Doctor Strange 2: How Charlize Theron’s Clea Sets Up the MCU’s Future

Doctor Strange 2: How Charlize Theron’s Clea Sets Up the MCU’s Future

SPOILER ALERT: This story covers the main post-credit scene in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” in theaters now.

Ever since he’s been in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), once a genius neurosurgeon turned master of the mystic arts, has eyes for only one person: Dr. Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams). After breaking up with her in 2016’s ‘Doctor Strange’, Strange spends a lot of time in its sequel, ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’, coming to terms that he and Christine were never meant to be together, under any circumstances. . universe.

It turns out there’s room in the MCU for another woman in Strange’s life. And she’s played by Charlize Theron!

In the post-credits scene of “Multiverse of Madness” — or, technically, the mid-credits scene — we see Strange walking down a Manhattan street when suddenly, a white-haired, purple-suited Theron calls out his name. She tells Strange that her shenanigans across universes have caused an “incursion” between universes, which we’ve already been told could tear the fabric of the multiverse. Next, she uses an energy blade to cut through the fabric of reality, exposing the Dark Dimension – as introduced in the first “Doctor Strange” movie. She asks Strange to join her in repairing the incursion. Strange’s third eye opens and he accepts. End of scene!

At no point does Theron’s character show up – rude! — but comic book fans and close watchers of the “Multiverse of Madness” end credits know her name is Clea. Like Strange, Clea is a witch and she hails from the Dark Dimension. In the Marvel comics, she has a long and complicated history with her menacing overlord Dormammu — her mother is her sister, to begin with — and she and Strange end up in a rather unconventional interdimensional marriage.

It’s unclear how much of Clea’s comic book story will end up being part of the character’s backstory within the MCU, and she’s certainly not close to a marquee character in the canon of Marvel comics. But she’s now played by an action movie icon, between ‘Fast & Furious’, 2020’s ‘The Old Guard’, 2017’s ‘Atomic Blonde’ and especially 2015’s ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’. is a star, not a supporting player, and Marvel Studios wouldn’t hire an actor of her fame, stature, and talent if it didn’t have big things planned for her.

What is the size of the question.

It’s no surprise that Disney and Marvel are quiet about their plans for Theron and Clea. But at the very least, we can reasonably expect Cumberbatch and Theron to headline the third “Doctor Strange” movie – and likely much sooner than the six-year gap between the first and second movies. (“Doctor Strange in the Dark Dimension” certainly sounds good.) But just how well should audiences expect Clea and Theron to tangle with the rest of the MCU, the same way Cumberbatch’s Strange has crossed the last two films “Avengers” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home”?

In an earlier era of the MCU, sure Marvel Studios hopes to include Theron in as many projects as possible — Robert Downey Jr. was in nine MCU films from 2008 to 2019. Post-“Endgame,” however, the horizon is far less clear.

Here’s what we know for sure: As of this writing, Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige has yet to show how — or even if — the Phase Four sequel of MCU movies and Disney+ shows will come together with an “Avengers” style climax. mega-event. Jonathan Majors is set to appear in 2023’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania” as Kang the Conqueror – a major Marvel comics villain on par with Thanos in universe-threatening ambition. Strange and Clea don’t have a lot of history with Kang in the comics per se, but since the Disney+ series “Loki” established that Kang has plans to subjugate the entire multiverse, chances are that Strange and Clea’s mission to prevent a multiversal incursion could lead to them appearing in the third “Ant-Man” movie. (For one thing, Dormammu isn’t about to hand over control of the Dark Dimension to Kang or anyone else.)

Another possibility: upcoming releases like July’s “Thor: Love and Thunder” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3” and “The Marvels” — not to mention the still-undated “Fantastic Four” movie — will shift the MCU’s focus away from Earth and into the multiversal cosmos, where Strange and Clea might find themselves especially useful, leading to a big team-up film which would debut in May 2024.

With so many Disney+ movies and titles to deal with now, however, it’s just as likely that we won’t see a big, unifying film for Phase Four at all, or at least as we’d expect. Consider Theron’s franchise dance card is pretty full already, between playing Cipher in “Fast X” (and, presumably, its sequel) and reprising his starring role as Andy in “The Old Guard 2” and all the further suites beyond. He’s an in-demand star who often produces his own material, so devoting years of his career to directing Marvel Studios films may not be possible.

It almost seems that by casting an actor too big and too busy to entrust his career wholesale to the MCU, Marvel is signaling (intentionally or not) that the era of massive team-up movies is over. But whether Theron pursues a major or minor career in the MCU, Marvel – and the public – will be happy to have him.

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