'Doctor Strange 2' Director Hints at Quantum Realm-Multiverse Connection
Or at least the existence of Eternity.
We already know that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will have close ties to Scarlet Witch and the Disney+ WandaVision series, but a new teaser directly from the Doctor Strange sequel’s director implies that the Marvel Cinematic might not be done with the Quantum Realm just yet — or at the very least a cosmic entity known as Eternity could make an appearance.
On Monday, Director Scott Derrickson tweeted a panel featuring Stephen Strange from Marvel Comics, captioned with lyrics from a Jimi Hendrix song. The panel is from Steve Ditko’s 1965 comic Strange Tales #138, one of the classic Doctor Strange stories with trippy visuals and an Alice in Wonderland vibe that the first film adapted heavily from.
While hardly an admission that the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will adapt this story directly from Marvel Comics, it’s still interesting to analyze Derrickson’s particular song and panel choice. In “The Eternity Saga,” Strange uses the magic of an amulet to enter the realm of Eternity outside of time and space, where he encounters a light.
“But … it is no mere light!” he says. “It is an actual universe … in a microcosm! A world within a world!” Doesn’t that sound a lot like rumors about the Quantum Realm featured in both Ant-Man movies actually containing a microcosmic civilization?
In the context of the Marvel Studios films, this idea of a tiny universe existing definitely has Quantum Realm vibes to it, especially when the Quantum Realm was briefly shown in the first Doctor Strange. Could Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness incorporate the Quantum Realm as the means through which Doctor Strange explores the Multiverse? It worked for time travel in Avengers: Endgame, so this feels possible.
But if we dig a bit further into the context of this panel, things get even more interesting. In the very next panel of Strange Tales #138, that blob of light grows and morphs into the shape of a man. That being is called Eternity.
Per Ultimates Vol. 2, we know that every universe in the Multiverse manifests itself into an anthropomorphic being called Eternity that’s borderline omnipotent. It can be classified as an abstract entity akin to Death or the Phoenix Force, and in an abstract way contains all living creatures within its being. The only being(s) considered more powerful would be the Living Tribunal a cosmic judge that was hinted at in an obscure Doctor Strange Easter egg.
More importantly, that specific panel shared by Derrickson could be an admission that in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Eternity will appear as a manifestation of each universe in a similar fashion. Which is to say that he’ll have a huge role to play in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Since this film was introduced as a legitimate horror movie at San Diego Comic-Con, fans have speculated that the chief villain might be Nightmare, a demon from the comics on par with Dormammu (the cosmic entity behind the conflict in Doctor Strange) who feeds off of dreams. In the comic Doctor Strange #182, Nightmare captured Eternity and destroyed the Earth, which was reborn after Doctor Strange saved the entity. Sounds pretty interesting for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, doesn’t it?
Stephen Strange might come under Nightmare’s spell and have to explore a multiverse of horrifying alternate realities, culminating in the rebirth of the universe.
Scott Derrickson is fond of teasing his projects via social media. In July, he shared a behind-the-scenes photo from the original Doctor Strange, leading many to speculate about a sequel even before it was officially announced at San Diego Comic-Con.
The inclusion of Jimi Hendrix lyrics in his latest tweet is also an interesting choice. Those three lines are from “Are You Experienced?,” the title track from The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s 1967 debut album. Similar to Doctor Strange’s psychedelic vibes, the song includes guitar and drum parts that are recorded and then played backwards. Some say the song is about Hendrix trying to convince a girl to drop acid with him, others assume it’s more generally about seeing things from different perspectives.
Broadly speaking, the psychedelic vibes are definitely there in the song — which was released around two years after Ditko’s Doctor Strange comic that was also referenced in Derrickson’s tweet. What kinds of strange secret hints might be hiding in the message?
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will be released in theaters May 7, 2021.
Listen to “Are You Experienced?” via Spotify right here: