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.
This weekend, in anticipation of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, I returned to a favorite tradition of mine – marathoning old movies before I see the new one! The size of the Marvel Cinematic Universe means the last time I watched every movie was my marathon for Avengers: Endgame. Now, saner (and healthier!) parts have prevailed. Instead of ruining my life by trying to watch the twenty-eight different films and nineteen different TV series with thirty-six seasons between them that make up the MCU (at the time of this writing), I’ve just chosen to watch Doctor Strange (2015), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), WandaVision (2021), and Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021). Rewatching Doctor Strange a question struck me: whatever happened to Dr. Christine Palmer?