Multiverse of Madness

Doctor Strange 2 ending explained: Is [SPOILER] really dead?

Where will Doctor Strange and Scarlet Witch go from here?

Marvel fans, rejoice! Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has finally arrived in theaters. Directed by Sam Raimi, the new film takes MCU fans on a wild, wacky, and sometimes grotesque ride, one that fully lives up to the promise of the movie’s title. And at the center of Multiverse of Madness’ story are two of the MCU’s biggest and most powerful heroes: Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen).

The Doctor Strange sequel takes both Wanda and Stephen in unexpected directions, exposing their respective strengths and flaws before totally upending any expectations fans might have had about their futures.

In fact, Multiverse of Madness ends by raising several questions about how (and when) MCU fans might see the film’s central heroes again.

Major Spoilers Ahead

Doctor Strange 2: What happens at the end?

Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) prepares to dreamwalk in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.Marvel Studios

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness doesn’t waste much time before revealing that Wanda Maximoff is its villain. The film’s plot largely centers around Stephen’s attempts to stop Wanda from stealing the multiversal powers of America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), which would not only put the fate of the entire multiverse at stake but also kill the young superhero.

That conflict comes to a head at the top of Wundagore Mountain, where Strange manages to convince America that she’s powerful enough to stop Wanda. The fight that ensues between Wanda and America results in Wanda’s monstrous deeds being exposed to the very family members she’s been trying to reach, and a fateful moment with one of her alternate selves puts Wanda back on the path of good.

The film’s final 10 minutes subsequently see Wanda vowing to destroy the Darkhold by bringing down the mountain into which its spells were first written. In the process, Wanda seemingly ends her own life and allows herself to be crushed by the crumbling temple.

But is Wanda Maximoff really dead?

Doctor Strange 2: Is Scarlet Witch Dead?

Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.Marvel Studios

As of now, the answer is unclear. And, unfortunately, Wanda’s fate will remain dubious until Marvel either confirms her death or brings her back a future project. However, it does seem unlikely that Marvel has actually killed Wanda Maximoff, one of its most powerful and popular characters.

There’s a reason to believe that beyond speculation. At the end of the Doctor Strange sequel, viewers are shown a brief burst of red chaos magic explode within the Darkhold temple while it’s crumbling. It’s never revealed what the burst of magic is, but it seems safe to say that it’s a visual hint that Wanda has dodged death.

It’s also worth noting that we never actually see Wanda’s corpse, which is often telling in the MCU. However, we’ll have to wait to see what Marvel’s plans for the character are. For now, her future remains a mystery, but she’s not the only character whose fate is shrouded in uncertainty at the end of the film.

Doctor Strange 2: What’s the deal with Stephen’s third eye?

Sinister Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) reveals his third eye in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.Marvel Studios

In Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ final scene, Stephen Strange’s brisk walk through New York is suddenly and painfully interrupted when a third eye opens on his forehead. Later, in the film’s mid-credits scene, Strange agrees to go with Clea (Charlize Theron) to fix an incursion he apparently created and, just before stepping through a portal with her, his third eye opens again.

In both instances, Stephen’s third eye looks strikingly similar to the one seen on the forehead of the Sinister Strange variant he fights earlier in the film. Unfortunately, none of the movie’s scenes explain the origin of the third eye or what its purpose is, though it’s heavily implied that it isn’t a good thing for Stephen to have. In fact, one conversation with Wong near the end of Multiverse of Madness suggests that the third eye may be a result of Stephen using the Darkhold to defeat Wanda.

In the comics, Doctor Strange does occasionally appear with a third eye on his forehead. However, the origin of that third eye is typically the Eye of Agamotto, the same magical artifact that Strange wears around his neck in the MCU. The comic book version of the talisman allows its wearer to, among other things, play back recent events and see certain truths about a person’s soul. When it’s used, the talisman usually results in a third eye appearing on the forehead of its wielder.

But in the comics, the Eye of Agamotto can only be used by magic users who are on the side of good, which Sinister Strange most definitely is not in Multiverse of Madness. Therefore, it seems fair to assume that the third eye Doctor Strange is now saddled with in the MCU might end up being a little different from the one he bears in the comics. How exactly those differences manifest themselves, as well as what problems they may cause Strange, remain to be seen.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange in Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.Marvel Studios

The Inverse Analysis — Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ends by sending both Stephen Strange and Wanda Maximoff down very different routes than they were on at the start of the film. It does what every great MCU movie is designed to do: Bring certain arcs to an end while simultaneously setting up new stories for both characters.

Now all fans can do is wait and see where the duo goes next.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now playing in theaters.