Sometimes, the best part about seeing new Marvel movies is waiting to see what surprises Kevin Feige and co. have in store for fans after the movie following the credits (or in the middle of the credits). While the post-credits scene for Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was just a cute, little meta joke and a fun excuse to see of more of that great cameo appearance from the director’s buddy, Bruce Campbell, the mid-credits scene was saved to introduce a major comic book character, as well as a major movie star, into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
While the name of her character was never said aloud when Charlize Theron burst onto the screen to enlist Benedict Cumberbatch’s sorcerer for another dimension-crossing adventure, die-hard fans of the source material immediately identified her as Clea. If you happened to be one of the audience members who were still pleasantly surprised to see the Academy Award winner and action movie veteran in an MCU flick, finally, but had no clue who she was supposed to be, do not be afraid. We will clear up everything that you need to know about this powerful fan-favorite hero in time for her next appearance, starting with the bizarre and freaky place she comes from.
Clea Is The Sorcerer Supreme Of The Dark Dimension
Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko (the legendary duo also behind Spider-Man and plenty of other iconic characters), Clea made her Marvel Comics debut in Issue #126 of Strange Tales in 1964. Like Doctor Strange in the comics (and formerly in the MCU canon), she is a being of great magical ability who has the honor of being called the Sorcerer Supreme of her home world - a very murky, hellish realm known as the Dark Dimension. She would also be one of the few people who has been called a ruler of this strange world as part of her birthright and being a close relative to its absolute ruler, Dormammu.
Clea Is Half-Faltine And Half-Dark Dimensional Mortal
Even fans of the Marvel movies in order who have never picked up a comic book in their lives should be able to recognize Dormammu from his funny appearance in 2016’s Doctor Strange, for which he was also voiced by star Benedict Cumberbatch. The Faltine (which is an extra-dimensional being of pure magical energy) is actually the maternal uncle of Clea, whose mother was another Faltine named Umar the Unrelenting, and her father, Prince Orini, was the son of Olnar - the last of the wizard-kings to rule the Dark Dimension - and became Dormammu’s closest and most devoted follower. Unlike her father, however, Clea would eventually grow up to rebel against her uncle and attempt to use her abilities for more heroic purposes. Before we get into that, however, let’s first focus on what she is able to do.
Clea Is Capable Of All Kinds Of Magic
Being of partial Faltinian ancestry, Clea is naturally gifted with the ability to fly and has innate control over the Flames of the Faltine - a spell that would certainly come in handy when trying to light a campfire, which is, admittedly, a huge oversimplification of its capabilities. She is also one of the most powerful and skilled sorcerers in the universe, and known best for specializing in conjuring bolts of magical energy, telepathy, teleportation, rearranging molecules, and even creating (or granting) new life from scratch, such as when she made the Silver Surfer a female counterpart named Ardina. Of course, Clea achieved her expertise in magic with much help from a familiar face.
Doctor Strange Became Clea’s Mentor
Clea first crossed paths with Stephen Strange when he traveled to the Dark Dimension to prevent an earthly takeover by Dormammu, which would also become the first of many times she defied her uncle’s wishes and attempted to help the sorcerer fight against him. Eventually, after realizing that it was the only place where she would be safe from Dormammu, Strange took Clea to Earth, where she was no longer able to use her powers. In an effort to reclaim her use of magic, she then began to study at the Sanctum Sanctorum and, once he was made the Sorcerer Supreme, he invited her to become his official disciple - a relationship that grew into something more.
Clea Became Doctor Strange’s Wife
Clea eventually returned to the Dark Dimension, where she would become its new ruler after overthrowing the missing Dormammu’s successor - her mother, Umar - and, by then she had already realized her affection for Stephen Strange. He, however, realized it a little too late, but their worldly separation led him to propose marriage, which actually could not actually be legally valid due to her extra-dimensional origins. Instead, they had their souls intertwined by a ring that was magically split into two (one for each of to wear) that mystically bonded the two lovers for all eternity. However, Strange’s duties on Earth and Clea’s commitment to the Dark Dimension caused a major strain on their marriage, which never truly ended until one tragic moment.
Clea Eventually Succeeded Strange As Sorcerer Supreme Of Earth
In an effort to save reality, Stephen Strange was forced to ask Mephisto (essentially, the Satan of the Marvel Universe) for his help, but, in return, Clea would have to forget all memory she had of him - a spell that would last until her former lover’s untimely murder at the hands of Kaecilius, whom Mads Mikkelsen played in Doctor Strange. The death of Strange caused all of the spells he once casted or mystical deals he made to be reversed, which allowed Clea to regain her memory of her husband, find his assailant, and briefly revive Strange for enough time to say a proper goodbye. With Strange gone, the moniker of Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme was then passed onto her.
Looks like we have a few different major events to look forward to in the MCU now that Clea’s existence has been confirmed. Of course, given how Marvel Studios often likes to take creative liberties when adapting the source material (such as making Wong the current Sorcerer Supreme more recently), I am even more excited to see what other sorts of surprises we are in for, especially with Charlize Theron as Clea.
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Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.
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