You won't be needing one of Strange's portals to rewatch all 27 MCU titles; there are a few that bears weight on the film. We'll highlight significant plot points, characters, and details; with a spoiler alert warning if you have yet to watch these MCU projects.
What MCU projects to watch before Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness?
Ahead of the global release of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness next month, we recall the journeys of Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen). While the multiverse is slowly opening its gates, here's a look at the films and TV series you'll need to watch ahead of the film's release on 6th May 2022.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
Before audiences first met Stephen Strange, the second Avengers film, Age of Ultron, introduces us to the Maximoff twins, Wanda and Pietro. Experimented on by a small remnant group of HYDRA with the Mind Stone, Pietro gains the ability of speed while Wanda's is rooted in energy manipulation and telepathic abilities.
Joining forces with Ultron, the Maximoff twins aimed to use their abilities, at the behest of Ultron, to create friction amongst the Avengers while teasing a different side to Wanda. The film alludes to the importance of family to Wanda, referenced in later appearances, having a significant influence in WandaVision and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Stephen Strange makes his MCU debut in his first solo outing following the sudden reference during Captain America: The Winter Soldier. A brilliant yet self-absorbed neurosurgeon who, following a car accident, loses his mobility and function within his hands.
Distraught, he seeks out answers through multiple surgeries, experimental treatments and therapy to gain function but to no avail. He seeks out a possible lead at the Kamar-Taj in Nepal, where under the guidance of the Ancient One, he learns and masters the mystic arts.
This film not just provides a good explanation of the origins of the Infinity Stones, but it's the first time we get a slight glance into the multiverse. As Stephen continues to grow his powers in the hopes of becoming the next Sorcerer Supreme, his interactions with Mordo, however, play a role in the events of the Multiverse of Madness.
Avengers: Infinity War & Avengers: Endgame
The final Avengers films, Infinity War and Endgame, sees both Stephen and Wanda face different challenges as the heroes of Earth form an alliance to acquire the Infinity Stones before the Mad Titan, Thanos, does. While Steven is kidnapped by one of Thanos' allies, Ebony Maw, possessing the Time Stone, Wanda, Steven Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, Sam Wilson, Bruce Banner, and James Rhodes take an injured Vision to Wakanda.
As they attempt to remove the Mind Stone from Vision, a battle descends on Wakanda to stop Thanos; however, their plans are thwarted as Thanos gains the power of all the Stones and kills Vision for one and snaps the universe.
Endgame sees the remaining heroes deal with the fallout as they master a plan to travel back in time to acquire all the Stones before Thanos and bring everyone back. This plan eventually succeeds as Professor Hulk's snap brings the heroes and allies back, including Stephen and Wanda, for a final battle against the Mad Titan.
Undoubtedly, both Avengers films have some significance over Steven and Wanda's journey, but most importantly, does it affect how the multiverse was created?
Picking up sometime following the conclusion of Avengers: Endgame, this limited series catches up with Wanda as she tries to move on without Vision by moving to a small, quaint town of Westview. In Westview, she created her alternate reality where she can live out her wildest dreams which appear to draw inspiration from various television shows throughout the decades.
Throughout the series, Wanda battles with her grief and loss while exploring her origins, leading to her becoming the Scarlett Witch. The series concludes with Wanda embracing her newfound powers after losing Vision and her twin sons as she begins her quest to uncover the secrets of the Darkhold.
Marvel Studios' first foray into animation culminated in the original series, What If. Through the guidance of an ominous being called The Watcher, events from the current MCU timeline are explored, providing alternate realities and consequences which could inspire Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Key episodes in the first season that may factor in the upcoming film are the following:
- Episode 4: What If... Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands?
- Episode 5: What If... Zombies?!
- Episode 8: What If... Ultron Won?
- Episode 9: What If... the Watcher Broke His Oath?
These episodes follow Stephen, Wanda, and the various characters featured in these episodes may play a more significant role in the Multiverse of Madness. Most importantly, it follows Steven and Wanda throughout their journey and exposes their alternate realities based on their choices.
Spider-Man: No Way Home
The most recent MCU property to watch is the third entry in Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures' Spider-Man trilogy. This film is Stephen Strange's last appearance before his second solo project as Peter Parker pays him a visit at the New York Sanctum.
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After he, Ned and MJ had their college applications rejected by association with the web-slinger, Peter asks Steven if there's a spell that could make the world forget that he's Spider-Man. Ignoring Wong's warning, Stephen cast the spell; however, Peter had a few adjustments, which caused the spell to go amok.
What happens is a near-cataclysmic event where villains from alternate Spider-man universes descend into the MCU timeline, all tasked with a single mission: to kill Spider-Man, With assistance from Ned, MJ and other heroes, including Stephen himself, to save their current universe from "the fabric of reality" being destroyed, however, it's no telling how the events of No Way Home have a direct consequence on the Multiverse of Madness.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness releases in theatres worldwide on 6th May 2022. Avengers: Age of Ultron, Doctor Strange, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, WandaVision and What If…? are currently streaming on Disney+.
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Featured image courtesy of Marvel Studios.