Who is the main villain in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness? The Doctor Strange 2 Super Bowl trailer raises significant questions in this regard. Since helping Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Homecoming, where he unintentionally opened up the multiverse and caused the lines between universes to crack and possibly disappear entirely, things have appeared to be getting worse for Strange in his long-awaited follow-up to his 2016 solo film. Strange will be confronted with the possibility of the multiverse collapsing into madness, though the greatest danger may come from within himself.
The first Doctor Strange 2 trailer, which was first revealed as a post-credits scene from NWH, provided only a brief tease of what’s to come in the sequel. Dr. Strange 2’s full trailer, which was released during the Super Bowl in conjunction with a new television commercial, opens the door to even more possibilities. This suggests that nothing is off the table in terms of what will happen in the film. As evidenced by the return of Patrick Stewart’s Professor X in Doctor Strange 2, and given his presence in the trailer, it’s likely that even bigger surprises await us in Doctor Strange 2.
There are a lot more questions than answers in the Doctor Strange 2 trailer. This includes hints of Marvel’s Illuminati as well as multiple variants of both Doctor Strange and Scarlet Witch. All this while the poster confirms that Marvel Zombies and Captain Carter will be making the transition from animated to live-action as well.
However, the most pressing question is: who is the villain in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and why is he so evil? While the tentacled monster Gargantos has been confirmed, this could be a new name for Shuma-Gorath, an altered version of the comic book character Gargantos, or a combination of the two. The Doctor Strange 2 trailer suggests that there is a much more powerful adversary at the heart of the story.
The trailer for Doctor Strange 2 raises one particularly intriguing possibility: that Doctor Strange himself will be the villain in the sequel. The trailer certainly provides enough evidence to support this theory. This is so especially given the fact that there are multiple versions of Strange, making it possible that one of them is the villain responsible for all of this. The main MCU Doctor Strange is more likely not to be the villain and is, at the very least, grossly irresponsible for whatever actions have led to this.
This is regardless of whether they are from NWH or something new, such as reading the Darkhold – then he is to be the villain in this. It’s a similar situation with the shots of the “evil” Doctor Strange from What If…?. Consequently, this feels like a misdirection given how the character was mostly reconciled in the animated series.
On the other hand, the Multiverse of Madness trailer, clearly wants viewers to think of Doctor Strange as a potential villain: he’s arrested by Mordo and taken to face what would seem to be the Illuminati, and at the end, there is a shot of a panicked, imperiled Wong yelling “Strange”. This is then followed by two different shots: one of what appears to be a zombie Doctor Strange with multiple limbs, surrounded and consumed by dark forces, and there is evidence that a Doctor Strange has been interfering with forces beyond his control, which suggests that he could very well be the antagonist in Multiverse of Madness.
Other than Nightmare, who appears to be the most likely villain in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, according to the Super Bowl trailer, is another key contender for the role of villain. Nightmare, a long-time adversary of Strange from Marvel Comics, has also long been rumored to be the villain in Doctor Strange 2, though there has been no official confirmation of this. While this is true, he would be a good fit for the multiverse imploding and allowing numerous worlds to bleed into one another. He would also be a good fit for several lines in the trailer, including “Every night I dream the same dream, then the nightmare begins.”
It’s possible that the line is a deliberate piece of misdirection. However, it lends credence to the notion that Nightmare is the villain of the Multiverse of Madness and that Doctor Strange has been trapped in the Nightmare World of the Dream Dimension. One thing WandaVision’s post-credits scene hinted at was the possibility of her children being held in the Dream Dimension as well.
For this reason, this could serve as a direct link between all of the characters in Multiverse of Madness. The scene of the darkness-clad, multi-limbed Strange at the end of the Doctor Strange 2 trailer, or an amalgamation of Nightmare and a Strange variant, could very well be Nightmare. Earlier shots of Strange’s dreams or visions would definitely fit with the villain, as would earlier shots of Strange’s dreams or visions.
Another popular MCU theory is supported by the trailer, which is that Scarlet Witch will be the antagonist in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. Wanda Maximoff has long been rumored to be the villain in Doctor Strange 2, and this speculation has only grown stronger. While the ending of WandaVision showed her appearing to have found a peaceful place where she could return to her former self, the truth was much more disturbing: Scarlet Witch was reading the Darkhold at the time.
Wanda has suffered a great deal in the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far, including the loss of her children, and there were signs that she was reading the Darkhold in order to locate them. Due to the presence of multiple Scarlet Witches in the Doctor Strange 2 Super Bowl trailer, it is possible that one of them is the true villain of the film, and that she is causing chaos throughout the multiverse as a means of either desperately attempting to locate her children or as a means of retaliation.
It appears that Scarlet Witch will be viewed as the antagonist of Doctor Strange 2 by some of its protagonists, irrespective of her true intentions: in a one-pointed scene with Doctor Strange, she remarks: “You break the rules and become the hero. I do it and become the enemy. That doesn’t seem fair”.
Wanda comes across as irritated and even a little threatening in this scene, and the fact that she is perceived as the enemy suggests that she is set up as Doctor Strange’s adversary in the Multiverse of Madness series. With Professor X back in the fold and appearing to be a member of the Illuminati, it’s possible that Wanda is the threat they’ve convened to deal with, and that this is the “truth” they need to share with Doctor Strange.