There may be a secret villain lurking in Doctor Strange’s Multiverse of Madness – is it Chthon? The anticipation is building for the next Marvel Studios film, the Doctor Strange sequel, which continues the multiverse epic that has been running through Phase 4 of the MCU. The trailer for Doctor Strange 2 suggests that the spells Stephen Strange cast in NWH will break open the multiverse. This is ironic given that one of those spells erased Strange’s own memory of Peter Parker.
In the Multiverse of Madness trailer, Doctor Strange appeared to be setting up multiple villains. As depicted by a shot, Doctor Strange is pitted against one of his most fearsome adversaries in the comics, Shuma-Gorath, who is now known as Gargantos. Dr. Stephen Strange’s evil alter-ego from Marvel’s What If…? Appears in the Doctor Strange 2 trailer, along with ominous dialogue suggesting that Strange is up against an evil version of himself from another dimension.
Regarding the film’s multiversal themes, it’s easy to see why Marvel would be interested in either storyline. The ultimate mirror image villain would be a rogue Doctor Strange. However, Shuma-Gorath has consumed countless realities in the comics. Consequently, Doctor Strange proved his worth as the Sorcerer Supreme by defeating him.
However, Marvel Studios has a reputation for secrecy. Furthermore, it’s unlikely that the Doctor Strange 2 trailer has revealed the film’s main antagonist. It’s more likely that Marvel Studios is using this as a ruse to tease a slew of upcoming stories before dropping a bomb. It’s also worth noting that a notable Dr. Strange foe is already in place in the MCU’s Phase 4 for the sequel.
Traditional Marvel trailers have been designed to hide as much information as they reveal. The trailers for Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame were deceptive. However, they’ve done a better job in the past. Some twists have been obvious, like Jude Law’s character in Captain Marvel before the movie’s release.
Shuma-Gorath may be a powerful villain in the comics. Nonetheless, he is shown in the trailer tossing a bus at Doctor Strange, a weak physical attack that is easily dismissed by Strange. This suggests that the trailer for Doctor Strange 2 is deceptive in the same way the first one was. Shuma-Gorath (or Gargantos) doesn’t appear to be a major antagonist in the trailer. Instead, this suggests that it is merely a creature that has attacked this dimension, similar to its role in What If…?
The evil Dr. Strange, on the other hand, is a very nice guy. To recap, he was first seen as an animated character in Marvel’s What If…? And later returned to his own dimension to guard a pocket dimension where Killmonger and Ultron are locked in an eternal battle.
With his knowledge of sorcery and the Library of Cagliostro’s dark magic, Dr. Strange is more likely to be a mentor than an enemy. This is especially given that the MCU’s current version of the character hasn’t. As for the line of dialogue that suggests that Strange is the villain, it’s more than likely that it’s pointing toward the MCU’s version of Strange who uses magic that has broken the fabric of time and space. Due to a lack of forethought, he is to blame for the so-called “Multiverse of Madness”.
If the villain in Doctor Strange 2 is all a ruse, it naturally raises the question of who he is. There’s a good chance it’s the Elder God named Chthon, whose appearance in the MCU has been heavily hinted at, most notably in WandaVision.
Chthon and his other Elder Gods were banished from this existence way before the dawn of humanity. Because of Chthon’s foreknowledge of the banishment, the Darkhold, a collection of forbidden magic scrolls, was left behind for humanity. With Scarlet Witch claiming the Darkhold from Agatha Harkness and learning magic from its pages, WandaVision officially introduced the MCU’s version of the Darkhold.
No chances should be taken with Darkhold AKA the Book of Sins or the Book of the Damned. There are no warnings in the Darkhold about what will happen if a sorcerer uses one of its spells, because, in truth, every spell in the book is designed to wreak havoc on the very fabric of reality. The Darkhold also can corrupt anyone who reads it. Scarlet Witch’s costume darkens in the Doctor Strange 2 trailer as if corrupted by dark magic, and another shot shows Doctor Strange wielding the Darkhold.
However, the ties that bind go much further. At this point, she had read about the Darkhold, which made her recognize Wanda Maximoff’s powers as Chaos Magic. Sorcerers who wield Chaos Magic serve as conduits for Chthon, the real source of Chaos Magic in the comics. WandaVision and the title screen of Doctor Strange 2 hint at the scarlet color of Chaos Magic.
To prepare for Chthon’s return, Wanda Maximoff would continue to use Chaos Magic to distort reality. In some comic book arcs, she even became a host for his powers. This is the same arc that has recently been turned upside down. Additionally, she did so with Scarlet Witch jailing Chthon within her body. Notably, the Darkhold’s comics on The Scarlet Witch should be viewed as extremely concerning. This is because Chthon named magical beings and creatures within the Darkhold, and to name them is to gain some control over them.