The release of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on digital storefronts and, soon, physical home media, has given fans a new behind the scenes commentary track. Listen close and you might just learn a thing or two, including the location of a Doctor Doom Easter Egg hidden in plain sight.
What Happened? — Over a month after its release in theaters, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness became available on Disney+ on June 22. The movie is also being sold on digital storefronts, which includes extras like feature commentary with director Sam Raimi, screenwriter Michael Waldron, and producer Richie Palmer.
The commentary reveals that, according to Raimi, Marvel Studios’ Kevin Feige was inspired to cast A Quiet Place star John Krasinski for the role of Reed Richards based on popular fan-casting. “And because this is an alternate universe, I think Kevin said, ‘Let’s make that dream come true,’” Raimi said.
But what’s more interesting than Krasinski’s surprise appearance is how he appeared onscreen. During the introduction of the Illuminati, Krasinski’s Reed Richards appears out of a square blue portal.
Its design calls to mind the Tesseract, otherwise known as the “Space Stone” of the Infinity Stones. But according to producer Richie Palmer on the commentary track, the square is actually something else from the comics: The Time Platform, a tool used by none other than Fantastic Four nemesis Doctor Doom.
“The detail of the teleportation device he uses to get into the scene is something we took from the comics, that’s Doctor Doom’s Time Platform,” Palmer says.
Time to Explain — Doctor Doom, arguably the Marvel Universe’s prototypical supervillain, naturally has his own time machine.
Known simply as the Time Platform, the device allows anyone who stands on it to be transported to the past. It first appeared in the fifth issue of Fantastic Four way back in 1962, when Doom used it to teleport Reed, Johnny Storm, and The Thing back to make them steal the treasure of the pirate Blackbeard for him.
The Time Platform has made sporadic appearances in Marvel’s comics since. In Avengers #56, the Avengers used it to help Captain America confirm the demise of Bucky Barnes. In the 2008 mini-series Iron Man: Legacy of Doom, Doom modifies his Time Platform to allow for travel to Mephisto’s dimension, which is essentially Hell.
For such a convenient device, the Time Platform isn’t used terribly often. Still, its use in the MCU — in one universe, anyway — points to several intriguing possibilities.
For one thing, it suggests that Reed Richards of Earth-838 has potentially dealt with Doctor Doom before, and may have learned to use his Time Platform for his own ends. Its blue coloring also suggests that the Tesseract was recycled to help build it, as both are capable of interdimensional travel.
This also raises the question of whether Reed Richards was time traveling in his cameo. And if so, where in the past or the future was he coming from? And will Marvel’s upcoming Fantastic Four reboot, which will see the foursome join the MCU, involve time travel?
Given that time travel was “solved” by Tony Stark in Avengers: Endgame, Marvel’s upcoming movie — presumably starring a new Fantastic Four originating on Earth-616 — could even involve time travel. Since the multiverse has events that echo across realities, 616 Reed might be able to study Tony’s leftover notes... or Doctor Doom might get his hands on them.
The Inverse Analysis — The truth behind the Time Platform may be more boring: At the end of the day, it’s a flashy way for a high-profile character to make a buzz-worthy MCU debut. The creators of Multiverse of Madness probably thought it was nothing more than a neat Easter egg. Still, this opens up interesting possibilities about who else exists in the Marvel multiverse that we’ve not yet seen.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is streaming now on Disney+.