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The Book Of Vishanti From Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness Explained

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

Superhero movies often stick to a successful formula of chasing some kind of MacGuffin, be it closing a cosmic portal, stopping a villain from getting their claws on a mystical item, or preventing someone from causing worldwide destruction, that is the excuse for all the action-packed shenanigans, cameos, and shocking third-act revelations. But Sam Raimi's "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" features a few different MacGuffins through the alternate universes, which is actually quite impressive. Critics praised the director for bringing his horror expertise to the Marvel Cinematic Universe while also noting that Elizabeth Olsen delivers a delightfully vicious performance as the Scarlet Witch.

Although the numerous trailers and TV spots revealed plenty of things about the sequel, the big surprise was that Wanda Maximoff is the true villain of this story. The former Avenger hunts America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), who has the power to jump between realities, while also using the mystical book of the damned, the Darkhold, to search for a universe where she can be with her two boys, Billy (Julian Hilliard) and Tommy (Jett Klyne). Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is determined to stop Wanda from doing this, so he goes looking for the legendary Book of Vishanti, which could give him all the power he needs to defeat her. But what is this all-powerful book, and why is it so important to the sorcerer?

The Book of Vishanti contains the most powerful order magic

The MCU introduces the Book of Vishanti as a legendary source of knowledge that is hidden in the space between universes, and if a sorcerer reads it, they will find whatever spell they need to defeat their enemies.

The book first shows up in the comics back in 1963's "Strange Tales" #116, in which Doctor Strange finds a chant in the book to travel into the Dream Dimension to save the souls of people who have been trapped in an eternal sleep by the villain Nightmare. It holds the most powerful order magic inside it and can be used to protect people and banish evil, making it the opposite of the Darkhold, which contains terrifying chaos magic (via Marvel Database).

It was created by the Vishanti, the legendary sorcerers Agamotto, Hoggoth, and Oshtur, who poured all their combined knowledge of the most powerful spells into one book for humans to learn magic (via Marvel Database). It was originally guarded by a sacred griffin in ancient Babylonia, but the Ancient One traveled back in time to retrieve it so that it could be used by modern sorcerers. Basically, the book has an incredibly rich history that we don't get to see in the MCU.

The MCU's Book of Vishanti

Because "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" has a shorter running time than most MCU movies — clocking in at 2 hours and 6 minutes, including the credits — the story doesn't leave much room to explain the Book of Vishanti's importance in great detail. Although Doctor Strange first believes it's a myth, Wong (Benedict Wong) confirms that it's real, which he learned when he became Sorcerer Supreme during the time Strange was gone thanks to the Blip.

It isn't until Doctor Strange finds his way through Earth-838 that they actually get hold of the book, but unfortunately, Wanda almost immediately destroys it. This might be the best decision for the MCU, however, because if Strange has access to whatever power he needs, it would undercut any future villains or conflict that he comes across because he could just simply whip the book out and defeat them. Basically, the Book of Vishanti is far too powerful for its own good.