The week of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has arrived. Since the first teaser trailer was unveiled during the credits of Spider-Man: No Way Home, Marvel fans across the world have been trying to piece together what's exactly going on in the highly anticipated sequel.
Note: spoilers for Doctor Strange and Wanda Maximoff's arc in the MCU as well as potential spoilers for Multiverse of Madness.
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the now-defunct Sorcerer Supremer, Multiverse of Madness is set to be another exciting blockbuster with the rumour mill going into overdrive as to who might pop up. Everyone from John Krasinski as Reed Richards to Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool to Tom Cruise as an alternative Iron Man has been mentioned – if you can think of it, there has probably been speculation. Although, that's not the biggest dilemma.
No, the problem many people face is that there are now 27 Marvel movies that take place within the MCU. That's a significant amount of watching to do in such little time. To help break this down so you can go and watch Doctor Strange 2 with good familiarity for the characters and what's happening, we've compiled a list of the essential movies that you need to watch. Better yet, these choices are available to stream on Disney Plus so you don't need to buy anything if already subscribed.
Let's begin with the biggest no-brainer. The first Doctor Strange film was released in 2016 and followed wealthy neurosurgeon Stephen Strange, who suddenly loses the use of his hands in a near-fatal car crash. Soon after, he discovers the hidden world of magic and alternate dimensions and begins to train under the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton). Not only does the first movie give you the best introduction to the character along with most of its supporting cast but it also sets up threats for Multiverse of Madness.
Avengers: Infinity War
What happens if Earth's mightiest heroes fail? That's basically the premise of Avengers: Infinity War, which sees the genocidal warlord Thanos come to Earth among other planets to gather the Infinity Stones and wipe out half of the universe. Billed as the most ambitious crossover event in movie history, this movie sets up the stakes for Wanda Maximoff / Scarlett Witch (played by Elizabeth Olsen), who will be a key player in Multiverse of Madness. You also get to see more of Strange and how he has progressed as the Master of the Mystic Arts.
A direct sequel to Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame picks up with our fallen heroes dealing with the chaos caused by Thanos. During this epic culmination, Scarlett Witch and Strange help save the universe with the latter breaking the rules to make it happen. It's an emotional ending for Wanda, one that looks to carry through to Multiverse of Madness.
Strange's story also picks up in Spider-Man: No Way Home, which is only available to watch via video-on-demand on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV Plus and other streaming platforms that offer it. All you need to know is that Strange breaks the rules again, this time to help Spidey and now looks to suffer the consequences in the upcoming movie.
Bonus: WandaVision / What If...?
Okay, so outside of the movies, Marvel now has lots of MCU-focused TV series with WandaVision dealing with Scarlett Witch's outcome from Endgame. The nine-episode series is very entertaining and will give you more depth to the character, while also leading straight into the Multiverse of Madness. Not a necessity but certainly useful to know.
What If...?, on the other hand, is an animated anthology series, however, you only need to watch one 36-minute episode: What If... Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands?. This specifically sets up an alternative version of Stephen Strange, known as Strange Supreme that is set to appear in Multiverse of Madness.
Of course, I massively recommend watching the complete MCU timeline as it has brought me so much joy and naturally, you will get more out of any upcoming MCU movies – of which, there are 12 in various stages of production. That said, time is always a factor and hopefully, this helps to get you somewhat caught up in time for the blockbuster.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will star Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, Rachel McAdams and Chiwetel Ejiofor. It will premiere in theatres in the UK from May 5th and then roll out globally on May 6th, 2022.