Everything You Need to Watch Before Seeing ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’

in Marvel

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange in 'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness'

Credit: Marvel Studios

When Scott Derrickson‘s Doctor Strange (2016) debuted it garnered a relatively mixed reception from audiences but as the New York Sorcerer has gained increasing popularity — largely from Benedict Cumberbatch‘s portrayal — over the past five years, Sam Raimi‘s sequel, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) is now one of the most anticipated arrivals in Kevin Feige‘s Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Here is everything Marvel and not-Marvel fans should watch before heading to movie theaters this upcoming May to see Cumberbatch tackle the Multiverse.

Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Credit: Marvel Studios

Marvel Cinematic Universe Movies to Watch

What MCU movies should I watch before seeing Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness?

Doctor Strange

Quite obviously, the first Doctor Strange movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is a good place to start when thinking about preparing for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Derrickson’s MCU directorial debut saw a visually stunning and engaging first outing for the popular Marvel Comics character, Dr. Stephen Strange AKA Doctor Strange.

Benedict Cumberbatch stars as the titular sorcerer with the story following his quest to heal his hands after a car crash left him unable to continue in his beloved neurosurgeon career. From meeting Tilda Swinton’s Ancient One, Kal Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Wong (Benedict Wong), and battling Mads Mikkelsen’s Kaecilius in the mystic arts, Doctor Strange also sees popular actress Rachel McAdams star as Strange‘s former lover and colleague, Dr. Christine Palmer.

benedict cumberbatch in doctor strange 2016
Credit: Marvel Studios

Doctor Strange also introduced some prominent Marvel Universe locations such as 177A Bleeker Street AKA the New York Sanctum which played a vital role in Marvel films like Avengers: Infinity War (2019) and Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021). The Sanctum Sanctorum was even featured in Taika Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok (2017) when Chris Hemsworth’s Thor went in search of his father Odin (Anthony Hopkins) with his brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston).

Derrickson’s Doctor Strange, while not the most lucrative of the MCU’s blockbusters, provides the perfect starting point for those wanting to speedily catch up before Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness releases this May. If anything, the first movie will give viewers a clear understanding of the cast of characters they will likely encounter in the sequel.

benedict cumberbatch as doctor strange wield eldritch magic circles
Credit: Marvel Studios

Avengers: Infinity War

Despite the Marvel movie‘s huge cast of actors like Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man), Chris Evans (Steve Rogers/Captain America), Mark Ruffalo (Dr. Bruce Banner/Hulk), and Scarlett Johansson (Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow), Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange stood out in the ensemble cast after teaming up with Tony Stark, and Spider-Man (Tom Holland), as they go to war against Thanos (Josh Brolin).

avengers infinity war iron man (left) and doctor strange (right)
Credit: Marvel Studios

Avengers: Infinity War is a vital entry in the MCU when considering watching anything post-Infinity Saga. The Russo Brothers’ climactic duo saw Thanos’ battle against the Avengers culminating in a historic cinematic event. It is in Avengers: Infinity War where we see Doctor Strange utilizing the Time Stone to calculate how many chances the superheroes have at defeating the Mad Titan.

Avengers: Endgame

Arguably, both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame could be grouped together because viewers cannot see one without the other but Endgame is worth mentioning just to see Doctor Strange using the mystic arts amongst the biggest superhero battle ever on screen.

tony stark death avengers endgame
Credit: Marvel Studios

Spider-Man: No Way Home

The latest entry from director Jon Watts is probably as, if not more, important to watch than the first Doctor Strange movie. It is in Spider-Man: No Way Home that Holland’s Peter Parker approaches the Sorcerer — now not the Sorcerer Supreme after being blipped for five years — in order to see if the “wizard” can help the world forget that he exists. Peter Parker‘s identity was exposed at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) following a battle with Jake Gyllenhaal’s Mysterio. After the spell goes awry and brings Spider-Man’s villains such as Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina) from various universes to the world of the MCU, Doctor Strange is left with no choice but to complete the casting leaving tears across the Multiverse. Enter Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

doctor strange and spider-man battle no way home
Credit: Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios

Marvel Cinematic Universe TV Shows to Watch

What MCU TV shows should I watch before seeing Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness?

WandaVision

One big player that will reprise their role in the forthcoming Doctor Strange sequel is Elizabeth Olsen. The Emmy-nominated actress will star as Wanda Maximoff AKA Scarlet Witch. From the official trailer, we can ascertain that Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange will seek out Wanda in her new forest location to include the Avenger in his Multiversal quest.

While a nine-episode season may feel like hard work, in order to fully understand Wanda’s motives and backstory, WandaVision is an essential watch. Debuting on Disney+ in January, the sitcom-style suburban drama launched Marvel‘s Phase Four and provided the MCU its biggest challenge yet. Not only was the series the first for the MCU, but it also quite dramatically diverged from the usual superhero recipe of previous films, while exploring Wanda’s grief about Vision (Paul Bettany) and introducing a new villain, Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hahn), into the MCU arena.

Billy, Tommy, Wanda, Vision - WandaVision
Credit: Marvel Studios

Loki

Not essential as such, but Tom Hiddleston‘s Loki series, saw the Marvel Multiverse gain its biggest origin story yet. When Loki is captured by the Time Variance Authority (TVA) and enlisted to help find and capture his own Variant, he teams up with Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) to access the orchestrator of the TVA — “He Who Remains” AKA a Kang the Conqueror Variant played deliciously by a boisterous Jonathan Majors.

If viewers are wanting the most in-depth look into the Multiverse, the Sacred Timeline, and the seemingly new Big Bad in the MCU, then Kate Herron and Michael Waldron‘s Loki is a perfect place to get that fix.

sophia di martino as lady loki sylvie (left) and tom hiddleston as loki (right) in loki series on disney plus
Credit: Marvel Studios

What If…?

Arguably a Loki spinoff, Marvel‘s animated series What If…? explores the various universes set up in the God of Mischief’s series. From characters like Captain Carter (Hayley Atwell), Captain Marvel (Alexandra Daniels), and the introduction of Marvel‘s zombies, What If…? asked what if certain pivotal events in the MCU had happened significantly differently.

One of the episodes explored how events would have been different if Doctor Strange had lost his heart instead of his hands. Though Stephen Strange loses the use of his famed hands in Doctor Strange, in What If…? he loses something even more important, Christine Palmer. After using the Time Stone to continuously go back in time and attempt to save his true love, Swinton’s Ancient One gets involved and splits the Sorcerer in two — Doctor Strange and Doctor Strange Supreme. As we can see from the trailer, a version of Doctor Strange that looks startlingly like Strange Supreme, or simply the evil Doctor Strange, will make an appearance in the feature film. If anything, watch Episode 4 (“What If…Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands?”), Episode 8 (“What If…Ultron Won?”), and Episode 9 (“What If…the Watcher Broke His Oath?”).

Doctor Strange in Marvel Studios' WHAT IF…? exclusively on Disney+
Credit: Marvel Studios

It is clear that the new timeline order of the MCU is getting longer and longer.

Details About Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness?

Who is in the cast?

Cumberbatch, of course, is back as the titular character. The Academy Award nominee is joined by Elizabeth Olsen (Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch), Rachel McAdams (Dr. Christine Palmer), Benedict Wong (Wong), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Kal Mordo), and newcomer Xochitl Gomez in their MCU debut as America Chavez AKA Miss America. Michael Stuhlbarg will also return as his neurosurgeon character, Nicodemus West, in the sequel.

Wanda Maximoff in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Credit: Marvel Studios

Has the trailer been released?

Yes! Watch it here:

It would seem that Doctor Strange helping out Holland’s Peter Parker in Spider-Man: No Way Home caused a little too much chaos — not to mention the reshoots behind the scenes — and Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is set to explore the results of that life-altering spell.

Are you looking forward to seeing Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness? Let us know in the comments down below!

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