OPEN A PORTAL to another multiverse now if you want to avoid being spoiled on all the guest appearances in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The biggest Marvel blockbuster event of the spring contains plenty of surprises, so don’t say we didn’t warn you.
WARNING: SPOILERS FOR DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS.
Like the title of the Doctor Strange sequel suggests, there are multiverse shenanigans afoot. Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Wong (Benedict Wong) find themselves harboring MCU newcomer America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), a mysterious teenager with the uncontrollable power to travel through the multiverse who’s on the run from a grieving Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and her demonic minions. Scarlet Witch, possessed by The Darkhold introduced in WandaVision, goes on a bloody warpath to tap into America’s powers and find a multiverse where she lives happily with her sons, Billy and Tommy Maximoff.
There are a lot of surprising faces in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Some are prominent MCU figures who have been refashioned, while others are recognizable characters from other Marvel properties. To alleviate those distracting, “Where do I know them from?” questions, consider this comprehensive list your aid.
Outside of the main characters, here are all the important monsters, superheroes, and demons you need to know about in Doctor Strange 2.
The first Doctor Strange variant we meet is Defender Strange, who rounds up a rotating gang of “individualistic” superheroes known as the Defenders to battle threats. In the comics, the first Defenders group was comprised of this Doctor Strange, Hulk, Namor, and The Silver Surfer, while Marvel’s Netflix-verse released a Defenders series that consisted of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist.
We have no idea which version of Defender Strange our Earth-616 Doctor Strange “dreamed” of in the opening sequence, but this ponytailed, bilingual sorcerer is slain before we get to know more about him.
The ancient demon Shuma-Gorath was prominent in the Doctor Strange 2 trailers. The gigantic one-eyed and many-tentacled monster disrupts New York City and the wedding reception of Dr. Christine Palmer in Earth-616 after being unleashed on an on-the-run America. He’s eventually slain by Doctor Strange in one of the more fun gross-out moments of the movie.
BRUCE CAMPBELL (EARTH-838)
Bruce Campbell, the actor who played the lead in director Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead films, made his official MCU debut as a “pizza ball” vendor in Earth-838, where red lights mean go and food definitely isn’t free. Doctor Strange puts a silly curse on the vendor after he’s rude to America, a spell that lasts until the very end of the movie.
BARON MORDO (EARTH-838)
In the first Doctor Strange installment, Baron Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) was at odds with Doctor Strange and eventually became a villain. When Doctor Strange and America stumble upon him in Earth-838 in search of answers, Mordo instead embraces Doctor Strange.
That warmth doesn’t last for long, and Mordo holds Doctor Strange and America hostage at the Illuminati's headquarters. The secret organization works behind the scenes to shape the superhuman world.
DR. CHRISTINE PALMER (EARTH-838)
Dr. Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams) in the multiverse America and Doctor Strange find themselves in is a chief scientist at the BAXTER Building, which Marvel comics fans will recognize as the headquarters of The Fantastic Four. It’s also the location where Doctor Strange and America are questioned by the Illuminati, who are presumably also headquartered in this fictional Madison Avenue skyscraper. This Christine Palmer is a redhead, and she’s an expert on the multiverse who knows how MCU magic and artifacts work.
Like the Christine from Doctor Strange’s Earth-616, things didn’t work out between the pair in Earth-838. Both Christines gifted Doctor Strange a watch, which Doctor Strange in Earth-838 uses to lock up the mystical Book of Vishanti, which contains spells that can counteract the Darkhold.
CAPTAIN CARTER - Hayley Atwell (EARTH-838)
Viewers of the ABC and Marvel series Agent Carter, as well as fans of the Captain America standalone films and the first episode of Marvel’s What If...? on Disney+, will be delighted to see Captain Carter (Hayley Atwell), the version of Peggy Carter that becomes a super soldier in Project Rebirth instead of Steve Rogers.
Unfortunately, like most of the members of the Illuminati in Doctor Strange 2, Captain Carter is brutally slaughtered by Scarlet Witch.
BLACK BOLT - Anson Mount (EARTH-838)
Blackagar Boltagon, also known as Black Bolt and portrayed by Anson Mount in the short-lived ABC Inhumans series, makes a brief appearance. Black Bolt forces himself to be mute, as any sound uttered by his lips can release hypersonic waves capable of knocking down buildings, injuring people, and even eviscerating objects.
CAPTAIN MARVEL - Lashana Lynch (EARTH-838)
This variant of Captain Marvel is played by Lashana Lynch, who played Carol Danvers’ best friend Maria Rambeau in the Captain Marvel movie. Maria eventually moves on from being an Air Force pilot to become the founder of S.W.O.R.D. In Earth-616, where the events of WandaVision transpired, we learn from her daughter Monica Rambeau that Maria dies of cancer.
However, Maria Rambeau in Earth-838 is the mighty Captain Marvel herself, sharing her powers of flight and superhuman durability and strength.
REED RICHARDS/MR. FANTASTIC - John Krasinski (EARTH-838)
The Fantastic Four have been plagued by poorly received movie adaptations. When Marvel Studios announced they were taking yet another stab at it, fans immediately started proposing stars.
John Krasinski, who directed A Quiet Place and showed off his acting chops in The Office, was a natural choice for Mr. Fantastic, a super-genius who can expand and elongate his body. And fans got what they asked for, sort of. In Doctor Strange 2 Krasinski is part of the Illuminati, but it’s unclear if he’ll play the role again in the upcoming Fantastic Four film since things don’t end well for him here.
CHARLES XAVIER/PROFESSOR X - Patrick Stewart (EARTH-838)
Sir Patrick Stewart’s X-Men leader and mutant civil rights activist Charles Xavier was one of the most rumored cameos in the Doctor Strange sequel. It turns out most of those leaks, including the one about Professor X’s golden hoverchair from the X-Men animated series, were true. As one of the most powerful telepathic mutants in the MCU, Professor X successfully gets inside Scarlet Witch’s mind, although his attempt to free her from the Darkhold’s control leads to one of the scariest and saddest parts of the movie.
Not much is known about Sinister Strange, only that he’s just as stubborn and arrogant as Doctor Strange in Earth-616, and he has a disturbing third eye that he develops after becoming the “guardian” of The Darkhold. Sinister Strange is also more ragged in appearance than his counterpart, likely from The Darkhold’s effects on him.
Doctor Strange eventually defeats this variant in one of the most memorable and creative battle scenes in the movie.
ZOMBIE (DEFENDER) STRANGE
Fans of Episode 5 of What If...?, which finds Earth’s mightiest heroes becoming zombies, will get a kick out of a zombified Defender Strange, which Doctor Strange (Earth-616) uses with the aid of The Darkhold to finally make Scarlet Witch stand down.
Zombie Strange is assisted by a creepy cohort of damned souls to tear down Wundagore Mountain’s defenses, and he retains the powers he had when he was alive. You can tell director Raimi had a lot of fun revisiting his zombie roots in this sequence.
CLEA - Charlize Theron
Doctor Strange and Christine Palmer achieved closure and agreed that remaining friends is the best route for them, but Strange may finally get his chance at happiness with a new romantic interest. Clea, both a disciple of Doctor Strange and his longtime lover in the Marvel Comics, makes her MCU debut thanks to Charlize Theron in a post-credits scene.
In this brief cameo, Clea tells Doctor Strange they need to fix the “incursion” he caused. At the end of the scene, he and Clea plunge into a portal, presumably setting up the next Doctor Strange movie.