The storylines of many Marvel releases have crossed paths to truly make it a multiverse of madness.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is set to hit theatres this Friday, May 6. Although it is the much-awaited sequel to the 2016 film Doctor Strange, a lot has happened since. The first film was a part of Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) while the sequel is a part of Phase Four. The storylines of many Marvel releases have crossed paths to truly make it a multiverse of madness. And it will require some homework to be able to better grasp the goings-on in the latest Doctor Strange film.
So before you set off to watch Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it would be better to catch up on these Marvel films and shows:
Of course, you will have to start with the first installment of the film. To get an idea of who Doctor Strange aka Steven Strange is. Yes, he is a real doctor, a famous neurosurgeon at that. In this film, we see how he meets with an accident that leads to the end of his successful career. While on a journey of physical and spiritual healing, he goes to visit the mysterious Ancient One to heal himself and is drawn into the world of the mystic arts. He then becomes a great sorcerer under her tutelage.
In this film, which is the third installment of The Avengers series, the superheroes must stop Thanos, an intergalactic warlord, from getting his hands on all the infinity stones. However, Thanos is prepared to go to any lengths to carry out his insane plan. Doctor Strange came into his own in the film as he even took on Thanos himself. He is faced with conflict and decides on a course of action that is not very becoming of a superhero. The events also provide a precursor to Wanda's story that we see in WandaVision.
The story of Wanda and Vision was told in the form of a mini-series on Disney+. The two super-powered beings are living their ideal suburban lives but they soon begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems when they start living through several television tropes together. Wanda is a co-lead in the Multiverse of Madness. She is processing the death of Vision as well as losing her sons, which led her to become the Scarlett Witch who plays an important role in the latest film.
Loki, the god of mischief got his own TV show at Disney+ following the events of Avengers: Endgame (2019). Loki is brought to the Time Variance Authority (TVA), a bureaucratic organization that exists outside of time and space and monitors the timeline. Loki is given a choice to either face being erased from existence due to being a "time-variant", or help fix the timeline and stop a greater threat. Loki ends up trapped in his own crime thriller, traveling through time. The series will help explain the idea of variants from different timelines.
This alternative retelling of the MCU events in the form of animation has one episode that has to do with Doctor Strange. Episode 4, of the series titled: What If … Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands? gives us a glimpse of the evil variation of Doctor Strange, Strange Supreme, who was created after he lost his girlfriend, Christine, in a car crash. He becomes consumed by dark magic and ends up ripping apart reality. Strange Supreme is someone we come across in the latest film as well and this will help you better understand what is being dealt with.
The Multiverse of Madness is set right after the end of the events of No Way Home. In this film, Peter Parker seeks Doctor Strange's help to make people forget that he is actually Spider-Man after his identity was revealed in the previous film. But when the spell he casts goes wrong, the multiverse is broken and several unwanted guests enter their universe.
Watching these films and TV shows should give you enough context to get a good grasp on what is happening in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.