promotional poster showing doctor strange in the multiverse of madness

‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ Was the Journey of Self-Reflection Stephen Strange Needed

Well, Marvel did what I thought was impossible. They made me care about Stephen Strange. In Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, we’re confronted with both Wanda Maximoff and Stephen meeting versions of themselves and looking into the lives that other universes have. But what worked so well with Earth-616 Stephen Strange is that he was confronted by the struggles of his other selves and forced to look at himself and what makes him “different” from all the other Stranges that seemed to break in their search for answers and power.

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Now, I was very much not a fan of Stephen Strange prior to this movie, but they did a great job of having him explore his own struggles and actually look at his life and what got him to where he was in Earth-616, which was what I had wanted for him as a character from the start. But let’s talk a bit about why Stephen Strange in Earth-838 and fighting himself was so fascinating.

**Spoilers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness lie ahead.**

Doctor Strange doing his magic

I specifically want to talk about Doctor Strange in Earth-838 and the moment when I think he realized that he had to be the outlier for the multiverse versions of himself. Each new version of himself that he met, he saw how the universe tore him down and turned him into something he didn’t like. It started with the Strange that tried to kill America Chavez, and he knew he couldn’t let her down again and kept carrying on through his musical note battle with the Strange with the third eye.

All of them were broken in some way or another, but they let that brokenness block them from changing and becoming the Strange they needed to be. But I think that it was Earth-838 Strange that really put things into perspective for our Stephen.

As Charles Xavier is telling him about the truth of Earth-838 Stephen Strange, it’s clear that the power of the Darkhold is too much even for the Sorcerer Supreme, and that with each new Stephen, he’s confronted with his failures. It takes going on this journey, I think, for Stephen to realize that he has to put in the work to better himself or he can easily fall victim to the same kind of life that the rest of the Stephen Stranges had.

I like that Christine called him out in 838, and I like that he saw just how far he was willing to go to get what he wanted and how it failed him. I like that this movie gave Stephen Strange the chance to look at himself and unpack what is wrong within him and figure out where he needs to go next.

I hope that carries on in other Stephen Strange outings because it did make me, for the first time, understand this character and what makes him tick, and I didn’t hate the emotional arc he had. I also did love how many people said to him that he wasn’t an easy person to be around, and I like that Earth-616 Stephen seemed very much like “Yeah, I got it, thanks” about it all.

(image: Marvel Entertainment)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.