Doctor Strange 2 Writer Explains Why The Mid-Credits Character Is A Huge Deal After The Multiverse Of Madness

SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness. If you have not yet seen the film, proceed at your own risk!

While Marvel Studios has not yet confirmed the specifics of the cinematic future for Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange, we do know that the character has a fascinating road ahead. On top of the end credits specifically saying “Doctor Strange Will Return,” the mid-credits scene in the Marvel blockbuster introduces a fantastic new colleague for the Master of the Mystic Arts: Clea, played by Charlize Theron.

At this stage, we only know broad strokes about what to expect from Clea in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (primarily based on the content of the aforementioned mid-credits scene), but screenwriter Michael Waldron has confirmed that she is being set up not only as a sorcerer from the Dark Dimension, but the great love of Dr. Stephen Strange’s life.

I spoke with the Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness writer earlier this month, and among the many spoiler-y topics we discussed during the interview (including the changing roster of the Illuminati), we also touched on how Clea came to be a part of the film. He explained that she is a character that Marvel wanted to find a way to introduce in the blockbuster, and why he feels that the mid-credits scene was the proper place to execute that introduction. Said Waldron,

Marvel, of course... there's always been discussions of having Clea in this movie. We wanted to close the loop on Christine Palmer, and once she tells Strange to face his fears and not be afraid of loving someone, it felt like he was finally positioned to meet Clea, who is the great love of his life in the comics.

A big part of Doctor Strange’s arc in Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness is finding closure in his relationship with Rachel McAdams’ Christine Palmer (who was his love interest in the first movie). The film opens with Christine getting married to another man, her romantic relationship with the Avenger having dissolved due to his commitments to his duties, and by the end he has made peace that they aren’t meant to be. What Strange really needs is someone with whom he has more in common… and that’s where Clea comes in.

As noted, we don’t know specifics about Clea in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but in the pages of Marvel Comics, Clea is the Sorcerer Supreme of the Dark Dimension – which fans will remember is the purple-tinted hell ruled over by the evil Dormammu. She is a character torn between worlds, as she has a deep love for Doctor Strange of Earth-616, but has a persistent fight rebelling against Dormammu in her own reality.

Briefly discussing the inspirations for the Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness mid-credits scene, Michael Waldron gave a tip of the hat to Robert Zemeckis’ Cast Away starring Tom Hanks, and recalled his amazement at seeing Charlize Theron on set as Clea:

We talked about the last scene of Cast Away, where he meets that woman after delivering that package. So yeah, it was so cool. And then suddenly there's Charlize [Theron] you're like, 'Oh my God, I can't believe it happened.'

In the mid-credits scene, Clea visits Doctor Strange through a portal to deliver news that his actions have specifically led to a brewing incursion event in the Dark Dimension, and she invites him to help do something about it. It’s pretty easy to imagine that’s a set-up for a Doctor Strange 3, even if that’s a project that is only officially an idea at this stage.

We’re always keeping an ear out for news about upcoming Marvel movies, so stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for updates, and be on the lookout for more from my interview with Michael Waldron.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.