Variants are reshaping the entire MCU. They played huge roles in both Loki and Spider-Man: No Way Home. They could also destroy everyone and everything in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The franchise’s first horror film will feature multiple versions of Stephen Strange. Not all of them will be as heroic—or even as alive—as the sorcerer we know so well. He’s not the only character who will be meeting their parallel world equivalents, either. Wanda may see a few Scarlet Witch variants herself, and very possibly others will too. But which MCU variants will we definitely see in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness? And which variants could appear? This is every parallel version we know will get in on the madness, along with a few who might surprise us.
Every Doctor Strange Variant Confirmed For Doctor Strange 2
The Main MCU Doctor Strange
The film’s titular character is Marvel’s main Doctor Strange. He’s the same hero who violated the natural order in both his first film and in No Way Home. Those actions opened the door to the MCU’s multiverse and its infinite dangers. He’s also the same sorcerer who played important roles in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. And he made a brief appearance in Thor: Ragnarok.
The main timeline version of Doctor Strange is a powerful magic user with good intentions. But his massive ego frequently causes him—and all of existence—problems.
Who is Defender Strange in Multiverse of Madness?
We already have the official name for one of the MCU’s Strange variants featured in Multiverse of Madness‘ trailers. This version of Doctor Strange, who looks like a backup dancer from a Vanilla Ice music video, is Defender Strange. Official Funko Pop figures for the movie confirmed his moniker.
He won’t have anything to do with Marvel’s The Defenders that originally aired on Netflix. At least not in the main MCU universe, though we don’t yet know about the multiverse. However, Doctor Strange did lead a group known as the Defenders in Marvel Comics. It originally consisted of him, Hulk, and Namor. They protected Earth against inter-dimensional entities. This variant might hold that same role in his own universe, which is why he’s called Defender Strange.
This variant does appear to be fighting on behalf of the MCU’s multiverse in the film. He’s working alongside/protecting universe-hopping, definitely-a-hero America Chavez in the trailers. (Well, at least when he’s not being attacked and flung around by a cosmic force.) With the multiverse collapsing, all of reality will need all the Doctor Strange variants it can get defending it. And the Defender Strange version of Doctor Strange should be an important ally in that fight. Especially when another Strange variant seems intent on destruction.
The Evil Doctor Strange Variant Known As Sinister Strange
Main Doctor Strange will face an evil Strange Variant being referred to as Sinister Strange. We’re not surprised the film will feature a dark version of the character. We previously covered the long and disturbing comic book history of the sorcerer’s villainous versions.
What specific abilities, powers, and malevolent motivations will Sinister Strange possess in the movie? It’s hard to know, especially since Marvel’s animated multiverse series What If…? doesn’t provide the clues we originally thought it might. The show featured a version of Doctor Strange who became so powerful he destroyed his own universe. But that version of the character hasn’t been seen in any trailers.
What If…!‘s Strange Supreme and Supreme Strange: Not The Same Person
What If…?‘s fourth episode visited a world where a Doctor Strange Variant became obsessed with changing the past and saving the love of his life, Dr. Christine Palmer. Her death marked an absolute point in time. Strange used the Time Stone repeatedly to try and stop her from dying, but he couldn’t. The Ancient One warned him nothing could be done. But Strange went way back in the past anyway to find a lost sorcerer library.
There he read that with enough power he could become unstoppable. For centuries he cheated death, all while absorbing entities from around the multiverse. That included giant, powerful beings, like a massive tentacled monster that closely resembled Shuma-Gorath/Gargantos. An entity similar to a creature that appeared in What If…?‘s first episode and in Multiverse of Madness trailers. That selfish, dangerous MCU variant, who destroyed everything in his universe except himself, became known as Strange Supreme. He even has his very own Funko Pop.
But Strange Supreme earned redemption in the season finale. He helped save the entire multiverse from an all-powerful Ultron. He then accepted the task of keeping an eye on a tiny pocket dimension that kept the existential danger locked within. That sorcerer ended his story as a hero and seemed to have put his evil ways behind him. What he didn’t put behind him was his long goatee.
The Difference Between the two Stranges
That signature Strange facial hair is missing from one of Funko’s official Pop figures for the movie. The maddeningly named Supreme Strange. That collectible has the same signature high-necked cape seen on What If…?‘s Strange Supreme, but no goatee. (Believe us, we know keeping these two Doctor Strange variants straight is a huge pain.)
Both MCU variants share similar monikers but are clearly not the same person. That doesn’t mean What If…?‘s dangerously powerful variant can’t show up, though. But who is Multiverse of Madness’s new Supreme Strange and what role will he have in the film? We have a theory. But first, Main Doctor Strange has another dangerous variant of himself to deal with.
The Dead Rise Again: The Return of Zombie Doctor Strange
As far as episode titles go, “What If…Zombies?!” really got right to the point. The fifth installment of the animated series explored a universe where Janet Van Dyne spread a Quantum Realm zombie disease around the full-sized world.
The pandemic infected many of the most powerful Avengers, like Iron Man and Captain America. It also claimed Doctor Strange as a victim. The episode features the sorcerer as a full-fledged zombie. Zombie Doctor Strange has definitely seen better days.
What made those monsters particularly frightening was that the disease did not turn them entirely into mindless monsters. They retained their superpowers and the knowledge of how to use them. Which they employed while attacking the healthy.
Zombies with brains are even worse than zombies hunting for them. And that will be true when we see them in the flesh. Zombie Doctor Strange will return to the MCU in Multiverse of Madness. The character appeared in a Multiverse of Madness trailer, where the undead sorcerer utilized his multiple arms trick seen in Infinity War. He’s not the only zombie Avenger making the live-action leap either.
How Many Scarlet Witch Variants Will Be in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness?
We don’t yet have confirmation, but the film’s trailers suggest it will have at least three versions of Wanda Maximoff. We know main MCU Wanda will get in on the chaos. Main Wanda references Westview while speaking to Main Strange in the trailer.
We’ll even return to Westview, where one scene shows Wanda looking down at another Wanda crying in her Westview home living room. Is this a memory? A conjured recreation? Another universe? A portal to the past? Or could this Wanda be a Scarlet Witch variant? We’ll have to wait to find out. When we do we might also know just how many Wandas are floating around the film.
We’re confident the trailers show a Sinister Scarlet Witch variant, though. Frequently the Wanda wearing her Scarlet Witch outfit seems more dastardly than the Wanda wearing regular clothes. (Though that doesn’t appear to be a hard and fast rule in the promos.)
Sinister Strange and Sinister Wanda would be a fearsome variant team, as fearsome as their Main MCU counterparts. And it makes sense both dark mirror versions of the powerful heroes will appear in a horror film.
But there’s no question over the final Wanda variant the film has teased. The commercial that showed zombie Strange also featured the live-action debut of Zombie Wanda. This Scarlet Witch variant first appeared on What If…?‘s zombie episode before returning in the finale. Each time the living employed her as an undead weapon of mass destruction. She might be the scariest Wanda variant of them all.
We would not want to meet zombie Scarlet Witch in a dark room. But it looks like someone is going to… We wish them luck beating this Wanda variant.
Other Possible Variants We’ll See in the Doctor Strange Sequel
Is This Iron Lad or A Captain Marvel Variant?
If/when Doctor Strange needs help fighting evil variants he can’t do better than calling on Captain Marvel. And one Multiverse of Madness trailer seemed to suggest that’s exactly what will happen. One trailer clip featured what appeared to be a Captain Marvel Variant attacking Wanda. Initially, we thought that figure might be an alternate Maria or Monica Rambeau. But it might not be Captain Marvel at all. That might be Iron Lad, one of the many variants of Loki‘s He Who Remains.
We previously covered Iron Lad’s comic’s history and why he could join the MCU. And with Jonathan Majors set to play an even bigger role in the franchise going forward, his variants could start showing up everywhere. Just maybe not on a dais of powerful figures we expect to feature some of the most shocking variants.
The Mysterious Illuminati Come to the MCU…But From Which Universe?
At some point in Multiverse of Madness Ultron variant robots will march Main Doctor Strange before what we expect to be the MCU’s multiverse version of the Illuminati. In the comics, this group of powerful people secretly met to discuss how to address the gravest of dangers to Earth in their own universe. The big-screen take will seemingly be concerned with threats against all universes.
We already know one of the members. It will be a variant of Professor Charles Xavier. At minimum that X-Men hero will be voiced by Patrick Stewart. (Though we’d wager heavily he’ll be playing him too.) What other variants will also sit on this council? We covered our best guesses on Nerdist News. Among the group, we expect Captain Carter and a Variant of Killmonger.
But could the Illuminati also be where we’ll meet the clean-shaven Supreme Strange? Possibly played by an actor who has a long history with director Sam Raimi? And will the group also feature the return of Tony Stark, only this time as Superior Iron Man? That amoral comic book version of the character looks a lot like the Ultron robots from the trailer. If he does appear, will that variant be played by a super famous actor originally considered for the role Robert Downey Jr. made famous? Nothing is impossible with this movie.
The Infinite and Unknown Possibilities Of The MCU’s Multiverse
And these are just the characters we know, think we know, and believe could appear. But Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness could introduce any variant played by any actor at any time. With infinite universes to choose from the film won’t be limited to just a handful of variants. And for everything it has already revealed, the movie is certainly holding back some big secrets from its trailers.
Who else will appear and will they fight for what’s right or against it? How many Wanda variants will there be? Will we get more clean-shaven Doctor Strange variants? Not knowing all the answers will be the best part of exploring the MCU’s multiverse.
Mikey Walsh is a staff writer at Nerdist. You can follow him on Twitter at @burgermike. And also anywhere someone is ranking the Targaryen kings.