‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ Faces a Narrative Challenge

Can Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness breaks the bonds of the supporting role and propel the sorcerer supreme into the big-time?

We’re less than four months away from Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness entering theaters and I couldn’t be more excited. The long-awaited sequel is set to feature the likes of Scarlet Witch, America Chavez in her grand debut, Sorcerer Supreme Wong, and so many more as the very multiverse finds itself on the brink of utter collapse.

The film is said to be a massive fan-service event with cameos galore but amidst the well-deserved hype, there is still the elephant in the room. How is this going to feel like a Doctor Strange movie?

Spider-Man No Way Home Doctor Strange

SUPPORT STRUCTURE

Since Stephen Strange made his debut in 2016 he has played a significant supporting role through four films. Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity/Endgame, and Spider-Man: No Way Home. Emphasis on supporting. As other characters’ stories have developed around him Doctor Strange feels like his only source of growth has coincided with his expanding list of abilities to display. This sequel finally gets a chance to delve into his headspace and the emotional trauma that the events of Infinity War and Endgame left behind.

But how does one do that while juggling an incredibly dense multiversal story that is said to feature more glorified cameos than ever before? Well, to get an idea of how this story can give Doctor Strange the development he sorely needs let’s think about the actual trailer for Multiverse Of Madness.

Doctor Strange

MORDO

In it, Mordo tells us that the greatest enemy to the multiverse is, in fact, Doctor Strange. A delightfully wicked variant, of course. Our Doctor Strange will be tasked to find and stop him. And through it all, Strange will face adversities that will challenge him emotionally like never before. (Yeah, Michael Waldron, the lead writer for Loki, is definitely doing MoM.)

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CHARACTER TRAITS

What was Doctor Strange’s most interesting character trait in his standalone film? He doesn’t like to kill. One of the reasons why he became a sorcerer was to find another outlet to save lives. And yet, under his watch, because it was “the only way” to defeat Thanos; he knowingly let some of the most important Avengers die. Namely Tony Stark.

Considering that Phase 4 has largely dealt with the trauma left behind by Thanos we should see Strange struggling with his responsibilities as the up-and-coming Sorcerer Supreme. How did letting heroes like Natasha Romanoff and Tony Stark affect him and the choices he now makes?

The Best Moment | Doctor Strange

THE MAXIMOFF FACTOR

What if Wanda Maximoff becomes so dangerous Strange may have no choice but to stop her permanently? How would he handle having to kill Wanda? (I don’t see her dying in the MCU anytime soon but…a showdown between the Scarlet Witch and Strange definitely seems imminent.) These are powerful emotional narratives that can emphasize Doctor Strange rather than the movie swallowing him up.

There’s also his relationship with Dr. Christine Palmer who thanks to What If…?, we now know the immense importance she has to his story. The trailer shows Ms. Palmer getting married. But not to Strange. Instead, he’s forced to watch wistfully as she walks down the aisle in her wedding dress to be wed to someone else. He seemed to still love Christine when they last saw one another. But he had broken their relationship to the point beyond repair.

Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff in Marvel Studios’ WANDAVISION exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved.
CLEA

Of course, this leaves an opening for his comic book love interest, Clea, to enter the story and make Strange completely forget about Christine. But, considering that we see Palmer on the multiversal adventure with Strange and newcomer, America Chavez; there’s a very good chance she’s going to play a sizable role in the story.

Will this movie do a Dark Knight and kill her halfway through the film to provide Strange the narrative growth that he needs? Or is she simply tagging along as a romantic thread to Doctor Strange who honestly should have moved on after all these years? Kidding. Steve Rogers tried to do that and he only got more miserable.

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All in all, while I know this movie will deliver on spectacle and fan service, will this film finally give Doctor Strange the updated story that he desperately needs? Only time will tell.

Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness will release on May 6, 2022.

 

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