All of the Comic References You May Have Missed

During the Big Game coverage, something even BIGGER dropped, a brand-new trailer for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The new trailer gave Marvel Cinematic Universe fans a second look at the mind-blowing Marvel Multiverse that Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) blew open after Peter Parker (Tom Holland) and his friends did not get into college (and did not even try to appeal the decision before seeking a magical solution) in the Spider-Man: No Way Home. As with Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, Doctor Strange 2 appears to be stuffed to the gills with Marvel Comics references that will make any nerd swoon.


The trailer begins with something MCU fans have not seen until now, but it’s something that the Evil Dead director is sure to get right. In Doctor Strange’s new reality, Nightmare (s) certainly are real. In the comics, Nightmare is one of many Fear Lords energized by human fear (think the less friendly version of Monsters Inc.) and one of the sorcerer’s most ancient foes. Nightmares truly are the perfect breeding ground for anyone stepping into a Multiverse of Madness.

Crisis on Infinite Wandas

Wanda Doctor Strange
Marvel Studios

As MCU fans already know, one of the characters set to return is Wanda Maximoff, aka Scarlet Witch, played by Elizabeth Olsen. She is seen confronting a nightmare variant of herself in a New Jersey home similar to the one she created in WandaVision. Driving this point home, the trailer makes a clear visual reference to the Joe Quesada variant for House of M # 1 by Brian Michael Bendis, Olivier Coipel, Tim Townsend, Rick Magyar, Scott Hanna, John Dell, Frank D’Armata, Chris Eliopoulos, and Esad Ribic.

House of M is the most infamous Scarlet Witch story arc in the Marvel Universe. As one comic book critic so aptly put it, “In the House of M event, the Avengers and the X-Men must decide the Scarlet Witch’s fate – who the superhero teams wrongfully blame for Hawkeye’s death and the Avengers’ fate. And because Spider-Man says it best – they choose to “put her down” like a dog Professor X failed to train. In response, the Scarlet Witch turns the world white in the act of self-preservation, and once again, she builds legions of golems to try and protect her friends. In House of M # 7, you get a glimpse of the moment between Wanda and her twin brother, Quicksilver, right before Professor X and the Avengers land in Genosha for a witch hunt and stake burning. “It seems like reality is repeating itself on the big screen, but this Maximoff is ready to stand up for herself.

The Illuminati Rumors Might Be True

Doctor Strange Cuffed 0
Marvel Studios

At one point during the trailer, Doctor Strange enters a mysterious room surrounded by guards and locked in hand restraints, and a mysterious voice states, “We should tell him the truth.” Fans of the 20th Century Fox X-Men films may recognize the mysterious voice as none other than Sir Patrick Stewart, who played Charles Xavier, aka Professor X, in the franchise. If it’s indeed Xavier’s voice, then it looks like the rumors that have been swirling that Doctor Strange will be meeting the Illuminati might turn out to be true after all.

The Illuminati first appeared in New Avengers # 7 by Brian Michael Bendis, Steve McNiven, Mark Morales, and Morry Hollowell. In the comics, the Illuminati are a secret group first formed after the Kree-Skrull War threatened Earth. Although Iron Man found the mega-group, it ultimately consists of himself, Black Bolt, Reed Richards, Namor, Professor X, and even Doctor Strange. Interestingly, although T’Challa helps the Illuminati during the Kree-Skrull War, he chooses not to continue with the secret cabal moving forward.

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Rumors have long been circulating about the introduction of both Namor and Mr. Fantastic into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Illuminati could provide an avenue for just that, as well as potential conflict with the future King of Wakanda when he chooses to go against the group’s wishes (there is also an interesting storyline that involves mind-wiping Captain America when his ideals get in the way of the Illuminati’s “Earth-616 First” goals).

Rintrah the Magical Minotaur Arrives in the MCU

Doctor Strange Trailer Breakdown m
Marvel Studios

Before Marvel, Rintrah represented the revolutionary wrath of the prophet in William Blake’s mythology. But the magical Minotaur did not appear in a Marvel comic until 1986’s Doctor Strange # 80 by Peter Gillis, Aleret Carlson, Chris Warner, and Randy Emberlin when he shows up to save the good doctor’s life and then help him in a pretty extensive storyline. In Marvel Comics, Rintrah is sensitive to occult forces and first met Doctor Strange when he brought the Cloak of Levitation to Enitharmon (another magical being) for repairs after being torn. The trailer gave MCU fans another look at the magical Minotaur, and this time Rintrah seems to be engaged in his more revolutionary literary roots.

Related: Doctor Strange 2 Will Leave ‘Heads Spun,’ Benedict Cumberbatch Says

Defender Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange Defender
Marvel Studios

Introduced in Marvel Feature # 1 by Roy Thomas, Ross Andru, Bill Everett, and Sam Rosen, Doctor Strange (who is no longer sorcerer supreme at this point in the comics) founds the Defenders alongside Namor, Hulk, and Silver Surfer. Many versions of the team followed, with Doctor Strange at the forefront of a number of them. In the trailer, Defender Strange is pulled into a universe he never made, but will he be dragging his Defender’s team along with him? If so, that could mean exciting things for fans of The Fantastic Four franchise.

In the next phase of the good doctor’s magical career, he allies himself with a phalanx of supernatural champions called the Midnight Sons. Could that be where Sinister Strange is headed next? Later, Sinister Strange tells Strange, “Things just got out of hand,” while Scarlet Witch remarks, “You break the rules and become the hero. I do it, and I become the enemy. That does not seem fair.”

Spider-Man 2099

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Okay, this might be rumor-mongering, but is it Spider-Man 2099? Or is it Nick Fury surrounded by Wanda’s red magic? Oscar Isaac is already playing Spider-Man 2099 in the Sony / Marvel Universe and Moon Knight on Disney +. But with Moon Knight’s alter ego being the famous Hollywood producer Steven Grant, it would not be beyond him to cast himself in an alternate universe MCU movie.

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