This article contains SPOILERS for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Michael Waldron, writer of Marvel Studios' Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, has given his explanation of the new movie's cliffhanger ending. Directed by Sam Raimi, this newest installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe was released in theaters on May 6, and has been largely lauded by critics and general audiences. Multiverse of Madness reviews specifically praised the movie for its dark and gothic elements — a franchise first for the MCU thanks to its director, horror genre icon Sam Raimi.
After Scarlet Witch destroys the Darkhold and stops her quest to kidnap America Chavez, Doctor Strange 2's cliffhanger ending saw Stephen (Benedict Cumberbatch) casually walking down Bleeker Street leaving his Sanctum Sanctorum. All seems well until Strange suddenly collapses in the middle of the road in immense pain. He lets out an agonizing scream as a third eye appears on his forehead, before the scene abruptly cuts to black. A third eye was previously seen in the film on the Sinister/Evil Strange variant, whose use of his own Darkhold (a.k.a. the Book of the Damned) resulted in his universe being all but destroyed by an incursion.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Waldron professed that the inspiration for this cliffhanger ending came from a quote from the first Doctor Strange movie. He felt that the sorcerer's brash actions (using the Darkhold and possessing his own dead body) needed to have consequences after Mordo's warning. The screenwriter also added that the scene felt like an appropriate homage to old-school horror movies. Read his full quote below:
"I felt like we had a happy ending. We were like, like, “Gee, you know, for a movie where a lot of bad shit happens, we got kind of a happy ending here.” We really wrapped it up and that didn’t quite seem right. We kept thinking about what Mordo warned Strange in the first movie: “The bill comes due.” It’s like Wong says, “You possessed your own corpse.” Like, is this guy ever going to face any consequences? And it just felt like a great nod to horror movies where there’s that final twist."
After Multiverse of Madness' final scene cut to black, the audience is left wondering what impact suddenly sprouting a third eye had on Strange. However, Doctor Strange 2's post-credits scene shows that, apparently, Stephen is largely unaffected by it. He is seen once again casually walking down the street when he is approached by Clea, a sorceress played by Charlize Theron. When she asks Strange to follow her into the Dark Dimension to fix another incursion, his third eye opens as he smiles and accepts her invitation.
The prospect of Doctor Strange suddenly gaining a third eye certainly appeared to be a direct result of his use of the Book of the Damned, and Waldron's comments confirm that. It's interesting that the writer chose to call back to Mordo's line from the original Doctor Strange, proving the importance of Chiwetel Ejiofor's character outside of the pair's conflict at the Illuminati base. The creative minds behind Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness have paid a great deal of attention to the narrative and emotional details of past MCU lore, and Strange's new and eerie feature will no doubt play a major role in a potential Doctor Strange 3.
More: What The Final Shot Of Doctor Strange 2 Means
Source: Rolling Stone
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