That’s become increasingly clear in recent weeks after the creation of the multiverse in the Loki Season 1 finale and some choice comments from What If...?’s creative team. But it’s still unknown exactly how much What If…? will set up for the MCU, or what other Phase Four titles will be most tied in.
Now, fans have reason to believe that What If…? will feature a possibly game-changing connection to both WandaVision and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
The Theory — A new What If…? leak reveals that the Doctor Strange variant (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch) set to be featured in the upcoming animated series will be known as “Doctor Strange Supreme.” Additionally, a leaked description reveals that the character will be a version of Stephen Strange whose view on life changes after an “unforeseen event,” leading him to choose a path “filled with even darker magic.”
The leak doesn’t reveal anything further about the character, but that brief description forces one to wonder exactly what “darker magic” What If…?’s version of Stephen Strange practices. While the answers are practically limitless, the presence of Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. Scarlet Witch (voiced by Elizabeth Olsen) in the series does raise the possibility of What If…? following a Strange variant who comes into possession of the Darkhold.
The Darkhold in the Multiverse — It’s been known for quite some time now that Doctor Strange will be one of the key figures in the first season of What If…? We also know that Strange’s episode of What If…? will be a “tragic love story,” and that the character will cross paths with Captain Carter (Hayley Atwell) at some point on-screen.
One recent interview rumor even went so far as to say that the series will set up a cameo appearance from the Peggy Carter variant in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. There’s still a real chance of that happening in next year’s Doctor Strange sequel, but it’s not the only way that What If…? could set up parts of the film’s story.
In fact, it’s difficult to imagine a better way for What If…? to help prime MCU fans for what’s to come in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness than by exploring the Darkhold further and revealing some of what the magical book can do.
WandaVision not only set up the Darkhold to be a point of interest in Multiverse of Madness but also suggested it will be a key part of Wanda Maximoff’s storyline in that film. It’s heavily implied that the book has a corruptive influence on those possessing it, and giving viewers a taste of what that might look like in What If…? would be a wise move on Marvel’s part.
At the very least, Strange experimenting with the Darkhold certainly works as the explanation for the “darker magic” storyline hinted at in this What If…? leak.
The Inverse Analysis — What If…? is shaping up to be one of the most unique and playful titles that Marvel Studios has released. But just because the animated series is primarily focusing on seemingly unimportant stories, that doesn’t mean it won’t ultimately be just as integral to the MCU as Loki or WandaVision. In fact, it’s looking increasingly likely that the series will further build off plot threads present in both those series.
Whether or not that also means it’ll feature appearances from familiar objects like the Darkhold remains to be seen. That said, there’s no denying that Marvel’s decision to include both Doctor Strange and Wanda Maximoff in an alternate reality-based show like What If…?, so close to the 2022 release of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness certainly feels important.
What If? premieres August 11th on Disney+.