Into the Multiverse

What If...? could set up Doctor Strange 2’s terrifying villain

Things are about to get weird.

Marvel is on the brink of diving headfirst into the multiverse.

The studio’s upcoming titles promise to deal heavily with the multiversal chaos seen in the Loki Season 1 finale, and What If…?, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. are all especially well-situated to dive in.

Very little has been confirmed about the plots of the latter pair of projects, but the rumor mill has been churning in recent months with many reports regarding what fans can expect from the Spider-Man and Doctor Strange sequels.

With that in mind, one very brief moment in the latest What If…? trailer suggests that Multiverse of Madness and What If…? could be more connected than fans realize — and could confirm a wild Doctor Strange 2 rumor.

Blink, and You’ll Miss It — The most recent trailer for Marvel’s What If…? is full of plenty eye-catching, eyebrow-raising moments, such as Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) saving Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) from the explosion that turned him into Iron Man. However, one blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment halfway through the What If…? trailer is worth spotlighting.

The moment in question comes at the 1:31 mark of the new trailer, as we get a quick shot of Captain Carter (Hayley Atwell) being dragged across the ground by a tentacled monster. This seems to happen in the same episode where we see Captain Carter interacting with Doctor Strange (1:13 in the trailer), which leads us to wonder:

Is that Peggy Carter fighting Shuma-Gorath?

Captain Carter taking on... Shuma-Gorath? in the What If...? trailer.Marvel Studios

Captain Carter vs. Shuma-Gorath — Shuma-Gorath is a name that probably won’t be familiar to most Marvel Cinematic Universe fans. A massive eldritch being with one eye and many tentacles, the character is one of Marvel’s weirder comics villains. He has yet to appear in any form in an MCU title.

That could be about to change, as a number of recent rumors indicate that Shuma-Gorath could be the villain in next year’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

While those rumors have yet to be substantiated in any way by Marvel, it’d make sense for Shuma-Gorath to antagonize the Sorcerer Supreme. He’s a powerful cosmic entity bent on ruling over various realms and dimensions, making him a prime candidate for a multiverse-centric story — and he’s battled Doctor Strange numerous times in the comics.

Strange, meanwhile, appears to feature prominently into What If…?, which means that the upcoming animated series could somehow tie in to — or partially set up — the plot of Multiverse of Madness. Additionally, we know thanks to Tom Hiddleston that What If…? will directly set up pivotal events in the MCU. Maybe Shuma-Gorath’s role in Multiverse of Madness is one of these inclusions?

After all, if the studio is willing to introduce a character like Kang the Conqueror in Loki, there’s no reason to believe it wouldn’t introduce Shuma-Gorath in What If…?

Shuma-Gorath monologuing in Mighty Avengers Vol. 2 #2. Published in 2013.Marvel Comics

The Inverse Analysis — Since Marvel is keeping plot details of its upcoming projects close to the vest, this is all just pure speculation. Shuma-Gorath’s role in Multiverse of Madness is unconfirmed, and the same goes for his possible appearance in What If…?

That said, it’s hard to think of other tentacled villains that Peggy Carter could be fighting in the same series that’ll see her crossing paths with the Sorcerer Supreme.

Marvel’s What If…? premieres August 11th on Disney+.