Cameos, Jump Scares, and Representation, Oh My: ‘Doctor Strange 2’

Elizabeth+Olsen%2C+Benedict+Cumberbatch%2C+and+Xochitl+Gomez+star+in+Doctor+Strange+in+the+Multiverse+of+Madness.

Marvel

Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Xochitl Gomez star in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”

Carly Philpott and Quinn Rudnick

Warning: this article contains major spoilers for “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”

Marvel released its most recent addition to the MCU, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” May 6, and with endless plot twists and shocking cameos, it was an instant hit. Two of our editors, Editor-in-Chief Carly Philpott and Managing Editor Norah Rudnick, sat down to discuss the movie.

Carly Philpott: Well, we certainly have a lot to unpack.

Norah Rudnick: Yes, we definitely do. I thought “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” was really well done, and it was great to watch.

CP: I agree. It definitely opened up a bunch of new doors for the MCU. Not only did we see the villain arc of Wanda Maximoff, we also experienced the multiverse more than ever before and we were introduced to a dynamic, new character.

NR: I thought Wanda turning into a villain was really interesting and also a really important stage for her character development. I thought America’s character was really cool, and her backstory was really well put together and cohesive.

CP: Plus, with the introduction of America and her family, we got to see on-screen representation of a queer relationship and characters. That’s obviously a big deal for the MCU, even if it has happened before. Seeing that in the movie was a major moment.

NR: America really opened up the door to bigger developments in the multiverse because of her power to transition between universes. I think the cameos of characters began to answer questions that fans had for a long time about how the MCU would incorporate new characters into the multiverse.

CP: Yeah, that’s for sure. I know that fans have long wondered when characters from the X-Men and Fantastic Four universe, among others, would be officially added to the MCU, especially after the release of the Disney+ show “What If…?” last August. But “Doctor Strange 2” did not disappoint, introducing Professor X from “X-Men,” Captain Carter and Maria Rambeau’s Captain Marvel from “What If…?,” and Reed Richards from “Fantastic Four,” among others. Each and every character reveal felt like a major cinematic reveal.

Plus, the movie was much more attuned to the horror genre than previous MCU movies, providing not only classic thriller tropes, but also shocking jump scares.

NR: Yeah I definitely was shocked by how creepy the movie turned out to be. But overall I really thought the horror aspect was so well done. It really made the scare-factor resonate with the audience.

CP: The main source of the fear was in Wanda’s creepiness, as well, which was definitely part of what made it so successful. The fans have grown to love Wanda, and to see her not only do the wrong thing, but also be a murderous supervillain, was certainly emotionally conflicting.

NR: Wanda has definitely been one of the most adored characters in the MCU, just because of her ties in a lot of movies and her general personality. I think it was really heartbreaking even though Wanda took the villain path that she died near the end of the movie.

CP: Yeah, I think a lot of us were expecting Wanda to die, but it was still shocking and sad. Then again, I’m not convinced she is dead. We see her destroy her temple, and with it, ostensibly herself. But we don’t see her die. We just see a red explosion and Dr. Strange assumes she is dead. Based on our past experiences with Loki dying and coming back, and the fact that we saw multiple variants of Wanda in the movie, I suspect this will not be the end of the Scarlet Witch.

NR: You make a very good point, I mean Loki has died so many times and he re-appears in the next few movies. I think it’d be really exciting to see Wanda come back again, even if she continues to be the villain in the MCU from now on. Hopefully she’ll return in the inevitable continuation of the multiverse.

CP: Whatever happens next, it’s undeniable that “Doctor Strange 2” opened so many possibilities for future stories within the MCU. We don’t know exactly how or when many of the characters in this movie will return, but we can be sure that “Doctor Strange 2” has kept MCU’s phase four on the right track.