Many trailers and TV spots have been released in anticipation of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but that’s just the beginning. Even a month before the film’s worldwide release, moviegoers have no idea what to expect from it, who will appear in it, or even what threat to the Multiverse Doctor Strange must face. It’s been widely speculated that the Scarlet Witch, played by Elizabeth Olsen in WandaVision, will have an antagonistic role in the film. However, Marvel Studios’ desire to keep the secrets of the Multiverse of Madness under wraps has many wondering if there is a deeper evil at work.
Doctor Strange 2’s latest trailer has hinted at a terrifying face behind the mysterious presence, but the character’s identity is still a mystery. The latest trailer for Doctor Strange: The Multiverse of Madness features what appears to be a sinister face, but what does it represent? Marvel Studios’ opening fanfare features a creepy-looking face in the first few seconds of the trailer, which was released to promote the release of tickets.
As far as its know, this isn’t an actual hidden face, but rather an example of pareidolia, which is the tendency for humans to see meaningful images from random patterns. Though it’s still a month away from the film’s release, fans have begun to speculate that the “scary face” in the latest trailer could represent whoever is behind the Multiversal chaos. However, no one knows for sure who the true villain is yet.
Chthon, more than anyone else, has a compelling case to make to be the antagonist in Multiverse of Madness. Agatha Harkness introduced Wanda Maximoff to Agatha Harkness’s powerful Elder God of Chaos, who is the ruler of his own demonic realm and the author of the Darkhold, an ancient book of spells. WandaVision’s finale saw the newly-formed Scarlet Witch examining the Darkhold before hearing the voices of her twin sons Billy and Tommy. Many have speculated that the Darkhold may have corrupted Wanda, allowing Chthon to take control of the magical Avenger in Multiverse of Madness.
The Darkhold: Omega, a comic event from earlier this year, showed Scarlet Witch absorbing the Darkhold’s power and, with it, Chthon. With their shared use of chaos magic, Wanda and the demonic being had been linked for some time before she declared herself “the true Darkhold” and took control of Chthon:
“I am now the true Darkhold. For so long, you haunted me. But in the end, Chthon, you don’t have control over me. You belong to me.”
For decades, Marvel Studios and major comic book events have had a close relationship, with the two often mirroring each other. The fact that Wanda’s Darkhold corruption suggests that these events may already be taking place suggests that Multiverse of Madness could take a similar tack.
The comic book villain Nightmare was widely expected to return as the main antagonist in Doctor Strange 2 before the film’s subtitle, “Multiverse of Madness,” was revealed. Some of these theories may have faded away since the Multiverse-centric story was revealed, but recent trailers have brought them back into the limelight.
Before their first meeting in the film, it is revealed that both Doctor Strange and Scarlet Witch have been plagued by nightmares. A crumbling world in Strange’s dreams, as well as his Westview twins being seen in WandaVision.
As the name suggests, Nightmare is the most likely culprit. The ruler of the dream world has long sought to conquer the real world, drawing power from the subconscious. This could be the source of stress for Wanda and Strange because of his abilities to enter dreams and turn them into nightmares. Nightmare would fit in well with Multiverse of Madness’s horror-based premise, which was already in place before director Sam Raimi took over for Scott Derrickson. C. Robert Cargill, the co-writer of Doctor Strange, revealed in 2018 that “Nightmare will be the villain,” although things may have changed since then. Nightmare’s style is perfectly matched by this spooky face lurking in the shadows, and the terrifying smile is a look he is often depicted with.
Last year’s Mephisto debacle has resurrected talk of Marvel’s devil, who was long believed to be hiding behind the secrets of WandaVision, with the Multiverse of Madness just around the corner. Mephisto speculation abounds in Spider-Man: No Way Home, but the theories in that film are a bit more well-reasoned. Mephisto was replaced by Doctor Strange in the Multiversal blockbuster, which adapted elements of the “One More Day” event in which Spider-Man made a deal with the devil that ultimately resulted in the destruction of his world. WandaVision’s inclusion of Mephisto was at best speculative, given the paucity of hard evidence. Mephisto’s inclusion would have made sense given his role in Wanda creating her two children in a comic storyline; however, that role may have been played out in Multiverse of Madness.
It is Mephisto, Marvel’s very own devil, who guides Ghost Rider down the path of demonic justice. Mephisto may be introduced to the MCU soon to prepare for Ghost Rider’s arrival, which is rumored to be imminent. There are still many unanswered questions for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, with the true villain behind the chaos only being the beginning of the questions that need to be answered. The Scarlet Witch, played by Elizabeth Olsen in WandaVision, has long been speculated to be the main antagonist of the film. For a film meant to be shrouded in mystery, this may now be a little too obvious, given the recent trailers’ confirmation.
WandaVision’s post-credits scene shows Wanda studying the Darkhold, so it’s possible she’s been influenced by its dark magical power. The demon Chthon is the most likely culprit if this corruption is to blame for Wanda’s turn to the dark side. It’s possible that Marvel Studios is merely trying to confuse the audience with hints at various villains. Wanda, Chthon, and Nightmare all seem to have a hand in the Multiverse’s madness. But bringing up WandaVision’s Mephisto fiasco again might be a mistake.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness opens in theaters on May 6th, so fans won’t have to wait long to find out what’s going on.