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Doctor Strange Fan Theories That Would Be Absolute Game-Changers

The release of Marvel's highly-anticipated superhero sequel "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" is less than a month away. The film once again stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the (former) Sorcerer Supreme and is helmed by cult auteur filmmaker Sam Raimi, who famously directed the original "Spider-Man" movies in the early 2000s. As "Multiverse of Madness" is said to be a more horror-tinged superhero adventure, it's just as – if not more – exciting to remember that Raimi is also the mastermind behind the original "Evil Dead" trilogy.

It seems "Doctor Strange 2" will delve much more deeply into the concept of the multiverse than any other property in the MCU thus far, though "Spider-Man: No Way Home" and the Disney+ shows "Loki" and "What If...?" dabbled in it previously. Furthermore, the fact that the film journeys through so many different universes opens up tons of possibilities for reality-shattering cameos and revelations. Some have already been heavily teased (and mostly confirmed) in official promotional materials, but others remain as rumors (or are simply really well hidden). This hasn't stopped fans from speculating about who may show up. 

Even if only a fraction of these theories turn out to be accurate, they will shake the MCU to its core.

Scarlet Witch villain turn

One of the most persistent –- and seemingly confirmed -– fan theories concerning "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" is that Wanda Maximoff, a.k.a. The Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), will make a complete heel turn before the end of the film, possibly becoming the main villain outright. There are a lot of reasons to believe this. The trailers themselves contain scenes of Scarlet Witch ominously conjuring spells, as well as fighting off what looks like one of the Captain Marvels (possibly a variant Carol Danvers, or even Monica Rambeau, played by Teyonah Parris). 

The most egregious clue is when Wanda says to Doctor Strange, "You break the rules and become the hero. I do it and become the enemy. That doesn't seem fair." This line of dialogue feels like it could easily be alluding to mounting tensions between the two spellcasters — if not a prelude to an all out magic fight. Of course, none of this is full confirmation (the Captain Marvel attack could be a basic superhero misunderstanding, for instance). The Scarlet Witch who says those words to Strange could also be a Variant who the Wanda from the main MCU takes on later.

The Illuminati

Another "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" fan theory that's practically been confirmed at this point is that the Illuminati will make an appearance in the film. This is in reference to the Illuminati from the Marvel comics and not the general -– and unfortunately problematic –- conspiracy theory, though there is definitely some conceptual overlap. The Marvel Universe's Illuminati is a small cabal of superheroes who work in secret to determine the fate of the world.

The original incarnation of the Illuminati was founded by billionaire super genius Tony Stark (The Avengers' Iron Man), and included such luminaries as X-Men leader Charles Xavier (Professor X), Reed Richards (Mister Fantastic from the Fantastic Four), Namor (the narcissistic king of Atlantis and rumored antagonist of "Wakanda Forever"), Black Bolt (leader of the Inhumans), and Doctor Strange himself.

In the most recent trailer, viewers see Doctor Strange handcuffed by Ultron-bots and led into a secret lair with what look like six chairs (the exact number of original Illuminati members) overlooking him. Then you hear Patrick Stewart's voice (despite his Andrew Garfield-esque denials), likely as Professor X. This, combined with everything else, seems to confirm the group's appearance in the film.

X-Men in the MCU

As mentioned in the previous entry, X-Men headmaster Professor X's inclusion in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" has seemingly been confirmed. If so, he'll be portrayed once again by esteemed actor Patrick Stewart, who played the character in the original live-action "X-Men" films starting with 2000's "X-Men" and last appearing in 2017's "Logan." Beyond that, rumors have persisted that Stewart's Professor X and Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch will have an epic battle in the film as well.

The existence of Professor X in the Marvel Cinematic Universe also opens the door for more X-Men to appear in "Doctor Strange 2." There are even alleged leaks that say a new Wolverine (not Hugh Jackman) has been cast for the upcoming superhero sequel. Further, this could be the film that finally introduces the mutants into the wider MCU. These are just rumors, of course, and have not been officially confirmed.

Tom Cruise as Iron Man

While the "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" trailers have shown off many exciting and mind-boggling moments, the film itself remains shrouded in mystery. One sequence in particular has garnered a great deal of attention: the apparent introduction of the aforementioned Illuminati. So far, Patrick Stewart as Professor X is the only character (mostly) confirmed, but there are bound to be more cameos, especially as the Illuminati scene seems to be a pivotal plot point.

Since "Spider-Man: No Way Home" confirmed that different actors can portray the same character, this could hold true for other MCU regulars. So, what about actors who were supposed to play a specific role but missed out for whatever reason? It's no secret that Tom Cruise was up for Iron Man before Robert Downey Jr. took up the red-and-gold mantle. According to one source, there might even be some circumstantial evidence that Cruise visited the "Doctor Strange 2" set during his "Mission: Impossible 7" shoot. Further, there's a possibility his Tony Stark look has also leaked (or just him in a pre-CG mocap outfit at least).

John Krasinski as Reed Richards

In the late 2000s, before production started on Marvel's "Captain America: The First Avenger," rumors flew that actor John Krasinski was a shoe-in to get cast as Steve Rogers, a.k.a Captain America. Krasinski was best known at the time (and arguably still best known for) portraying the sardonic Jim Halpert in "The Office." Eventually the role went to actor Chris Evans, who portrayed the Human Torch in 2005's "The Fantastic Four" and its sequel "Rise of the Silver Surfer".

If the rumors are true, in a fun twist of fate, Krasinski might finally join the MCU after all –- just in a roundabout way. What if, in the same way Chris Evans went from "Fantastic Four" to "Captain America", Krasinski went from losing the Captain America role to gaining Mister Fantastic? Of course, there's not a lot of substantial evidence for this theory yet. Much of the speculation appears to be based on an interview with ComicBook.com in which Krasinski said he'd love to be cast as Reed Richards. This got a lot of fans buzzing — despite the fact that the actor stated he wasn't actually involved with any MCU projects. But who knows? It's not that much of a stretch.

First look at Blade

Despite its cult status, 1998's "Blade" starring Wesley Snipes as the eponymous leather-clad vampire hunter is an extremely underrated pre-MCU Marvel film. Featuring a lesser-known Marvel character, the project hit big at the box office, arguably ushering in the current wave of superhero movies by giving studios the confidence to greenlight the long in-development "X-Men" and "Spider-Man" films in the early 2000s. The rest, of course, is history.

Given this track record, it makes sense that Blade would make his MCU debut sooner rather than later. Viewers heard the daywalker's voice -– played by Oscar winner Mahershala Ali — in the second after-credits sequence of "The Eternals." But some fans believe Blade will make his first on-screen appearance in the upcoming "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness." There's some credence for this theory. In an interview with Rotten Tomatoes, Marvel Entertainment head honcho Kevin Feige said, among other things, "We have, for years, wanted to find a new way into Blade, we love that character. We love that world. Now, with Doctor Strange and the supernatural elements coming into the MCU, it felt like we could definitely start exploring that." While not conclusive, the implications of Feige's words are promising nonetheless.

Ghost Rider

It's undeniable that Ghost Rider is a great design for a character. The flaming skull face, the awesome Hell Cycle, the leather suit, the chains ... he's like what would happen if a metal album cover came to life and became a superhero! What's not to love? This must've been the reasoning behind Hollywood's decision to try and turn "Ghost Rider" into a big budget superhero series in the mid-to-late 2000s. Avid comic book fan Nicolas Cage starred as the titular demon roadster; however, this didn't lead to a successful franchise, yielding only two mediocre-to-terrible movies.

But if it's true that "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" may bring in more occult characters from the Marvel universe, then Ghost Rider could turn up as well. Of course, the question is: will it be Nicolas Cage's Johnny Blaze, Roberto "Robbie" Reyes from the "Agents of Shield" show, or will Ghost Rider be completely recast (possibly as Danny Ketch)? To be fair, there's not a ton to support this theory beyond wishful thinking and unsubstantiated leaks. Just imagine a Blade vs. Ghost Rider fight on the big screen!


The first two live-action "Deadpool" films starring Ryan Reynolds were surprising financial and critical hits (even Francis Ford Coppola gave the first film props.) However, Deadpool's status in Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe was briefly in flux due to its (hard) R-rated pedigree. Luckily, things are currently moving forward quickly on a "Deadpool 3" film set in the MCU, with Shawn Levy attached to direct and "Bob's Burgers" writers Wendy Molyneux and Lizzie Molyneux-Logelin working on the script.

Though "Deadpool 3" is on the way, rumors suggest the Merc with a Mouth will appear in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" before his next solo sequel. There's not much proof of this, but some fans -– including this Twitter user — believe the elaborate "Doctor Strange 2" poster contains a clue pointing towards Wade Wilson's presence. Not super substantial evidence, but if anyone's going to cameo in the film, Deadpool makes the most sense — no matter how much actor Ryan Reynolds denies being in involved.

Marvel Zombies

"Marvel Zombies" was a limited-run comic series that first came out in 2005. It was a non-canonical horror-comedy about the various Marvel superheroes turning into zombies and messily eating each other (hence the title). The comics released right in the middle of the early-to-mid 2000s zombie craze, likely kicked off by the 2004 remake of the George A. Romero classic "Dawn of the Dead" directed by Zack Snyder ("Justice League") and written by James Gunn ("Guardians of the Galaxy"). 

The "Marvel Zombies" comics were fun, bloody, and gruesome. They got adapted –- perhaps more faithfully than might have been expected -– in an episode of Disney+'s animated anthology series, "What If...?" Rumors and theories have circulated in the aftermath of the adaptation that since an evil Doctor Strange shows up at the end of the first "Multiverse of Madness" trailer, other aspects of "What If...?" could make it into the live-action film as well. This includes "Marvel Zombies," which is potentially teased in the second trailer by a brief flash of Wanda covered in blood.

Given that Feige stated "Multiverse of Madness" would include scary moments and Raimi's history as the director of "Evil Dead," the presence of zombies in an MCU movie doesn't seem like too much of a longshot. Still, this theory remains unconfirmed.

Captain Carter and other What If... characters

As mentioned in the entry above, due to the presence and confirmation of an evil Doctor Strange variant in the trailers for "Multiverse of Madness," there's been a lot of speculation about other characters from the "What If...?" series who might appear in the film. One of the most prominent theories is that actress Hayley Atwell will reprise her role as Captain Carter from "What If...?" since Atwell did the voice for the animated character. She also played the live-action version of Agent (not Captain) Carter in "Captain America: The First Avenger," "The Winter Soldier," "Avengers: Endgame," and the "Agent Carter" TV series.

There are apparently some clues alluding to her possible inclusion in the poster for "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," which contains a small image that could be construed as a reflection of Captain Carter's British-themed shield. Toy designs spawned similar conjecture. If Captain Carter and Doctor Strange Supreme are indeed in the movie, it opens the door to other characters from the animated anthology, such as Mech-Suit Steve Rogers and Good Guy Thanos. The possibilities truly are endless.

1970s Doctor Strange

It might come as a surprise that Benedict Cumberbatch was not the first live-action incarnation of Doctor Strange. In fact, the first live-action Doctor Strange movie came out as far back as 1978 and starred Peter Hooten in the title role. It was a TV movie that first aired on CBS and was meant to be a backdoor pilot for a weekly "Doctor Strange" TV series. That didn't pan out.

Given the fact that three live-action Spider-Men shared the spotlight in "Spider-Man: No Way Home" and Tom Cruise's rumored appearance as an alternate universe Tony Stark/Iron Man, a quick cameo acknowledging Hooten's contributions to the legacy of Doctor Strange aren't out of the question. As unlikely as this throwback would be (especially with how over-stuffed the film looks), the MCU has already made some deep cut references to previous adaptations of other heroes. In 2008's "The Incredible Hulk", Lou Ferrigno –- who played the Hulk in the live-action TV series from the '70s-'80s -– appeared as a security guard. Similarly, actor and comedian Garrett Morris — who portrayed a live-action Ant-Man on an episode of Saturday Night Live –- made a quick cameo appearance in the 2015 "Ant-Man" film.

Sure, the odds are against Hooten showing up as Pornstache Strange in the upcoming sequel (especially since those other deep cut cameos didn't have the actors play their previous characters.) But, hey, stranger things have happened!