Fans have been wondering just who the main villain for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is going to be. Well, the newly released first trailer drops a very strong hint that the film’s big bad is none other than an “Evil Doctor Strange” variant from within the multiverse. But is it one we’ve already seen before? Or is it simply one of an infinite number of corrupt versions of Stephen Strange? Let’s look at some of our options, mainly from the pages of the comics. But starting with a recent animated variant.
What If…? Doctor Strange Supreme
In What If…? episode four, titled “Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands?” we meet Doctor Strange Supreme. In this reality, he lost Dr. Christine Palmer in the car accident that in the main universe cost him the use of his hands. Obsessed with using magic to resurrect her, he goes far off the rails to achieve this goal. He breaks the laws of reality and brings back Christine, but ultimately at the cost of his own universe.
Although Supreme Strange is imprisoned, when the Watcher needed his help in the What If..? season finale to save the multiverse, he volunteers. When last we saw him, he was guarding a pocket dimension holding Ultron and Killmonger. So it seems unlikely that this is the same version of Strange. He seems more or less redeemed. But if it’s not the case, there are plenty of similar villainous Stephen Stranges from the comics to choose from for inspiration.
Stephen Strange: Disciple of Dormammu
Doctor Strange going bad is hardly new to the MCU. (Or “MCM” as it is officially a multiverse now.) The comics have been doing this going back decades. One of the first instances of “Dark Doctor Strange” was in What If…? #18, back in 1977. The story was titled “What If Dr. Strange Had Been a Disciple of Dormammu?” And to the answer to that question is that he would have been bad. Very bad. In this reality, Baron Mordo uses black magic to heal Strange’s hands. He then becomes Mordo’s student. But in true evil apprentice fashion, he kills Mordo, becoming Dormammu’s new number one guy.
One of the worst Evil Stranges was a being known as the Necromancer. He first appeared in Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme #46, in 1992. He lived on Counter-Earth, a world almost identical to Earth-616, only revolving around the sun on the opposite side. The Strange of Counter-Earth had a very similar history to “our” Strange, up until he killed Baron Mordo. Then he went full Dark Side, and tried to use the Book of the Vishanti to conquer his world. Eventually, his Earth was destroyed, but he escaped and caused problems for our Stephen Strange.
Maybe not exactly evil, but in Jonathan Hickman’s Secret Wars, they morally compromised Doctor Strange. In Doctor Doom’s Battleworld, where the former King of Latveria ruled as God-Emperor, Stephen Strange served as Doom’s Sheriff. And under his command, the Sheriff of Agamotto did a lot of pretty terrible things. Sure, by the end of the Secret Wars event, he helped out the good guys, and restore the Multiverse as it was. But certainly, being Doctor Doom’s top dog has to count as being a bad guy.
The Doctor Strange of Earth-10011
Among the worst of the Evil Stranges is the one from the Cancerverse. (Yes, there is a reality in Marvel Comics with that name). The Cancerverse is a dimension where life fully defeated Death. Eternal life drew its power from entities known as “the Many-Angled Ones.” (What a sharp name!) All beings in this universe were corrupted, but none more so than Doctor Strange. He did his master’s bidding without question, and tried to conquer the main 616 reality after they consumed his. Luckily, Thanos destroyed him. Sometimes, a Mad Titan on the side of the good guys comes in handy.