Doctor I Strange Dreams I of the Multiverse

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ first full trailer began with Stephen looking at a ghastly house and speaking of a recurring dream. “Every night,” he narrates while facing this dilapidated building, “I dream the same dream.  And then, the nightmare begins.”  As trailers go, it was a clever hook.  As someone who has his fair share of weird, wild, and/or horrifying dreams, I was eager to see where this was going (and if this was even in the movie as Marvel has pulled the ol’ trailer bait and switch more than once).  Well, I saw Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and now I have context for this quote!  That’s what this piece explores.  It will have the lightest of spoilers as I’ll discuss a line of exposition in the first 10-15 minutes of the film but won’t do much with it beyond that.  Outside of that line, no other major or minor plot points or any twists will be discussed or even alluded to.  The broken-up title for this piece is my (maybe?) clever way of saying this piece is about Doctor Strange and it’s about strange dreams I’ve had and it’s about Doctor Strange’s dreams and it’s about the multiverse. 

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The creepy house that haunts Stephen’s dreams. / Photo Credit – Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

After America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez)’s star-portal-creating powers has her crashing through into their universe, Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Wong (Benedict Wong) take her out for pizza.  (I mean, lots of other stuff happens, obvs., but I promised this would have very light spoilers!)  While they eat, Doctor Strange mentions his recurring dream to America.  She tells him dreams aren’t really dreams.  Rather, when we dream we’re seeing the multiverse.  Naturally, this has serious implications for the plot and for the characters but what I want to consider here is what happens the moment after America reveals this truth to Stephen and Wong because I’d wager what goes through their heads is exactly what went through mine in that moment.

Every dream I’ve ever had is what’s happening to another me somewhere in the multiverse

How couldn’t I obsess over an idea like this??  Because my mind works the way it does, I can’t stop thinking about this.  At first it was, “Huh, that’s kinda cool.  How fascinating to frame our dreams as our experience of the multiverse!”  But then I started thinking about my dreams and then I started thinking about more of my dreams and then more of my dreams and I’ve been doing this since the credits started to roll after I saw Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.  (I submit, once the distractions of superheroing were over, Stephen and Wong did the same).  It’s such a creative idea!  Of all the multiverse stories I’ve read, I’ve never heard anything quite like this before. 

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America enjoys some ‘za (is there any universe where people still call “pizza” “‘za”??) as she tells Stephen and Wong the truth about their dreams. / Photo Credit – Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

I can’t stop imaging – What if this was real?  What if my dreams are other Michaels across the multiverse?!

What follows, dear reader, is a li’l wander through some of the most memorable multiversal Michaels I’ve met and the strange, surprising, and horrifying experiences that filled the moment of their lives I saw while I slept.  I’m writing this with very little thought as to what I’ll share in advance so this should be fun XD.

The Choir – I saw this Michael running late for church.  The church was the church I attended (in my universe) from my youth up through the time I worked as their youth minister for many years before leaving to teach full time.  This Michael still seemed to go there and he and Kalie rushed in and found Mom, Dad, and my/his brother David already there, holding places in the pew for us…them…writing like this is weird.  The service was under way and the choir began singing.  It was the most stereotypical vision of an evangelical Christian choir you can imagine. Think of every cliché choir you’ve ever seen on TV and that’s it.  (This was not the type of church it was nor they type of music its services held…at least it wasn’t in my dimension!)  As they sang their way through the first hymn, the lead soloist announced, “Ladies and gentlemen…Mr. John Mellencamp!”  Mellencamp came out to great applause, then he and the choir began performing deep cuts off his 2003 blues cover album Trouble No More.  The congregation loved it. 

The Paddle Boat – Back when Kalie and I were still dating (before we had navigated the Jerry-and-Elaine-esque movement from dating to breaking up to best friends), Kalie glimpsed a universe where that Michael and that Kalie were at a park.  They were having a good time…until they came upon duck-shaped paddle boats.  Kalie really wanted to take one of the paddle boats out into the pond but I was not having it.  I wouldn’t even consider it!  And, to be honest, I was kinda mean about it.  I’m not sure what this me had against paddle boats (although, to be fair, even in this universe I’m not sure I’d’ve been super psyched for such an excursion) but I was an absolute dick about the whole thing.  It was so vivid that my universe Kalie and I still talk about it!  Sometimes she’ll suggest something we can do and, should my response be a bit lackluster, she’ll ask, “Is this going to be like the paddle boats?”  That Michael’s dickishness continues to plague me in this universe!

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Imagine this mix of sadness, shock, and hurt on the face of the Kalie of that universe when the me of that universe wouldn’t get on those paddle boats. / Photo Credit – Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

The Sibling Quiz – I found this Michael out taking a walk.  The neighborhood was familiar and as I ambled along I ran into a woman I once dated.  While there was a lot of animosity between us (at least in my universe :8) for a time, things seemed amicable (there as I’d presume it’d be if we ran into each other here).  As we walked together we chatted and caught up and then she invited me into her house.  It was the house she lived in with her parents when we were in high school (in my universe) yet, once we walked in the front door, it was my Aunt Judy’s floor plan (in my universe) mixed with her parent’s floor plan, though Aunt Judy’s was dominant.  We walked in and were immediately surrounded by and enormous crowd.  It was a party!  People had drinks in hand and were chatting with each other and all of a sudden, she started quizzing me on the names of all her siblings!  The crowd watched intently and were goading me to answer, ready to judge me if I didn’t remember someone’s name.  She had like a zillion siblings and, one by one, their faces starting immerging from the crowd.  Each would ask in turn, “Do you remember my name?”  I got the first, panicked on the second, and began scouring the crowd for the sister who, among all her siblings, always liked me the best (apparently this was the same in that universe as my own) to no avail.  I don’t know how things ended up for that poor Michael but it was hella awkward when I left him.  I hope he got out ok :/.

The Monster – This Michael had to faced the most stereotypical nightmare monster of the Michaels I’ll recount here.  I was running as fast as I could and I was being pursed by this large, hulking creature with blazing red eyes, wiry fur, long spiked claws, and thick drool dripping from its razor sharp teeth.  I ran and ran and ran but, no matter what I did, the creature caught up to me.  I struggled in its grasp as it began to tear me open, my skin hanging in shreds from its claws as it ripped my internal organs out with its teeth and messily devoured me alive.  This creature’s name?  Blended Learning.  So.  Yeah.  That’s what pandemic teaching was like.  While the hideously demonic creature Blended Learning killed this Michael in a horribly violent and painful way, I’m hoping there is at least one universe where we killed that fucker and took great pleasure in doing so, too.

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This is NOTHING compared to Blended Learning. / Photo Credit – Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

The Nazi Fighter Plane – Home is often a safe place, right?  Well I found this Michael on the street I grew up on, walking to my parents’ house (it was clear this was his parents’ house as well).  The walk became an anxiety-fueled run, my heart beating even faster than my feet hitting the pavement.  The sky was filled with Nazi planes which were strafing the street as I tried desperately to hide behind the shrubs that used to frame Mom and Dad’s front door (well, I guess the shrubs that still do frame Mom and Dad’s front door in this universe).  Panicked, I tried to curl myself into a ball to make myself invisible behind the shrubs.  I could hear and I could feel the endless pounding of machine gun fire striking the street, yard, and sidewalk until they eventually hit me.  My body was riddled with bullets and I woke up screaming.  

The Low Blood Sugar – I am a Type 1, insulin-dependent diabetic and the Michael I saw in this universe was, too.  I was on my couch in my house (exactly as it is in my universe).  As I sat there, I could feel my blood sugar drop.  I was dangerously low and it hit fast.  My brother, David, and our cousin, Melanie, were talking at my kitchen table (the kitchen connects to the living room where I was sitting but they couldn’t see me from where they were).  I tried to call out to them but I was too low to speak (something which has happened to me in my universe, too) so I had to get their attention for help.  Also, this universe has a soundtrack!  To really experience this universe the way I did, skip ahead to the 00:27 mark on this video and then read on.

I tried to stand but my legs were too shaky to take my weight.  I fell to the ground and, flat on my stomach, I had to drag myself along with my shaking hands trying to get to the kitchen.  My life depended on it!  I needed help.  I needed David and Melanie.  I needed the juice or regular pop my fridge held before I died.  I rounded the corner of the couch, made eye contact with David and Mel, and they looked at me…and turned back to their conversation!  Growing more frantic with each moment, I dragged myself through the kitchen to the refrigerator.  I batted desperately at the door, hoping to swing it open enough for me to grab a Capri Sun to save my life.  I woke up before I saw whether or not that Michael made it but, though his strength was rapidly fading when we parted ways, I’d like to believe he lived.  When I discussed this with my universe David and Mel they both wondered what they were talking about that was so engrossing they didn’t have time to help me XD.

The Warehouse in the Wood – This universe’s me was being chased by something vicious.  I was running through the woods as it – whether killer or monster I’m not sure but I thought it was a serial killer – was closing in on me.  Branches and twigs snatched at my clothes and tore at my skin as I fled, desperately trying to escape my pursuer but they kept closing in on me.  Eventually I came upon an industrial warehouse in the midst of the woods.  I ran inside seeking a place to hide and I found this universe’s David and this universe’s Classic Ashley.  They told me they had a place to hide me where the killer couldn’t find me.  Salvation!  They opened a set of elevator doors which I darted through…only to find an empty elevator shaft.  I plummeted to my death with David and Classic Ashley laughing all the while  (if you’re curious as to the difference between Ashley and Classic Ashley (outside of one not murdering me in the multiverse) you can read this piece).

The Texarkana Border – This universe terrified me…which is odd, because it pretty much played out like a cut-and-paste family vacation comedy movie.  My entire family (well, my entire family in this universe (which was identical to my family in my universe) was heading to Texarkana for a family reunion or wedding or conference (it wasn’t clear and the feelings kept shifting)).  We got to the airport.  We all flew together.  We checked into the hotel with a gorgeous, spacious lobby adorned with marble pillars which featured an escalator in its center going up to the first floor of rooms with a balcony letting guests look down on the lobby.  As we checked in we danced across this lobby and performed an entire musical number about “The Texarkana Border!  The Texarkana Border!” with elaborate choreography and vocal harmonies.  We got our rooms.  We went to the mall across the street to pickup some things we forgot for the reunion/wedding/conference.  And every single step filled me with pure, abject, unadulterated horror.  I’ve no idea why.  At one point I couldn’t find my ticket…but I immediately did.  I couldn’t remember my room number…but I found David and our room right away.  I was scared I’d lose everyone at the mall…but I didn’t.  I even knew all the words and choreo for the Texarkana border song.  But I woke up shaken to the core by what this Michael endured.

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Inexplicably, this feels preferable to singing “Texarkana Border” with my family in that beautiful hotel. / Photo Credit – Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

And, of course, there are all kinds of sex dreams.  I’m not going to go into the details here, but I’ll say good for those Michaels!

While my dreams didn’t have the heroic implications of Doctor Strange and America Chavez’s adventures in Multiverse of Madness, I am pretty sure they’d’ve been rattled by some of what those multiversal mes endured, too (especially the Texarkana border!).  I bet the Cloak of Levitation would’ve saved them from the elevator shaft but I know Blended Learning would have torn apart a whole cadre of superheroes.  Perhaps most importantly, I can absolutely see America being down for riding those paddle boats but I imagine, like me, Stephen would’ve been a bit assy about going. 

I won’t discuss or speculate about any other overlaps which may or may not exist between my adventures across the would-be multiverse and Doctor Strange and America’s because spoilers.  What they encounter is awaiting you in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness!  But, while I don’t normally end posts with questions as I have a part nervous about no one ever answering, a part of me is curious: What entertaining experiences of multiversal yous have you found in dreams?  Feel free to share any in the comments ;D.

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Sweet dreams! I hope you enjoy the yous you meet across the multiverse tonight! / Photo Credit – Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

12 thoughts on “Doctor I Strange Dreams I of the Multiverse

  1. Hahahaha…I love this post, and that’s coming from someone who’s heard about a lot of your dreams before. My multi-versal Kalie does a lot of flying, like, almost exactly the way Wanda levitates in the new Doctor Strange. I have dreams where I step out of the house and just up and fly to wherever I’d like to go. Sometimes I have to fly to escape witches and such, and sometimes I have to drag “non-fliers” with me to save their lives (which, I think in my dreams/multi-verse, I’ve done for you before. So now in my dreams you’re the guy who can’t fly, and the guy who won’t ride the paddle boats with me). In any case, if I can bring some more of my dreams to light, this post has inspired a similar post on my blog, to be written when grades are done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate that a multiversal Kalie will save me via flying when another multiversal Kalie didn’t even get to ride in a paddle boat because of me. Also, I am so jealous of your flying dreams! (Though not, admittedly, having to flee from witches.) I can’t remember any dreams where I’ve flown. Maybe no Michael in the multiverse can fly?? But I choose to believe I just haven’t met those Michaels yet.

      Also, I’m excited for you to do your post like this sometime!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I only remember nightmares or exceedingly weird stuff verging on the edge of nightmares. One horrible nightmare I still remember over a decade later was about getting shot during a home invasion and them watching me die. I honestly woke up and called my mom in tears it was so upsetting. Now I’m worried about my multiversal selves!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gemma…this is horrifying! Oh my gosh! That would haunt me for weeks and weeks after. WOW. As this post can attest, I’m with you on the terrible dreams. Is it weird that I appreciate the solidarity? My brain does some weird stuff/shows me some scary universes so I appreciate we’re in it (and worrying about our multiversal selves) together.


  3. So, I was definitely going to skip this post in case it spoiled Doctor Strange for me, but then I read your reassurances, and here I am! I actually laughed out loud at some of those dreams, especially the choir one for some reason. But what do you have about paddle boats?! Paddle boats are delightful! Unless you were objecting to the price, because they can really get you that way.

    Also, tangentially related, but I figured you are the expert! Do I need to have watched all three Spider-Man movies to watch this one? Because I’ve only seen the first Spider-Man, but I really, really love Wanda and it’s a dilemma.

    Oh…and I started listening to the Squirrel Girl podcast! I love everything about it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do not recall price being an issue in the paddle boat universe…BUT IT WAS A HILL THAT MICHAEL WOULD DIE ON. As far as my not being super excited to do them in this universe, I mean it’s just sitting in a boat I guess? I don’t know what’s supposed to be super exciting about it. I wish I had the price as an excuse but it appeared to be more a general disdain XD.

      And I’m glad you found yourself laughing out loud! That was the hope :). I certainly was as I wrote it. If you’d ever like to go to church and also see John Mellencamp perform, I now have a universe I can recommend to you!

      Do you need to see all three Spider-Man movies for ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ or ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’? For ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home,’ yes. It basically picks up where ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ left off. For ‘Multiverse of Madness’ you don’t need to have seen any Spider-Man movies…which seems crazy as they marketed the last Spidey movie as setting this up but the really have nothing to do with each other. All you need to be familiar with for ‘Multiverse of Madness’ is the first Doctor Strange movie, what Strange does in ‘Infinity War’ and ‘Endgame,’ and ‘WandaVision.’ Everything else isn’t even tangentially related.

      I am so with you on Wanda, too! I am in the midst of writing a piece all about how fascinating her character in the MCU is. I think you could argue, at this point in the MCU, there really aren’t any characters as layered and interesting as she is. I adore her.

      And YAY FOR SQUIRREL GIRL! I love the energy of the show and I’m so happy you’re digging it, too!


      1. Okay, but hear me out. It’s not just sitting in a boat. It’s sitting in a boat you move with your legs INSTEAD OF YOUR ARMS. It’s like a bike. ON THE WATER. It’s weird, but fascinating. And I don’t even like boats! (If you are wondering why you can’t just ride a bike on land…I don’t know.)

        Yes, of the multiple universes you have going, the John Mellencamp one seems like one of the safest for sure. XD

        My question was about Doctor Strange, but now I see that I was wise to ask because now I know both the watching order of Doctor Strange and Spider-Man! Honestly, I wasn’t that into the first Spider-Man film, but I felt like I had to watch all of them since they were being marketed as the lead-up to the Multiverse of Madness. But now I feel like a great burden has been lifted. Thank you!

        And, yes, totally! The internet needs your thoughts on Wanda!!

        Loving the pun in the last one. Digging for…nuts? Like a squirrel? Lol.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am happy to have lifted your cinematic viewing burden and even happier you appreciated the squirrel digging pun! It’s nowhere near a Koi Boi level pun to be sure…but it’s something!

        As to the riding a bike in the water…it just seems exhausting to me. I’m not a strong swimmer so I’ve never been a big fan of boats. I’d rather lay on the beach and frolic in the water a bit on my own when I feel like it (or do a water slide!) as opposed to venturing out into the great unknown depths on a craft of human design only to be consumed by whatever lays beneath when things go awry.

        But, if I had to choose, I’d pick moving a boat with my feet over my arms any day (at least in this universe)! So I’ll grant you (and Dream Kalie (and, I guess, regular Kalie for that matter)) that point. But if I HAVE to be on a boat I’d rather have no responsibility for moving it whatsoever.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. They address this in the movie
      They address this in the movie! But I’ll provide a SPOILER WARNING for anyone reading these comments who don’t want to know. Ok readers? Don’t skip down any further as another (admittedly little) SPOILER IS FOUND BELOW.

      They talk about this idea of “dream walking.” This is when someone from another multiverse temporarily inhabits your body as you sleep and the amount of control they have over your body in this universe depends on their degree of skill with such magic and consciousness transfers. How wild is that?!?

      Liked by 2 people

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