With the release of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Marvel Studios is returning to the parallel world teased by last year’s Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Much of the studio’s output after 2019’s Avengers: Endgame has been devoted to establishing what the multiverse really is and how it works. So before we dive into the multiverse of madness, here’s what you need to know about the current state of Marvel-like reality.
The question “What is the Multiverse when it comes to Marvel movies?” Perhaps the best answer is cosmic entity The Watcher, who calls it Disney+’s 2021 animated series What If…?: “Space Reality. It’s a prism of endless possibilities, where a single choice can morph into infinite realities, creating alternate worlds that you know.
In practice, the meaning of this is actually clear from the point of view of time travel in Marvel mythology. As the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) said in Avengers: Endgame, before the heroes traveled back in time to claim the Infinity Stones, “changing the past doesn’t change the future. …Think about it. If you travel in the past, that past becomes your future and your old present becomes the past, which can no longer be replaced by your new future.”
Here is what to know before watching ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’
Instead, Endgame argues, going back in time creates a parallel timeline. Marvel lore has been around for decades in the comics; In 1979’s Marvel Two-in-One Number 50, Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four made it clear to readers and fellow superheroes. Anything you change for past results brings about another reality. – A new story too because of your presence.
Endgame follows Hulk’s suggestion with Loki (Tom Hiddleston) altering his own timeline by vanishing with the Space Stone every chance he gets. This leads to the 2021 Disney+ spin-off series Loki. Which added an unexpected wrinkle in the form of the Time Variance Authority – an organization founded by mysterious cosmic beings called the Time Keepers to deflect and destroy alternate timekeeping. Truly shutting down the multiverse and reducing it to what I describe as a “sacred timeline”.
At the end of Loki’s first season, the titular anti-hero – and a parallel version of herself who went by the name Sophie (Sophia Di Martino). Sophie revealed that the timekeepers were a lie and that TVA had actually been created by a mysterious person known as he who lives (Jonathan Majors). Encountered by both realms, they reveal the story behind the Sacred Timeline: instead of being the only remaining timeline. Made up of reconstructed elements of the Multiverse – as it was after a multiverse war between realities – instead of this, a timeline was sealed apart from the rest of the multiverse.
“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits theaters on May 6.”
He Who Remains recounts in the Disney+ series that he discovered the existence of the multiverse in the 31st century. Around the same time, that other realities had other versions of themselves. The various realities eventually go to war, before he arms the quest for one of his counterparts. A living being who can eat space and time brought about by traversing the realities created by cracks in reality – and, in his own words, “isolated”. The calendar created TVA to prevent other branches from further disrupting the calendar.
What if…? In the series’ first-season finale, the Watchers’ home in the so-called “Nexus of All Realities”. A place that appears outside of all regular realities, but with the ability to see them all—is transformed. Into a version of Ultron By, in whose body the Infinity Stones are embedded. From there, this version of Ultron is able to easily invade various multiverse realities. Requires the creation of a team of multiverse superheroes to stop him.
Among these superheroes is none other than Doctor Strange, who was corrupted by dark magic in an effort to revive his dead girlfriend. If the alternate version of Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), who appears in the Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness trailer, really what if…?. The character’s version is an unexpected connection between a series that feels completely different from the central MCU and the timeline. That includes the Avengers (and others) that the audience has come to love.
So what happened to the separation from the main timeline established by he who lives in it? Loki is the answer at the end of the chain. Sophie exiles Loki to a version of TVA before she lived and allows the timeline to reconnect.
Doctor Strange and Spider-Man
It’s about removing the maintenance of the once-sacred timeline that changes everything to move the MCU forward. To separate the timeline from who he lives in and without VAT, multiple Spider-Men may appear in last year’s Spider-Man: No Way Home. With no alternate timeline or crossover between the intersecting realities. It’s all too easy for Venom and Vulture to jump between Disney and Sony-controlled versions of their respective superhero universes.
The jump into the multiverse seen in No Way Home was the result of Doctor Strange’s deranged magic. Making everyone forget about Peter Parker’s (Tom Holland) Spider-Man. While he who remains claims to have discovered the existence of the multiverse in the 31st century. Things fell into place a millennium earlier for MCU magic, which may also explain why the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) had two sons.
Seemingly out of nowhere in last year’s WandaVision series on Disney+. After all, Wanda is indeed one of the most powerful magic users in the MCU. It’s not impossible to imagine that she accidentally borrowed two children from an alternate timeline as part of her trauma-driven… Westview.
Many questions remain about the Multiverse as it relates to Marvel. How easily can characters outside of the main MCU – a timeline that has yet to diverge – cross universes? If previous Sony Spider-Man movies starring Tobey Maguire are now part of the Marvel Cinematic Multiverse. Is the same true for Fox’s X-Men and Fantastic Four movies? And, of course, what did Doctor Strange do to make it all so bad now?
Regardless, even after Doctor Strange’s next on-screen outing, the multiverse isn’t going away. In other words, even after viewers leave the Multiverse of Madness. They should keep in mind that the story has only just begun.
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