Over the weekend, Marvel Studios once again absolutely dominated Hall H at at San Diego Comic-Con, which came as no surprise, but that doesn't mean the panel was without surprises. Kevin Feige and the rest of the Marvel family came to play, bringing Spider-Man: Homecoming footage, Baby Groot and the whole Black Panther cast. But there is no doubt that the studio heavily focused on the upcoming Doctor Strange. One of the major reveals about the movie was that it will introduce the multiverse into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
For those who may be more of a casual fan and may not understand exactly what that means, the multiverse is a collection of various timelines and universes, which can allow for alternate versions of characters and storylines to co-exist. Doctor Strange is the perfect character to introduce this concept, but that means potentially big things for the future. Director Scott Derrickson hinted at this idea during the panel, but elaborated on it during an interview with ComicBook.com. Here is what he had to say.
"What the comics did was, they brought with Doctor Strange an extra dimension into psychadelia, mysticism, and spirituality and all these very 60's things and broke open the Marvel comic book universe into the Marvel multiverse. I think 'Doctor Strange' is going to be the beginning of the Marvel Cinematic Multiverse. It's really serving the same function that the comic did."
Stephen Strange as a character is the Master of the Mystic Arts and goes on to become The Sorcerer Supreme. That being the case, he has access to and serves as the protector of Earth from various dimensions and timelines, because of magic. That presents Marvel Studios a very interesting opportunity moving forward. Depending on how the multiverse idea is explored on the movie side of things, this means that Marvel could bring in different versions of, Iron Man, for example, once Robert Downey Jr. decides that he doesn't want to do Marvel movies anymore. In the way that J.J. Abrams' Star Trek reboot didn't throw out everything before it, Marvel could honor the legacy of all that came before it in the MCU. They can bring in new versions of characters without having to throw out the history or do a hard reboot. That is significant.
The other side of that coin is that it means different version of the same character can exist at the exact same time. For instance, right now it seems like Marvel Studios isn't exactly getting along in every way with what is going on with Marvel's TV division. So, Marvel Studios could set up the idea that the movie side of things exists in a different timeline or universe within the multiverse, and could bring in different versions of characters that are already being used elsewhere. Charlie Cox, who plays Daredevil on the Netflix series, already alluded to this idea a few months back in an interview with Cnet.
"Marvel TV and Marvel Studios are two very different things. Even if the character were to appear in that film, that doesn't necessarily mean that I would appear in that film."
There have been references to the movies and some character crossover on the TV side of things already, but the multiverse is a crazy, flexible and sometimes very confusing thing. So who knows how Marvel Studios will handle it, but we know that it is coming. If Marvel has taught us anything at this point, it is that they have a plan for almost everything, so surely this is no minor thing. We will have to wait and see what happens when the Doctor Strange movie finally hits theaters on November 4.