One of the many joys of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is its interconnectedness. This makes for team-ups and crossovers like the Avengers movies, fun stories and amusing callbacks. This quality is why MCU is by far the biggest film franchise in the world.
In Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, MCU has another crossover, in that although it is a sequel to a standalone movie, this Benedict Cumberbatch-starrer deals with the multiverse and brings together several Marvel characters and alternate realities, in which those characters may have their different versions.
A few of the alternate-realities that we saw in Marvel Studios’ animated series What If…? are coming true in the movie. Here are three episodes of the show that are going to have ramifications for the movie.
The most vital episode for the movie is “What If… Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands?”. Taking up from that fateful ride in which Strange lost the use of his hands, the episode differed from the main timeline in the sense that when Stephen Strange’s car crashed, he was not alone. He did not lose his hands. Instead, he lost his lover Dr Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams).
The episode is darkly insightful and depicts what would happen if Strange were to lose his wits over his girlfriend’s death. He is the Sorcerer Supreme and would go to extreme lengths to get her back.
He is also very arrogant. He would not consider the consequences and would even defy the Ancient One. However, the Ancient One had a trick up her sleeve. She divided Strange into two entities: two Doctor Stranges in one, single timeline. One went totally evil and began absorbing other dimension’s beings and monsters to gain more and more power. And the other consoled himself that Dr Palmer’s death is irreversible.
The evil version of the Sorcerer Supreme, called Strange Supreme, becomes more of a demon than a man and ultimately is able to defeat the other Strange, and resurrect Palmer. But she is repulsed by what he has become, and the reality they are in is anyway disappearing into nothing. Now regretful, Supreme tries to undo the damage but is not able to do so. He, along with everybody else in the universe, dies.
The second episode of What If…? that is important to the Multiverse of Madness is “What If… Zombies?!” In the episode, Tony Stark, Strange, and many other superheroes are infected by a virus that Janet van Dyne first contracted in the Quantum Realm. She infected Hank Pym and then the virus was let loose in the world. When the world’s mightiest superheroes became infected, there was little hope for others. Only a few like Spider-Man, Hope van Dyne, Okoye, Sharon Carter, and Happy Hogan are holding out.
In the trailers of the Multiverse of Madness, we have seen a zombified Strange, who may just be a nod to the What If…? episode or perhaps Strange visits that dead universe, in which a zombie apocalypse struck the earth.
The final episode that has effects on the plot of the Multiverse of Madness is the very first episode of the show called “What If… Captain Carter Were the First Avenger?” As the title suggests, the first entry in this series considers the scenario in which Peggy Carter was injected with the Super Soldier serum and became the First Avenger — Captain Carter. While Peggy became Captain Carter, Steve Rogers remained short and thin. But he was also provided with the prototype Iron Man suit called Hydra Stomper by Howard Stark, Tony Stark’s father, thus becoming the Iron Man of this reality.
We know Carter is in the Multiverse of Madness, and is perhaps a member of the Illuminati, the secret superhero team debuting in the movie.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness releases on May 6.