SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness. If you haven’t seen the blockbuster yet, proceed at your own risk!
There are distinctly two different kinds of Marvel Cinematic Universe post-credits scenes. The first type puts an emphasis on comedy – usually executing some kind of callback reference to a funny event or circumstance earlier in the movie. The other type not only tends to be more dramatic, but serves to tease what is coming in the future of the franchise (often by introducing brand new characters). There is no set pattern or expectation of how they roll out… but in the case of Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness, Marvel fans everywhere will get to see one of each.
Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness has two end credits sequences – one mid-credits scene, and one post-credits scene – and while they are very different, both of them are tremendously entertaining. This feature has been designed to provide the inside scoop on both of them and explain their significance, but before we get into analysis, let’s begin with a quick recap of exactly what it is that happens in the two new Marvel codas.
What Happens In The End Credits Scenes Of Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness
The mid-credits scene in Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness seemingly picks up shortly after the startling events in the final moments of the movie, and finds the titular hero (Benedict Cumberbatch) calmly walking down a street in New York when his name is called with a demanding intonation. It turns out that the voice belongs to a mysterious woman in a dark costume with bold splashes of purple (Charlize Theron), and she tells him that his meddling with the multiverse has led to a cataclysmic event referred to as an incursion.
A portal opens to reveal a familiar purple and green universe, and the stranger’s declaration turns into an invitation – asking Doctor Strange if he would try and fix it. As the new eye in the forehead of the Master of the Mystic Arts opens, the Avenger smirks and makes his way to the intergalactic doorway. Cut to black, and the rest of the credits.
At the very, very end of Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness, the action returns to Earth-838 and the character who identifies himself as Pizza Poppa (Bruce Campbell). Because he had the gall to try and grapple with America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), the pizza balls vendor has spent three weeks under the influence of a curse from Doctor Strange forcing him to repeatedly punch himself in the face. That time period is the expiration date for the magic spell, however, and Pizza Poppa celebrates the ceased beatings by declaring, “It’s over!”
Who Is Clea, And Where Does She Come From?
If the purple and green world on the other side of the mysterious woman’s portal seems/sounds familiar, that’s probably because you have solid recall when it comes to the first Doctor Strange movie from 2016. What audiences are glimpsing is a brief look at what is known as the Dark Dimension (which you may remember as the reality ruled by the evil Dormammu).
For those who know their Marvel Comics history, this identifies Charlize Theron's character as Clea – a character from the comics who is best known as the Sorcerer Supreme of the Dark Dimension and has been an ally of Doctor Strange’s from the early years of the hero’s existence. While not immediately identified, her first appearance is in Strange Tales #126, which is the issue when Strange goes to confront Dormammu for the first time.
In case it isn’t obvious from her title, Clea is an incredibly gifted magic user – and as such one of the most powerful characters in the multiverse. Born and raised in the Dark Dimension she has a history of rebellion against Dormammu, and we’ll presumably see her take the fight to the entity with Doctor Strange by her side in the wizard’s next big screen adventure.
When and what will that be? We have no idea, but the “Doctor Strange will return” line on screen in Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness feels at least vaguely like a promise for a Doctor Strange 3. We can keep our fingers crossed that more information about the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be explained at San Diego Comic-Con 2022.
Pizza Poppa’s Torture Finally Comes To An End
Obviously the end of Pizza Poppa’s torture in the post-credits scene of Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness is primarily designed as punchline for the character’s scene earlier in the film (not to mention a meta reference to the conclusion of the blockbuster), but audiences not overly familiar with the works of Sam Raimi may not get the total breadth of the gag. If you don’t know Raimi’s movies, you probably don’t know about his long tenured friendship with actor Bruce Campbell… and all of the hell that the director has put him through over the years.
Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell were childhood friends who grew up in a small town in Michigan, and in the late 1970s they made their first feature together: Evil Dead. The cult horror flick ultimately launched their respective careers, and while Campbell does a lot of feature and TV work without the director, Raimi typically finds at least a small part for the actor to play in all of his movies – hence his brief role in Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness.
What’s even more special about what happens to Pizza Poppa, however, is that it continues a tradition of Sam Raimi lovingly torturing Bruce Campbell on screen. In the making of his Evil Dead trilogy – including Evil Dead, Evil Dead II, and Army Of Darkness – the filmmaker relished all opportunities for muck-slinging and physical humor, and what happens to Campbell’s character in the MCU blockbuster is instantly reminiscent of that violent, gross, sweet cinematic history.
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Wong, Xochitl Gomez, and Rachel McAdams, Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness is now playing in theaters everywhere. To learn about all of the MCU films that are on the way in the wake of the 2022 blockbuster, head over to our Upcoming Marvel Movies guide.
NJ native who calls LA home; lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran; endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.
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