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Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness' Mid-Credits Scene Explained

Contains spoilers for "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness"

It really wouldn't be a Marvel movie without some tremendously chunky hint at the future of the MCU accented by the appearance of a wild new character that we've never seen before. Of course, now that the barn doors to other multiverses have been thrown wide open, the potential guest list for the closing moments of future Marvel movies is a lot longer. While the appearance of The Illuminati may well rock fans' worlds, a brief visit from a major player in Stephen Strange's comic book history might just top it.

Much of the fun of "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" turns on these anticipated cameos, but director Sam Raimi saves the final shock appearance for a future love interest for the good doctor. Enter: Charlize Theron's Clea during an ominous mid-credits sequence.

Charlize Theron provides a Clea look at the future of Doctor Strange

She's an Oscar winner who's caused issues for Dominic Torretto (Vin Diesel) in the "Fast and the Furious" franchise and has fought alongside Tom Hardy's road warrior in "Mad Max: Fury Road." Now Charlize Theron makes her MCU debut in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," and she may bring a blend of good and bad for the doctor, given her connections with other characters in that universe.

In the mid-credits scene, Stephen walks down a road only to have his day interrupted by a wielder of the mystic arts we've not met before. Theron's character appears through another tear in reality, and though she never reveals her identity, she is listed as Clea in the credits and warns Stephen of more dangers that are on the way following his multiversal meddling. After his bout with Wanda, Clea reveals that Strange has created another incursion between dimensions that needs to be addressed. Taking this complete stranger on her word, Strange's third eye opens, and he hops into what looks remarkably like the Dark Dimension, last seen in the hero's debut film, "Doctor Strange." 

So just who is Clea, and what connection might she have in the magical corner of the MCU?

Clea is a love interest of Doctor Strange and a link to one of his greatest foes

Making her first appearance in 1964 in Strange Tales #126 (via Marvel), Clea is the niece of Dormammu (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch in the first film), who was last seen in an eternal stalemate in Scott Derrickson's 2016 film. Her history in the comics initially saw her square off against the former Sorcerer Supreme at the behest of her uncle, before eventually switching sides and even falling in love with Strange.

Eventually, the two were joined in a marriage of sorts. Clea, being extra-dimensional and all, couldn't allow the knot to be officially tied. Even more interesting, though, is that in the comics, Clea was recently appointed Sorcerer Supreme following the death of her beloved in the major Marvel Comics story arc, "The Death of Doctor Strange." She even took her former husband's name after his passing. 

Factoring this in, could this new character and the well-known path she ends up on in the comics be setting up another piece to an even grander puzzle in the MCU? Bring on Clea Strange, we say.

Could Theron be a new Doctor Strange?

The MCU sure isn't what it used to be — at least in terms of its occupants. Many of the core members of Earth's Mightiest Heroes are no longer with us, and those that remain may be about to age out of their tights. With that in mind, could Theron's arrival in the MCU be another introduction to a replacement?

Various heroes in the MCU over the last year have passed, or may be in the process of handing their heroic moniker over to another. So far, we've had a new Captain America, the arrival of a new Black Widow, and a young Hawkeye apprentice. Let's not forget that we're also getting a new Thor in a matter of months. With these superhero shift changes in mind, might Clea's current title in the comic books set a precedent for her place on the big screen? 

Chances are it could well be the case. Either way, you can see her make her brief appearance in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" in theaters now. Just stick around for a bit after the credits start to roll.