We’re opening the doors to the Sanctum Sanctorum once again, as the Marvel Cinematic Universe flicks through the Darkhold for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Following Scott Derrickson’s Doctor Strange, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and apparently Marvel’s What If...?, Spider-Man alumni Sam Raimi is taking the reins for what’s been described as the MCU's first horror-superhero hybrid.
With Chaos Magic, zombies, and even the potential of the Nightmare Realm, it fits with this new darker side of the MCU that includes the likes of Moon Knight and Blade.
Read more: The most exciting movies of 2022
As one of the rebranded Phase Zero’s most exciting projects, here’s everything you need to know about Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ release date, cast, and plot.
Doctor Strange 2 release date
Even though the MCU has shuffled its 2022 slate, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is next up on the docket. Hitting cinemas on 6 May, it takes the calendar slot previously occupied by Taika Waititi’s Thor: Love and Thunder.
Watch a trailer for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was originally supposed to release on 7 May, 2021, before being pushed to 25 March, 2022. This is its third release date, but seems to be locked in after Raimi’s ensemble underwent reshoots in September and then January. As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, the reshoots were to do with the success of Loki and No Way Home, persuading Raimi to have “more fun” with the Multiverse.
Doctor Strange 2 cast
It’s a smorgasbord of supes, as Multiverse of Madness assembles the great and the good of the MCU and beyond. Benedict Cumberbatch is back to take the lead as Doctor Stephen Strange, while Benedict Wong once again reprises his role as the long-suffering Sorcerer Supreme, Wong. Despite sitting out the past few MCU outings, Rachel McAdams returns as love interest Christine Palmer.
Following his seemingly villainous turn at the end of 2016’s Doctor Strange, Chiwetel Ejiofor is back as Karl Mordo. In terms of newcomers, Xochitl Gomez plays America Chavez — a young hero who has the ability to punch her way through dimensions. Elsewhere, there’s the major casting of Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff. Back in action after the devastating events of WandaVision, there’s a chance we’ll see Wanda embrace her legacy as the Scarlet Witch.
Rounding off proceedings, there’s confirmation that Patrick Stewart is making his long-awaited return to superhero movies as what looks like Charles Xavier. Although we’re warned to expect the unexpected, it looks increasingly likely Stewart’s return is as Professor X from Fox’s X-Men movies.
And finally, there’s just enough room for long-term Raimi collaborator Bruce Campbell to squeeze in a currently unknown role. In terms of rumoured cast members, there’s an ever-increasing list that includes Tom Hiddleston’s Loki and Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool.
Moving further into rumour territory, some think Tom Cruise could be playing an Iron Man variant, while others are convinced John Krasinski will be playing Mr. Fantastic, as well as someone new (not Hugh Jackman) playing Wolverine. With those promises of “more fun,” it’s anyone’s guess who will and won’t be stopping by.
Doctor Strange 2 plot
The plot of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is being kept largely under wraps, but from official synopses and trailers, Strange is left dealing with the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home, where he cast a backfiring spell that tore open the Multiverse. Cumberbatch will be playing at least three versions of Strange, with the main canon version, What If...?’s Strange Supreme, and the ponytailed Defender Strange all joining the party.
There’s mention of “old friend-turned-enemy” who causes Doc to “unleash unspeakable evil,” which we guess is Mordo. Strange seemingly turns to Wanda for help understanding the Multiverse, but there are suggestions she’ll break bad and become the next big bad of the MCU.
If you’re looking for others villains, the trailers have teased the squid-like Shuma-Gorath and a possible nod to the other-worldly Nightmare. Finally, the latest teaser showed off a mystery villain that is likely to be Chthon. Given the connections to Scarlet Witch and the Darkhold, either Chthon or Wanda herself are tipped to be the de facto villain of Doctor Strange 2. Then again, the trailers have also put a lot of emphasis on a live-action version of Strange Supreme.
Team Strange will be up against it, as the trailer gave a jaw-dropping tease of the Illuminati — headed up by Stewart’s Professor X. In the comics, this shadowy cabal of puppet masters was made up of Strange, Xavier, Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, the Inhumans’ Black Bolt, and Namor the Submariner.
In Multiverse of Madness, Strange is called in front of the Illuminati to answer for his crimes of timeline tampering. Either way, the movie is poised to be our first real dive into the Multiverse after it was first teased in Avengers: Endgame. Olsen described Doctor Strange 2 as “bonkers” to Glamour, and insisted Raimi is going for the “horror show vibes.”
Whatever is going on with Doctor Strange 2, it could merge the various franchises and catapult the future of the MCU forward. While we know both the X-Men and Fantastic Four are on the way, Multiverse of Madness might be the first stepping stone toward a much bigger MCU.
Whether it’s Jonathan Majors appearing as Kang the Conqueror, Sophie Turner spreading her wings as Jean Grey/Phoenix, or Tobey Maguire suiting up as Peter Parker, you can bet Multiverse of Madness’ post-credit scene(s) will be just as bonkers as the movie itself.
Watch: Kevin Feige hypes the horror of Doctor Strange 2