Such is the incessant nature of the Marvel machine, the next instalment of its gargantuan cinematic saga is now in cinemas, with Doctor Strange 2 aka Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. With so much at stake in this film and for the rest of the MCU timeline moving forward, allow us to prepare you for all things Strange.

Despite its initial announcement being met with huge excitement way back in 2018, this MCU movie has been through a lot of change. A change in director from Scott Derrickson, who directed Doctor Strange, to Evil Dead and Spider-Man alumnus, Sam Raimi, and a change in writer from up-and-coming Jade Halley-Bartlett to Rick & Morty and, most crucially, Loki writer Michael Waldron mean the original plan for the film may be wholly different to the one that will grace our screens in the very near future.

What is Doctor Strange 2 about?

Following the recent, multiverse opening events of Spider-Man: No Way Home, Stephen Strange is haunted by visions of a nightmarish future. A destroyed Sanctum Sanctorum, images of horrific torture, and a Cthulhu-esque monster mean Strange must right the wrongs of his choices before the multiverse gets out of control. Meanwhile, tirelessly searching the multiverse for her missing children, Wanda “Scarlet Witch” Maximoff poses a threat to all as her chaos magic powers grow further and further beyond the realms of even the Sorcerer Supreme.

Who is in Doctor Strange 2?

Beyond the returning cast from 2016’s Doctor Strange, including Benedict Cumberbatch, Benedict Wong, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Rachel McAdams, Multiverse of Madness’ cast is arguably overwhelmed with talent. Elizabeth Olsen is in line to portray Scarlet Witch once again in a far more villainous role than we’ve seen before, and 15-year-old Xochitl Gomez will make her film debut as America Chavez, a brand-new addition to the MCU, a superhero with the ability to create portals to travel across the multiverse. Seems like she could be handy.  

Beyond the main cast, the internet has been bubbling with theories of which MCU characters will appear and just how many potential cameos there may be. With the endless possibilities of the multiverse, this latest film provides a springboard for the MCU to finally crossover with the X-Men universe, which is all-but-confirmed following Sir Patrick Stewart in the official trailer released during the Super Bowl, seemingly pointing to a Professor X cameo.

Following Andrew Garfield’s miraculous lying in the lead up to No Way Home, it seems all bets are off with just who might appear, with characters like Deadpool, Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four, and even a Tony Stark variant played by Tom Cruise being vaunted as potential guest stars.

With so many possibilities, one must hope the film doesn’t become a trip down memory lane, saying “hey, I know that guy!” every other scene, but one in which these cameos amplify the story to create the MCU’s next great cinematic event.

An image of Doctor Strange

What should I watch before Doctor Strange 2?

It’s hard to know just how much you need to know going into a new MCU film. Releases like Shang-Chi require almost little prior knowledge going in as they are mostly standalone adventures, while others like No Way Home are direct sequels that deal with the events of not only their previous films, but in this special case, the events of films 19 years prior. With that in mind, Multiverse of Madness may be better served with a little preparation.

WandaVision

It may be worth refreshing your mind of the events of WandaVision, the MCU TV series that ties directly into the events of Multiverse of Madness, per Kevin Feige. The disappearance of her children (Billy and Tommy, superpowered beings of her own creation) is likely to be the key motivator for Wanda moving forward, though the trailer heavily suggests the impact of having immense power is taking its toll on her good-natured spirits.

Loki

Loki, the Tom Hiddleston starring limited series, blew the doors off the MCU with the true opening of the multiverse in its spellbinding finale. Here, we were introduced to Kang the Conquerer, rumoured to be the MCU’s next big bad as he takes over the multiverse. Crucially, Loki also introduced us to the concept of variants – alternate versions of existing characters – of which there are likely to be many of Stephen himself in Multiverse of Madness, let alone whoever else turns up.

What If?

Another of the Disney+ series that went slightly under the radar was What If?, a mixed-bag series with a few highlights, one of which being the Doctor Strange-centric episode, What if Doctor Strange lost his heart instead of his hands? Based on the trailer, it’s likely that the Evil Strange variant created in this episode will appear in the film (“things just got out of hand…”) following his efforts at becoming the most powerful being in the multiverse by physically absorbing them all one-by-one, as well as variants of Rachel McAdams’ Christine Palmer who looks to be marrying someone else in the events of Multiverse of Madness.

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Finally, you don’t need much encouragement to go back and watch Spider-Man: No Way Home. Strange’s meddling with the universe lead to tears being created across the multiverse which allowed Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield to join in the fun. This is the event that Strange believes is the cause for the ensuing multiverse chaos, though it’s likely Strange just hasn’t found the time to finish watching Loki.

When does Doctor Strange: In The Multiverse of Madness release?

May 6th is the big day for much of the world, but for those of us lucky enough to be in the UK, we get it 24 hours earlier on May 5th.

If you’ve been to see Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness now, you may be interested in checking out our Doctor Strange 2 ending explained guide.