Warning: Full spoilers follow for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Do you want to know if there’s a post-credits scene in the film? We’ll tell you right here: Yes, there is a mid-credits and a post-credits scene. Read on for all those details…
Ding, dong the Witch is red - which old Witch? Well, the Scarlet Witch, obviously! Sam Raimi returns to the realm of Marvel movies with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and while it might give Stephen top billing, this is just as much a movie about Wanda. Plus, America Chavez makes her MCU debut in a literally starring role - but as you might expect, multiple magic users toying with reality itself has massive implications for the future of the multiverse. So we’re here to unpack it all…
Read on for our Multiverse of Madness post-credits and ending explained! And be sure to also read our Doctor Strange 2 review.
Multiverse of Madness Ending Explained
It doesn’t take long for the film to establish its basic set-up: MCU newcomer America Chavez is on the run from a baddie who turns out to be none other than Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff, a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch. Wanda wants to use America’s universe-traversing powers to find a world where her sons (as seen in WandaVision as unreal beings she created with her magic) actually exist. And she’ll do anything to get what she wants, including kill Chavez (and a bunch of other folks) if she has to.
This leads to Doctor Strange and Chavez finding themselves in a variety of universes, and meeting a bunch of variants of familiar characters. All told, there are four Doctor Stranges in this movie: our prime Earth-616 strange, Defender Strange with the ponytail (who becomes a Dreamwalker zombie in the film’s final battle), Sinister Strange (who gets defeated by 616 Strange and an expertly-placed fence post), and Earth-838 Strange (who defeated Thanos in his universe but at a cost great enough that Black Bolt needs a word with him… a.k.a. atomizes him).
838 Strange was also part of that universe’s Illuminati, a super-group from Marvel Comics. In this version the Illuminati also consists of a good guy version of Karl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Captain Marvel, who in this universe is not Carol Danvers but her best friend Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch), Captain Carter (Hayley Atwell), Black Bolt of the Inhumans (Anson Mount reprising his role from the ABC show we don’t talk about), Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), and last but not least, John Krasinski as Reed Richards/Mister Fantastic, leader of the Fantastic Four.
With the exception of Mordo, Wanda kills all of them very badly indeed.
Of all of these characters, Krasinski is the most noteworthy because of the fan interest that has existed around casting the actor in the role of Reed. But does his appearance here mean he’ll be back in the in-development FF movie? The MCU Fantastic Four movie was announced in 2019, and no casting has officially been revealed - and it just lost a director like last week. So that movie is at least a couple years off. Marvel Studios has pumped the brakes on offering stars crazy multi-picture deals like they did in the MCU’s infancy, but even so, they’ll likely want a Reed Richards they can stretch across multiple films - pun intended. Krasinski’s certainly not too old (he’s about the same age Robert Downey, Jr. was when he first played Iron Man), but considering how successful his A Quiet Place films have been, it wouldn’t be surprising if he wanted to spend more time behind the camera than at the gym getting in spandex-wearing shape. Plus, the Loki series has established that variants can have different, sometimes totally absurd appearances across the multiverse. So even though Reed is played by Krasinski here, don’t get your hopes up - the character could very well be recast for the FF movie.
Follow the link for more on the Doctor Strange Marvel Illuminati like Reed Richards and Black Bolt, including where we might see them next.
Anyway, after a battle with Strange (who is Dreamwalking in the zombie body of Defender Strange!), Wanda is transported to the 838 universe by Chavez where her kids are terrified by her. This snaps Wanda out of the rampage she’s been on, and she destroys the magical book that had corrupted her and Sinister Strange, the Darkhold, as well as her stronghold on Mount Wundagore, seemingly ending the multiversal madness and apparently dying in the process. America Chavez learns to control her powers and winds up in Kamar-Taj doing sorcerer training, and Doctor Strange returns home. Seemingly haven gotten everything sorted, he suddenly doubles over in agony in the middle of a New York City street, sprouting a third eye in the middle of his forehead… Cut to the closing credits.
Doctor Strange Post Credits: Meet Clea
Fast forward to the mid-credits scene. Strange, seemingly recovered from his eye-popping headache, is walking (again) in New York when Charlize Theron literally emerges from a hole in the universe, rocking some kooky purple armor and huge shoulder pads. She tells Strange he’s caused some problems – an Incursion into her universe – and needs his help setting things right… unless he’s too scared.
Of course he’s not too scared, and so Strange transforms his jaunty red scarf into the Cloak of Levitation, pops open his new third eye, and follows Theron’s character off into what looks like the Dark Dimension where he bargained with Dormammu in his first film.
If her signature look doesn’t give it away, the credits sure do: This is Clea, a.k.a. the future Mrs. Doctor Strange from the comics. So, uh, good timing getting over that Christine baggage.
As you might guess, Clea is a sorcerer as well, and not just any, but the Sorcerer Supreme of the Dark Dimension. In the comics, when Doctor Strange traveled to the Dark Dimension in pursuit of Dormammu, Clea tagged along to help and, wouldn’t you know it, they fell in love. Hey, it happens, especially when you’re out battling a primordial inter-dimensional demon-entity.
Follow the link for more on Charlize Theron’s Clea and how she might play into the future of Doctor Strange and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Doctor Strange Second Post Credits: Pizza Poppa
At the very end of the film, after all the credits have rolled, we revisit Bruce Campbell - who had appeared in a cameo earlier in the film as a street vendor named Pizza Poppa. Campbell of course has worked with Multiverse director Sam Raimi for decades. Strange had placed a spell on Poppa causing him to keep hitting himself in the face. In the end credits scene, we return to him days or possibly weeks later, where he finally stops hitting himself. Overjoyed, he stares right at the camera and yells "It's over!" just as the film ends. Classic Raimi.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Easter Eggs
The 838 version of Dr. Palmer says she works for the Baxter Foundation. This is a clear nod to the Fantastic Four and the Baxter Building. Noah Baxter is a former professor of Reed Richards’ and helped him build out their quarters. The New York building has also been home to Parker Industries.
In the comics, the Eye of Agamotto has very different uses than in the MCU, where it has pretty much been a time stone container so far. When in use, a third eye often appears on the forehead of its user. So with 616/Prime Strange’s reveal at the end of this movie, perhaps we’ve seen a higher level of awakening for him. Some of the comic eye’s abilities include playing back recent events and the ability to reveal truths.
Captain Carter says “I could do this all day,” which of course is a Steve Rogers callback we could listen to all day.
Reed mentions that he “has children.” They’re likely the children of Reed and Sue Storm/the Invisible Woman, Franklin and Valeria Richards. In the comics Franklin is possibly the most powerful being in the universe and is a known reality warper, much like our friend Wanda. Valeria is his younger sister who was born a normal human, albeit with genius-level intellect. Tough break, Valeria.
The monster Strange, America and Wong fight is called Gargantos. In the comics, Gargantos is an enemy of Namor the Sub-Mariner, and the critter looks a bit different there. The big-screen version of Gargantos is very clearly based on Shuma-Gorath’s design, but presumably the name change is due to Shuma-Gorath’s complicated likeness rights since it was first introduced in the Conan the Barbarian books that later got adapted into Marvel Comics.
Yep, that was the iconic X-Men animated series theme from the ’90s playing when Professor X shows up.
Danny Elfman not only composed the score for the film, but also the precocious ditty sung by Wanda’s kids Tommy and Billy.
Pizza Poppa was played by none other than the legendary Bruce Campbell. He of course got his start in Multiverse of Madness director Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead films and regularly cameos in his movies (and this isn’t the first time Raimi’s had him fighting with his own hand).
Another Raimi regular is the yellow 1973 Oldsmobile Delta 88, which you can spot floating in mid-air when Dr. Strange and Christine stumble into the collided universe. This was Raimi’s real-life ride while filming Evil Dead, and since using it in his first film, he’s put it in all his movies after that (you might recall Uncle Ben driving it in the first Spider-Man).
Everyone knows Mickey Mouse, but Oswald the Lucky Rabbit? Wanda’s kids have an old cartoon on featuring one of Walt Disney’s lesser-known creations. Oswald previously got a mention in Episode 5 of Loki on the marquee of a movie theater in the Void. It’s a cute in-joke suggesting an alternate timeline where Mickey never happened.
What did you think of the movie? Did you catch any Easter eggs? Let’s discuss in the comments! And when you're done here, be sure to check out our biggest Doctor Strange WTF questions.