating and even world-ending

Elsewhere in the film, we learn that the Doctor Strange from another universe was responsible for a raid that killed trillions. That’s how disastrous the merging of two universes can be. At this point, we don’t know what the MCU’s next Thanos-level threat is. Many think it will be Kang, who we last saw in Loki where he taught Loki and Sylvie how multiverses really work. Others predict that the arrival of new heroes like The Fantastic Four may bring with it the new major threats of Galactus or Doctor Doom. Check Multiverse of madnessthough, I think the next big threat to the Avengers and the rest of the MCU is, well, themselves.

That is, the next big threat to Captain Marvel will be Captain Marvel and the next big threat to Spider-Man could be Spider-Man. That’s because I think Multiverse of madness set up secret wars

Marvel Comics

secret wars

The non-spoiler version of this very good Marvel Comics story (we’re talking 2015 story here) is that raids create a scenario where one universe collapses into another, with both under threat of complete destruction. In this case, Earth-616, the main Marvel universe, crashed into the Ultimate Universe, the alternate reality that spawned its own comic book series in 2000. A temporary Battleworld is created and the drama unfolds here. Ultimately, it leads to the destruction of essentially one entire universe (Ultimate Comics came to an end as a result of) secret wars† It’s a big deal, and it could pose a new moral dilemma unlike anything our MCU heroes have faced thus far.

Our heroes have fought villains who wanted to kill trillions to “help” the rest of the universe, namely Thanos, but how do they handle a situation where they have to kill trillions to save trillions? That’s a huge moral conundrum that challenges the relatively high position our heroes have held for over a decade. In addition, raids and multiverse journeys allow us to see ancient heroes return in the form of parallel universes. Do I want to see Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man return soon, if at all, after its amazing broadcast in Avengers: Endgame† No, but if he returned through a parallel universe to fight another Iron Man (perhaps one embodied by Tom Cruise as many theories have posited), I’d be able to swallow that pill much easier.

Marvel Comics

cle

The simple use of the word “raid” in Multiverse of madness isn’t how I think we’re getting to Secret Wars in the MCU though. The introduction of Clea in the first Multiverse of madness post-credits scene ties into this, I think. If you’re not familiar with Clea, she’s had a number of roles in Marvel Comics. She is the niece of Dormammu, who defeated Doctor Strange in his first solo film, and she also becomes the love interest and successor to Doctor Strange. You can read our more in-depth Clea analysis here. In the Multiverse of madness post-credits scene, however, it remains unclear what Clea’s role will be in the MCU.

She tells Doctor Strange that she needs help with a raid, using a special blade to rip open the multiverse and open a window directly to the world where we last saw Dormammu (or so it looks like). me out). She asks Doctor Strange if he’s afraid to help, and, going back to Christine’s last words to him in the film’s climax, he accepts the mission while also revealing that he appears to be in control of his third. eye that appeared in the last film of the movie. scene.

Doctor Strange and Clea go straight to a raid and it will likely be the first of many. Could Clea be a teammate in the MCU, someone who really wants to end ongoing raids with the help of Doctor Strange, or is she interested in learning about Doctor Strange’s powers to spawn new raids (maybe she’s planning to grow close to Doctor Strange and then gain the trust or power of dimension-hopping America Chavez…)? Only time will tell, but clearly Marvel Studios is poised to dive deep into raids and if that’s where these movies are headed I foresee secret wars comes somewhere along the line.

That the use of raids in the MCU could ensure the future return of Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Men is icing on the cake. I just hope that raids get the spotlight and storytelling they deserve in future MCU movies (especially the big team-up movies) and that they’re not just anything Multiverse of madness used to propel his plot, Secret Wars or not.


What do you think of this theory? Let me know in the comments below!

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