Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is almost here, but Marvel fans still know very little about the film’s plot (assuming they’ve been avoiding leaks and spoilers). Marvel Studios has gone out of its way to keep the story under wraps, with major trailers showcasing mind-bending visuals over the central conflict.
However, attendees at this year’s CinemaCon were treated to some early footage of Multiverse of Madness. The footage offered several new pieces of information about the film, including the important role that an artifact known as the Book of the Vishanti plays in its story.
Book of the Vishanti: A magic MacGuffin
According to those in attendance for the Multiverse of Madness presentation at CinemaCon, the footage shown included a notable scene between America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), Wong (Benedict Wong), and Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch).
The scene sees the trio discuss the multiversal chaos that’s resulted in them crossing paths, and establishes that the main goal of the film will be to retrieve the Book of the Vishanti. Additionally, it’s said that both Wong and Strange quickly realize they’ll need someone capable of performing witchcraft to interact with the book, which is what leads Cumberbatch’s Strange to seek out Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen).
These plot beats suggest the item is at the center of whatever mission it is that the film’s heroes embark on. While little has been revealed about its role in the movie, the Book of the Vishanti is an item that’s already very familiar to comic book readers.
The Book of the Vishanti and Marvel
In the comics, the Book of the Vishanti contains many of the most powerful defensive spells in existence. The book is strong enough to deflect any magic that’s cast at it. It also contains some important information about the creation and development of the Marvel Universe. It’s said the book's contents were dictated to humans by the Vishanti themselves, who are three godlike entities dedicated to defending Earth.
Taking all this into account, it’s difficult to guess why Strange and friends need the Book of the Vishanti specifically in Multiverse of Madness. Odds are Marvel is probably tweaking the book’s origins and purpose for the MCU, as it’s done many times before to other comic book creations, which means its actual use in Multiverse of Madness is still unclear.
That said, it’s worth noting that Doctor Strange does use the Book of the Vishanti at one point in the comics to determine if any members of the New Avengers are lying to him. The spell he uses fails to reveal, however, that a Skrull named Veranke is secretly posing as one of the group’s heroes. That might not seem noteworthy, but keep in mind that the Skrull-centric Secret Invasion is in production right now.
In other words, with Emilia Clarke rumored to be playing Veranke in Secret Invasion, it’s possible Multiverse of Madness’ Book of the Vishanti could tie into that Disney+ series, or a number of other upcoming MCU titles.
The Inverse Analysis — If Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness really is making the Book of the Vishanti usable only by someone who can perform witchcraft, that could explain the brief shot in one of the film’s trailers that shows Stephen Strange wielding Chaos Magic. Fans will have to wait a few more days to find out if that’s the case, as well as what kind of power the Book of the Vishanti actually holds in the MCU.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits theaters on May 6, 2022.