MCU

Doctor Strange 2 ending explained: How it sets up Doctor Strange 3

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is here, and its ending may surprise you.

Doctor Strange has entered the multiverse — and lived the tell the tale. In the latest dispatch from Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, Benedict Cumberbatch’s sorcerer superhero embarks on an adventure through alternate realities, meeting variants of some familiar faces (including his own) along the way.

By the end of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, both Stephen Strange and his co-star Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) manage to achieve some sort of closure. So what happens next? What does the ending of Doctor Strange 2 mean? And will we get a Doctor Strange 3?

Cumberbatch recently told IGN he’s “taking a bit of a break” from acting in general, which means he’s probably not rushing off to film another superhero movie. Then again, Marvel has never been afraid to play the long game. In other words, don’t rule Doctor Strange 3 out just yet. So with that in mind, let’s take a closer look at where the character might be headed next.

Warning: Spoilers ahead!

Doctor Stange 2 ending explained: Evil (third) eye

Evil Doctor Strange in Multiverse of Madness.Marvel

About two thirds of the way through the movie, Doctor Strange encounters an evil version of himself in a collapsing alternate reality. This Strange variant is corrupted by the Darkhold (an evil book of spells last seen in WandaVision) and sports a spooky third eye in the center of his forehead to prove it.

Strange defeats his evil self and moves on to greater enemies, but in the movie’s final shot we see Stephen collapse in the street only to reveal a third eye of his own. It’s a shocking ending (undercut slightly by the post-credits scene) that could have big implications for Doctor Strange 3.

The implication seems to be that Doctor Strange is corrupted by the Darkhold, just like his evil variant. Could we see an evil sorcerer go on a rampage of his own in a Doctor Strange threequel?

Strange meets Strange in What If...?Marvel

Considering the post-credits scene, that seems unlikely. It’s also worth noting that while Doctor Strange does sometimes sport a third eye in the comics, that one comes from the Eye of Agamotto and is a special ability exclusively affiliated with the powers of good. So unless the MCU is going totally off book from the comics, we doubt Doctor Strange 3 will feature a heel turn for Stephen.

Much more important than that third eye is the post-credits scene, which features the arrival of Charlize Theron as the sorceress Clea. She informs Stephen that he needs to help save the multiverse from an incursion by following her into the dark dimension. If Doctor Strange 3 is happening at all, it’s likely to follow this thread — unless that scene was meant to set up a Secret Wars movie.

Possible Doctor Strange 3 release dates

Get in line, Strange.20th Century Fox

So if Doctor Strange 3 does happen, when will it arrive? As of February, Marvel Studios has movies scheduled through The Marvels in July 2023. After that, the MCU’s roadmap is a mystery, but Marvel Studios already has theaters booked for the following dates.

  • 11/3/23
  • 2/16/24
  • 5/3/24
  • 7/26/24
  • 11/8/24

Any of these could potentially become the premiere date for Doctor Strange 3, though the MCU has plenty of other projects to get through first, from its Fantastic Four and Blade reboots to Captain America 4 and Deadpool 3. Stephen Strange will likely have to get in line if he wants another solo film, though this is one hero who’s never been afraid to use a bit of trickery to get his way.

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