What's Next for Marvel and the MCU After 'Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness'?

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness had a lot threads of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to tie up.

Marvel fans were expecting the sequel to bring together the plots of WandaVision and Spider-Man: No Way Home, but also to introduce other universes like that of the X-Men and the Fantastic Four (and maybe even Deadpool) into the MCU. All that, and it had to set up the futures of Doctor Strange (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) and Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), AND introduce a new character with a crucial power, America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez).

Doctor Strange 2 in the end did not manage to do all of this, but it certainly managed a lot of it, opening up plenty of alleyways that the MCU could explore in the future. Below, we will break down some of those developments, as well as look at the upcoming Marvel release calendar to see where the events of Multiverse of Madness are taking us.

(Of course, there are huge spoilers below for the entirety of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness)

How Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness sets up the future of the MCU

There is so much to unpack here that it is worth separating the plot points a little. So first we will look at what the movie sets up for Strange (including in the first post-credit scene), before considering what's next for America Chavez, and then look at the implications of those Illuminati reveals.

Finally, we will breaking down exactly what Marvel TV shows and movies are confirmed to be coming up.

What's next for Doctor Strange after Multiverse of Madness

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Benedict Cumberbatch in "Doctor Strange 2." The character is confirmed to return, Marvel

It is there in black and white in the credits: "Doctor Strange will return." Exactly how and why, however, has not been revealed. Marvel fans should perhaps not hold their breath for Doctor Strange 3—after all, there was a six-year gap between the first and second films, even if Strange did appear in multiple other MCU movies in the meantime.

However, we know what Strange's mission is now. As the mysterious superhero played by Charlize Theron says in the first post-credit scene, he has "caused an incursion and we're going to fix it... unless you're afraid."

You can read a more detailed breakdown of who Theron is playing in our guide to her character, but the essential thing you need to know is that she is Clea, a fellow sorcerer to Strange. Crucially, she is in a position of power in the Dark Dimension, a strange and disturbing place—the fact that it is also sometimes called Hell gives you an idea of what it is like. She is in constant struggles with the Dark Dimension's ruler Dormammu, suggesting that Doctor Strange 3 could be sending the character to Hell.

Also in the comics, Clea becomes the lover and wife of Strange—though with the MCU's version of Strange still pining after Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams), that might not be on the cards yet.

What's next for Wanda after Doctor Strange 2?

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Elizabeth Olsen in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness." The character may appear to die in the film, but Olsen is signed up for more films. Marvel

This is less certain, though we know she's not going anyway. In March, it was reported that the actor had just signed another seven-year contract for the franchise.

At the end of Multiverse of Madness, Wanda can truly be considered to be at rock bottom. She's lost her brother, her lover and their two children, and now has to reckon with the destruction she wrought trying to find them again. She ends Doctor Strange 2 by pulling Mount Wundagore on top of her—the superhero equivalent of a Twitter Notes app apology.

As such, when we next see Wanda, she is likely to be contrite over what she has done— but her desire to have a family has hardly gone away. And there is some sign that she will be reunited with them at some point...

Will America Chavez return after Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness?

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Xochitl Gomez in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness." The character is traditonally a member of the Young Avengers. Marvel

No concrete plans have been announced, but Marvel has quietly been assembling a team that could be important for the future of MCU.

Over the last few years, more and more of the Young Avengers are appearing in Marvel's movies and TV shows. So far, we've met met Ant-Man's daughter Cassandra Lang (Abby Ryder Fortson and Emma Fuhrmann, and to be played by Kathryn Newton in the upcoming Quantumania), the new Hawkeye Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), Elijah Richardson (Eli Bradley), Kid Loki (Jack Veal), and America Chavez. This suggests that Chavez's next move may be as part of this superhero squad.

Importantly, the Young Avengers also contains Wanda's two sons Billy and Tommy, aka Speed and Wiccan. This suggests that the characters may be back at some point—and Wanda is unlikely to be very far behind.

What Doctor Strange 2 means for the X-Men and the Fantastic Four

As anticipated by many fans, the film incorporated the two franchises Marvel regained control of when Disney bought Fox. It revealed that John Krasinski is the MCU's Reed Richards, and also saw Patrick Stewart return to play Charles Xavier for the first time since dying in Logan.

Of course, both die in this film, but versions from other universes are still open to star in the MCU. Stewart's cameo (complete with the yellow bath chair-esque wheelchair the character has in the beloved animated series) seems likely just that, but it seems very likely that Krasinski will be back as a new Reed Richards when the Fantastic Four get a new movie—perhaps with real-life wife Emily Blunt in tow as Sue Storm?

A Fantastic Four film is in development now, with a 2024 release date looking possible. As for the X-Men, a mutant-centered film is in development at Marvel, but whether the studio is ready to bring back Xavier, Magneto et al in that film is unclear right now. However, as Wanda has a long-standing relationship with Magneto in the comics, this could be another way that Olsen is returning to the MCU.

What Marvel movies and TV shows are next?

Here's how the release schedule currently looks:

  • Ms. Marvel - June 8, 2022
  • Thor: Love and Thunder - July 8, 2022
  • Marvel Halloween special - October 2022
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever - November 11, 2022
  • The Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special - December 2022
  • She-Hulk - 2022
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania - February 17, 2023
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 - May 5, 2023
  • The Marvels - July 28, 2023
  • Secret Invasion - TBA
  • Iron Heart - TBA
  • Armor Wars - TBA
  • Blade - TBA

In development (film): Fantastic Four, Deadpool sequel, Captain America sequel, Shang-Chi sequel, mutant-centered movie.

In development (TV): Wakanda series, Loki Season 2, Echo, Agatha: House of Harkness, Spider-Man: Freshman Year, Marvel Zombies, untitled series directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, Daredevil, Nova series

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is in theaters now.