Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: Writer Michael Waldron Explains the Meaning of Benedict Cumberbatch’s Superhero Third Eye
The film features the titular master of the mystical arts facing a threat that endangers the existence of the multiverse. The threat is Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda herself, who is still not over the loss of her children she created from nothing in WandaVision, and seeks them out in other realities to fill that void in her life. She truly became the Scarlet Witch through the cursed literary artifact Darkhold which empowers her readers but also makes them evil.
Throughout the film, Strange and Wong (Benedict Wong) take on the responsibility of protecting America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) on themselves. Wanda wants to absorb the girl’s powers to travel through realities, which would leave her dead.
At one point, Wanda confronts the Illuminati – Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), Reed Richards or Mister Fantastic (John Krasinski), Captain Marvel (Lashana Lynch), Captain Carter (Hayley Atwell), Black Bolt (Anson Mount) and Mordo ( Chiwetel Ejiofor) – alone and kills them all except Mordo (who is trapped and unable to come to his comrade’s aid. It is only after Strange seizes a parallel universe version of Darkhold that “He is able to defeat Wanda. But like what happened to Wanda, reading the cursed book also comes at a cost to him. He develops a third eye as a result like Sinister Strange. The full meaning of this is yet to be revealed. explained in MCU, but it can’t be good.
The film’s writer, Michael Waldron, said the Third Eye was the toll Strange had to pay to read Darkhold. “The bill is coming due, as Mordo warned in the first movie. He used the Darkhold to possess his own corpse and the Darkhold exacts a heavy toll. I guess the question our tag asks is: Does Stephen embrace this darkness? What does this mean for him? What path does he take as he meets Clea and travels to the Dark Dimension? he told Screenrant.
The Clea in the quote is the Marvel character who debuted in the mid-credits scene. Played by Charlize Theron, the character is a skilled witch and Strange’s comic book love interest. She casually opens a rift in reality using a blade and invites Strange to undo the damage he caused (incursion) by defeating Wanda. The Rift shows the Dark Dimension, home to terrifying beings like Dormammu, the demon we saw in the original film. Interestingly, Clea is related to Dormammu (she is his niece) in the comics, where she and Strange fought the demon and defeated it.
Strange may have defeated Wanda, but it’s clear Darkhold left a mark on him. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the sequel.