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The Classic Marvel Comics Storyline Teased By Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness

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

It's hardly an exaggeration to say that there's a lot going on in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness." In fact, an exhaustive list of every Easter egg and tease for a potential future storyline would probably be longer than the movie's actual script itself. Remember Rintrah, the green minotaur that was revealed in the trailers? Yeah, the movie's so full of mayhem that it ended up using the visually impressive character — who, it should mention, has a long history with Doctor Strange in the comics — as a rank-and-file sorcerer in the early Kamar-Taj scenes. The return of Karl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor)? He gets a couple of nice scenes and a cool fight with Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), but ultimately, he's just an alternate-universe Illuminati member who doesn't really count as a major foe. 

Speaking of Illuminati, what other movie would introduce Captain Britain (Hailey Atwell), Black Bolt (Anson Mount), and Maria Rambeau as Captain Marvel (Lashana Lynch) in the big-screen Marvel Cinematic Universe, only to have a prominent Earth-616 Avenger ruthlessly kill them all within minutes? What other movie would give the MCU's biggest X-Men tease since Evan Peters' Quicksilver misdirection in "WandaVision" in the form of an Earth-838 Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), only to have him fall to the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), too? 

Yet, somehow, none of these shocking multiverse events are even close to the biggest potential future impact the movie teases ... and, in more ways than one, it involves the one notable Illuminati member that hasn't been mentioned yet. Let's take a look at the classic Marvel Comics storyline teased by "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness."

Incursions in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness might mean more than you think

A significant plot point in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" is the concept of Incursions, which are clashes between two universes that tend to destroy one of them. The end result of such loss is in full display in one of the movie's trippier scenes, which depicts an Earth where the laws of physics have irreparably broken. In the comics, Incursions are pretty much exactly that, too — a short period during which two universes collide, with Earth acting as Ground Zero for the situation. Interestingly, the comics Incursions can be avoided if one of the Earths destroys the other within the few hours they "collide," which gets roughly as brutal as you'd imagine.

In the mid-credits scene of "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," a debuting Clea (Charlize Theron) is on a mission to stop yet another Incursion, which pretty much confirms that they'll be a fixture in the MCU's future, as well. After all, you don't introduce a character played by an actress of Theron's caliber and then drop the whole thing her first scene implies without ever mentioning it again. 

This makes sense, considering the way the MCU has consistently raised its stakes. Phase 1 was an introductory period that ended when the Avengers assembled, Phase 2 was all about encountering the other species that populate the universe, Phase 3 concluded the Infinity Saga by bringing every hitherto introduced superhero in direct conflict with the forces of Thanos, and Phase 4 has been slowly opening up the Multiverse. Could Incursions be the focal point of Phase 5 or even 6, as the different universes come in conflict? 

Does Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness set Reed Richards up for a villain turn?

Incursions in the comics essentially boil down to a planet-wide "Captain America: Civil War" scenario, and it's particularly interesting that its Reed Richards (John Krasinski) who prominently introduces the concept of Incursions in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness." After all, in the comics he's an extremely prominent figure in the storylines involving said phenomena. 

Not only is Richards a prominent figure in ultimately wrapping up the Incursion phenomena by introducing the Eight Cosmos — which is a whole different can of worms — but he's also a prominent antagonist in the Incursion storylines. In the Earth-1610 universe, Reed Richards becomes the villainous super-genius Maker, who routinely destroys the Earths his reality comes in contact with. 

Though Richards' appearance in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" is a fairly short cameo that ends with Wanda taking him through a chaos magic cheese grater, the "Fantastic Four" movie has already been announced, so whether the character'll be played by Krasinski or not, it's pretty much guaranteed that fans will see a whole bunch of Mr. Fantastic in the future. The fact that he was immediately connected with Incursions in this movie just might be a super-early hint that there will be more than one version of him, and at least one of them might not be willing to play nice.