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Who Is The Villain In Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness?

After spending over five decades on the pages of Marvel Comics, the Sorcerer Supreme himself, Doctor Strange, arrived in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2016. In his first-ever cinematic solo film, Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) went from arrogant yet accomplished neurosurgeon to the guardian of the Time Stone and the Sanctum Sanctorum — defeating villains Dormammu (Cumberbatch) and Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) along the way. In the years since that impressive introduction, the magical healthcare professional has made his presence felt all over the MCU, appearing in several "Avengers" flicks and director Taika Waititi's 2017 hit, "Thor: Ragnarok."

While his stock as a character has risen in the blockbuster franchise, he hasn't enjoyed a spotlight of his own for some time. As of this writing, "Doctor Strange" is his only leading appearance, but 2022 will see that finally change. "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" is shaping up to be a busy MCU story, reportedly following up the conclusion of Disney+'s "WandaVision," with the inclusion of Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch, and will explore the aftermath of December 2021's "Spider-Man: No Way Home." Not to mention, a new villain will emerge to give Strange a run for his money, and while it's unconfirmed who will do so, some strong rumors have come to light.

According to Comic Book, dreaded Marvel Comics antagonist Shuma-Gorath will most likely terrorize the MCU beginning in the "Doctor Strange" sequel. Here's what this interdimensional behemoth is all about.

Shuma-Gorath's reign of terror spans ages

To put it as simply and succinctly as possible, Shuma-Gorath is the very definition of an Eldritch horror. He's often depicted as an enormous jumbled mass of tentacles, with a single large eye in the center of his "body," and is capable of an array of mystical abilities, including mind control and energy blasts. His appearance and powers are attributed to him being one of the Old Ones — a near-omnipotent race of beings that predate the creation of Earth and, in some cases, the universe itself.

With an unending hunger for power and dominion over all who inhabit the cosmos, Shuma-Gorath has overtaken hundreds of dimensions over the course of his lengthy lifespan. However, his constant attempts to take over the Earth-Realm haven't gone as planned, with his first banishment from the planet occurring in 1,000,000 B.C. The time-traveling sorcerer Sise-Neg managed to send the monstrosity packing, but sure enough, he found his way back to his former kingdom in due time.

Several thousand years later, Shuma-Gorath returned and asserted himself as a murderous deity to the people of Earth. His bloodshed led some to call upon the god Crom for help, so he sent three books that came to be known as the Iron-Bound Books of Shuma-Gorath. When read aloud, their power trapped Shuma-Gorath in a mountain that was later dubbed Mount Crom. As one would imagine, the Old One inevitably escaped yet again and continued to wreak havoc on the ancient world.

Shuma-Gorath is a constant thorn in Doctor Strange's side

Considering Shuma-Gorath's ageless nature, he has survived well into the modern-day and kicked off a string of conflicts with Doctor Strange. Their first notable encounter saw the eons-old creature occupy the mind of the Ancient One, thus forcing Strange to kill his mentor to prevent Shuma-Gorath from taking a foothold on Earth once again. The Sorcerer Supreme won that day, but it was only a taste of the coming wars he'd wage with the persistent cosmic threat.

Later on, Strange took the fight to Shuma-Gorath in his home dimension, roughly 1,000 planes away from Earth. He used a dangerous talisman known as the Wings of Needless Sorrow to drain the Old One's power, but this, in turn, caused them both to merge into a single being. Though it harmed him greatly as well, Strange impaled Shuma-Gorath with one of his own tentacles, thus breaking their bond and once again protecting Earth from an otherwise unstoppable takeover, albeit with heavy losses along the way.

Both Doctor Strange and Shuma-Gorath would continue to clash under different contexts and over varying stakes, each time with Strange and other Marvel heroes preventing his ultimate victory. How he may factor into "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," if he's in fact the official antagonist, remains to be seen. Regardless, it goes without saying that whenever Shuma-Gorath arrives in the MCU, it'll be nothing short of a game-changing event.