Backstage News

Backstage News

Backstage News

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness just dropped a new trailer today to promote the fact that tickets are now on sale to see the highly anticipated film, which premieres May 6. If, for some reason, you’re new to the Marvel Cinematic Universe — or, even if you’re not, but you need to catch up with all of the characters and storylines — here’s a list of films and TV shows you might want to binge before going to the theater. And we’re posting this well in advance, because there’s a lot you’re going to want to catch up with… and this list, combined, clocks in at over 27 hours.

  • Avengers: Age Of Ultron

    Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) doesn’t appear at all in this 2015 film, but Wanda (aka the Scarlet Witch, played by Elizabeth Olsen) makes her first appearance here, and it’s clear that Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is as much about Wanda as it is about Strange.

  • Captain America: Civil War

    Strange isn’t in this 2016 film either, but Civil War furthers Wanda’s story, demonstrating how powerful she is. It also shows the beginning of her relationship with the Vision (played by Paul Bettany). A pivotal film for the MCU, it also introduced Spider-Man (Tom Holland) and Black Panther (the late, great Chadwick Boseman).

  • Doctor Strange

    We get Stephen Strange’s origin story in this 2016 film, which hit theaters a few months after Captain America: Civil War, but which takes place at around the same time (and there’s an Easter egg that proves it: pay attention to the call that Stephen gets when he’s on that fateful drive before his accident). This is also where we meet Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Dr. Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams), Wong (Benedict Wong) and the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton).

  • Thor: Ragnarok

    This 2017 film isn’t “mandatory,” even though Strange appears in it (it picks up from the post-credits scene in Dr. Strange). He appears on most of the movie’s posters, but he isn’t even in this trailer. But this is one of the best MCU films.

  • Avengers: Infinity War

    Nearly every Marvel character appears in this 2018 classic. First, Strange and Wong team up with Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo), and then Spider-Man. Then, Strange, Iron Man and Spidey end up in space, where they fight, and then join forces with, The Guardians of the Galaxy. Elsewhere in the film, we also see that Wanda and Vision’s relationship has deepened considerably.

  • Avengers: Endgame

    Dr. Strange doesn’t enter the picture until the movie’s final act, but he plays an absolutely crucial part in the story. What’s also crucial to the forthcoming MCU films (and shows) is the scene when the Ancient One explains to Bruce Banner how alternate timelines are created. It didn’t seem that important at the time, but remember: this film is called The Multiverse Of Madness, and alternate timelines are what make up a multiverse. Meanwhile, Wanda has very few scenes, but she makes them count. We see just how powerful she is, but also how broken she is after the events of Infinity War.

  • Wandavision

    This 2021 Disney+ series takes place three weeks after the events of Avengers: Endgame and we learn how Wanda dealt with the aftermath of the battle wtih Thanos (Josh Brolin). From the Dr. Strange trailers, it appears that we’re picking up her story shortly after the end of Wandavision. P.S. There’s another storyline from that show that will pick up in 2023’s The Marvels.

  • Loki

    This 2021 Disney+ series doesn’t involve Dr. Strange or Wanda, but it does expand — a lot — on what The Endless One explained to Banner about the mutliverse and alternate timelines in Avengers: Endgame. It’s not 100% necessary to watch this before Multiverse Of Madness, but it’s a good primer for the concept of different realities and the idea of “variants.” In Loki, we meet a number of Loki variants: one is a kid, one is a woman and one is an alligator. (The real life implication of this concept is that Marvel and Disney can always create “variant” versions of characters if the actors playing them decide to leave the franchise, or ask for too much money.)

  • What If episode 4

    The 2021 Disney+ series, What If…?, like the Marvel comic, was supposed to be an anthology of standalone Twlight Zone-ish stories that wondered what if an important detail in the Marvel universe changed. In this episode, “What If… Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands?” we learn what would have happened if Stephen Strange didn’t lose his ability as a surgeon, but he did lose the love of his life, Dr. Christine Palmer. In this episode, there are two Dr. Stranges; the “variant” version has been referred to “Strange Supreme.”

    And the thing about the “What If?” comics is that sometimes, the ideas that have been introduced in them ended up being used in Marvel’s canon. Judging by some of what we’ve seen in the trailer, maybe that’s what’s happening in this film: it certainly seems like we’re seeing Strange Supreme.

    The concept of “variants” has also led to questions about Matt Murdock in Spider-Man: No Way Home and the Kingpin in Hawkeye: are they the same versions of the characters that we met in the Netflix show Daredevil, since they’re played by the same actors (Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio, respectively)? Time will tell.

  • Spider-Man: No Way Home

    In this 2021 film, Peter Parker asks Dr. Strange to help him make the world forget that he’s Spider-Man (which was revealed in his previous film, 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home). Strange decides to help him — against Wong’s advice — and let’s just say that there were catastrophic unintended consequences. Those consequences broke down barriers between dimensions. But in some of the scenes, Strange seemed a bit… off. Maybe it wasn’t the Dr. Strange that we know, but the variant from What If…?. We’ll find out soon enough!

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