Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ post-credits scene actually points the way to the introduction of mutants to the main MCU timeline.
Warning: This article contains spoilers for: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness:.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: actually set up the introduction of mutants in the mainstream MCU – audiences may have just missed the real setup. There’s long been speculation: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: would lead to the debut of mutants in the MCU. But, while X-Men characters did indeed appear in the movie, they were actually part of a completely different timeline.
Doctor Strange’s multiversal exploits saw him transported to Earth-838, a world very much unlike the MCU. There, he encountered that universe’s Illuminati, a group of powerful superhumans who protect their world from its greatest threats. In addition to a variant of Doctor Strange’s nemesis Baron Mordo, they also include Reed Richards / Mr. Fantastic of the Fantastic Four, Black Bolt of the Inhumans, Captain Carter, Maria Rambeau’s version of Captain Carter, and even a variant of Professor Charles Xavier played by Patrick Stewart himself. This variant of Professor X was more like the classic version from: X-Men: The Animated Series: than any previous iterations by Fox, and composer Danny Elfman even added an Easter egg in the score, which included some notes from the show’s theme song. Unfortunately the Illuminati did not last long when they went up against the Scarlet Witch, barely managing to slow Wanda Maximoff down.
Mutants clearly exist in the MCU’s multiverse first introduced in: Loki:, including in worlds with Sorcerers Supreme and Avengers. Still, at first glance the events of: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: seem to leave them no closer to their official introduction in the MCU. But the post-credits subtly change that – because they suggest any numbers of mutants from Earth-838 could make their way to Earth-616 courtesy of the multiverse.
Doctor Strange 2’s Post-Credits Set Up An Incursion – Involving Earth-616 & Earth-838
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness:‘post-credits saw Stephen Strange unexpectedly approached by a woman from the Dark Dimension, a sorceress named Clea who is Doctor Strange’s greatest love interest in the comics. According to Clea, Doctor Strange unwittingly caused an event known as an “incursion,“and his help is required to correct it. Strange weaves a quick magic spell to suit up, opens his third eye, and leaps through Clea’s portal into the Dark Dimension to help. All attention is naturally focused on Clea, played by Charlize Theron, who’s an important addition to the MCU; as a result, the significance of Clea’s words is being missed.
According to: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness:an incursion occurs when a being from one timeline leaves too much of a “footprint:“in another, drawing those two realities into a collision. Such an event was actually foreshadowed by: Loki:, which illustrates the multiverse as a tree, and each timeline as a separate and distinct branch. But these branches did not only divide from one another; sometimes they overlapped and ran into one another as two timelines interacted. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: revealed these incursions are potentially catastrophic, with Doctor Strange visiting another universe that had been almost destroyed when one got out of control.
The logical question, of course, is simply which universes are involved in the incursion Clea claims Doctor Strange caused. It’s safe to assume Earth-616 is one of them, simply because it was caused by that dimension’s variant of Doctor Strange. The other is probably Earth-838, the only universe where things were changed significantly by Doctor Strange and Scarlet Witch. Wanda Maximoff possessed that timeline’s variant of herself, and used her body as a puppet to kill several of their greatest heroes. This would have a major effect on that universe’s future, with Earth’s greatest minds and mightiest heroes killed.
The Incursion Means Mutants Can Enter Earth-616:
The MCU’s multiverse is crazier than: Doctor Strange 2: showed, with timelines potentially intersecting – and during such an incursion, a person could conceivably make the jump between the universes. This is significant because Earth-838 clearly possesses an even more vast superhuman population than the mainstream MCU; the Illuminati included Professor X as a leader among the mutants and Black Bolt as monarch of the Inhumans. Any mutant or Inhuman could consequently stumble between the dimensions, arriving on Earth-616 without any warning. The X-Men’s mutant community has always included a number of time travelers to boot, and any one of them could unwittingly come careening through the incursion by accident. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: therefore set up the introduction of mutants in Earth-616 – just not mutants: from: Earth-616.
Marvel could even use this to bring back Scarlet Witch, who was apparently killed at the end of: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness:. Doing so would essentially allow them to reset Scarlet Witch in the same kind of way Gamora was effectively rebooted by Avengers: Endgame:, but in an even more comprehensive manner. After all, given Earth-838’s Wanda Maximoff comes from a universe with mutants, Marvel could easily resolve long-standing fan complaints by revealing this variant is in fact both a mutant and the daughter of Magneto. The strategy would be highly debatable – it would render: WandaVision: irrelevant in every sense – but Marvel may well consider the fan-service worth it.
The interesting question, of course, is whether or not this incursion could result in a permanent mutant presence on Earth-616. Doctor Strange 2:‘s post-credits hint an incursion can be ended; that’s the whole reason Clea has recruited Doctor Strange, after all. But there’s no reason to assume everything has to go back to normal when an incursion has come to an end, meaning some characters from a world with established X-Men could remain in the mainstream MCU. But it’s worth noting such an approach is only likely to explain away the introduction of a handful of mutant characters, rather than an entire mutant race, simply because Marvel Studios is likely to want most of their mutants to be part of the timeline viewers are more intimately familiar with. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: therefore sets up the debut of some mutants – but not the entire mutant race. Any multiversal visitors should be seen as a hint of the evolution to come.
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