Skip to main content

Why Doctor Strange Casting That Spell In Spider-Man: No Way Home Actually Makes Sense

Fans pleaded for months to see the first trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home, and it has to be said that when they saw it, most were not disappointed. The trailer teases an exciting and potentially game-changing movie for Spider-Man, but he's not the only Marvel Cinematic Universe character who could be going through big changes. The trailer also confirmed that Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange will also be an important part of the film, and that may be the thing that has the most people asking questions now.

The Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer sees Doctor Strange helping Peter Parker by trying to cast a spell that will make the world forget that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. Unfortunately, the spell goes a little haywire, and the end result is at least some form of the live-action Spider-Verse that's been teased in recent months. The fact that Doctor Strange was willing to cast a spell that's so potentially dangerous has many people wondering if the Doctor Strange that we see in the trailer is even the one that we know. Could he be some sort of imposter? Well, maybe. But honestly, this isn't that far out of character for Dr. Stephen Strange, so there's no reason to assume this isn't him.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange in Avengers: Endgame

Doctor Strange Still Has An Ego

In the trailer, we see Wong warn Doctor Strange not to perform the spell because it's too dangerous. We know Doctor Strange is one of the good guys, so certainly he wouldn't cast a spell that could potentially cause serious problems like splinting the universe, right? Surely, Doctor Strange only makes good decisions because he's a Marvel superhero.

While the first Doctor Strange movie is all about Stephen Strange learning that "It's not about you," that doesn't mean that he's not still Stephen Strange. Nobody is as impressed with his own ability as Stephen Strange, and if anything, the events of his solo movie only reinforced that he actually is just as skilled as he thinks he is. The Ancient One wanted Strange to fight for the betterment of the world because Strange had incredible natural talent. He learned many lessons, but humility was not one of them.

Now he's successfully helped save half the universe after seeing the one opportunity for success and doing what he could to see it come to pass. The spell for Peter Parker may be dangerous, but that doesn't mean Stephen Strange ever considered that he wouldn't be able to make said spell work. It's even possible that Strange did everything right; he is that talented. We don't know why the spell didn't work, but perhaps there were outside forces at work that we just don't know about yet.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange in a parka in the Spider-Man: No Way Home Trailer

Doctor Strange May Know More Than We Do

In the trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home, it looks like Doctor Strange makes the decision to cast the spell in spite of the warning that it is dangerous. Despite the fact that we don't even know for certain that the spell Wong is talking about and this one are the same spell, there may be very valid reasons why Strange decided to do it anyway. He may have more information than we're being given in the trailer. He is able to see the future, after all.

The trailer is only showing us pieces of the story and is being intentionally vague in order to keep up the mystery. It's possible that, despite any risks, Doctor Strange is actually making the smartest choice by trying to cast this spell, regardless of how things turn out. Doctor Strange could know things we don't.

Perhaps the future of the timeline where the world knows Peter Parker is Spider-Man is very dangerous for some unknown reason. It could be that despite the risks, casting the spell is worth trying because erasing the knowledge from the world is preferable to them having it. This is entirely conjecture, but it makes as much sense as anything we have evidence for.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange in the Spider-Man: No Way Home Trailer

Doctor Strange Doesn't Show All His Cards

There's clearly a lot going on in Spider-Man: No Way Home that we don't fully understand. Some of that is because the trailer was intentionally vague. This was the official "teaser trailer" after all, and the rest of the mystery is exactly what the movie is probably about. All the details of what is going on and why may not even be fully explained in this movie, because we have at least one more big multiverse movie on the way with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

But that doesn't mean that there aren't characters who will know more about what is going on than they're admitting, and Doctor Strange is likely one of those characters. In Avengers: Infinity War, he does the one thing that everybody knows is a bad idea when he gives Thanos the Time Stone, and while it's never explicitly stated, what we eventually learn is that he needed to do that so that the one potentially successful timeline could move forward. He doesn't tell anybody this because revealing it would prevent success from being achieved.

Is it possible that Doctor Strange has some sort of ulterior motive here? Of course it is. Heck, it's Doctor Strange, so that's not simply possible, but likely, though that doesn't mean that his motive is actually nefarious. If casting this spell, and even intentionally screwing up the spell, is what needs to happen, then Doctor Strange could very easily be doing just that.

None of this is to say that unequivocally there isn't a a character bait and switch going on here. Could this be a Doctor Strange variant? Could this be a Skrull in disguise? Is it possible this isn't Doctor Strange? Sure it's possible; we don't know enough to be sure that isn't what's happening here, but at the same time what we do know doesn't make any of these possibilities more likely. It makes perfect sense that Strange could be doing this for his own reasons, or just to see if he can. It's definitely not Mephisto though. We'll learn what's truly going on when Spider-Man: No Way Home is released on December 17.

Dirk Libbey

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.