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Why Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness Was The Perfect Film To Bring In Charlize Theron’s Clea

Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
(Image credit: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

A common trait of the Marvel Phase Four projects so far has been to introduce important characters (or advance the journey for key heroes) in the closing minutes and end-credits scenes of their movies and television projects. Pop icon Harry Styles appeared as Starfox, brother of Thaons, as Chloe Zhao’s Eternals drew to a close. The same movie pushed Kit Harington closer to his destiny as The Black Knight, and had a vocal cameo from Mahershala Ali’s Blade. And Mad Max: Fury Road badass Charlie Theron finally made her Marvel Cinematic Universe debut when she appeared as Clea in a mid-credits scene for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. But why introduce Clea at this point in the MCU timeline?

Fans of Doctor Strange have been waiting for Clea to appear in a story. Some even thought Rachel McAdams was secretly playing Clea when she was cast in the first Doctor Strange movie. Instead, it’s Theron who is sharing official images of MCU Clea, and revving up to play her again alongside Benedict Cumberbatch in a future Marvel Studios project (to be determined later). Commenting to Marvel.com about the use of Clea in that moment, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness writer Michael Waldron admitted:

Getting Charlize Theron to play that character, holy crap! In the comics, Clea is Doctor Strange’s great love so to speak. The alternate Christine Palmer, as she says goodbye to our Doctor Strange, tells him to face his fears, to be willing to love someone else and to face that fear connecting with someone else. It felt like the perfect time to finally introduce this very pivotal character in Doctor Strange’s canon.

There’s no question that Stephen Strange should be changed by the events that took place in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Among many things, the Sorcerer Supreme confirmed the existence of the Multiverse, and met an individual in America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) with the power to travel the multiverse with ease. That’s one of many things you need to know about America Chavez moving forward. Strange also watched Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) wipe out the Multiverse Illuminati. And he Dream Walked into his own corpse. Classic Sam Raimi. 

As Michael Waldron went on to discuss the ramifications of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the writer told Marvel.com:

Strange went to the Multiverse and tampered with it as much as you probably possibly could. I don’t think it’s any surprise per the rules that Reed [Richards] laid out that he caused an Incursion. So now there’s an oncoming collision of universes. But what does that mean for the MCU? We’ll find out. But we’ve got a semi-corrupted Doctor Strange and Clea on the case! So it’s going to be a lot of fun.

He has a different idea of fun. Those who read the Marvel comics know that Incursions are devastating, and if Doctor Strange’s meddling caused another one, it’s going to take a number of Marvel heroes joining forces to prevent the outcome. Right now, we have no idea when or where Doctor Strange will next appear. The slate of upcoming Marvel projects doesn’t list a third Doctor Strange movie, and the sorcerer isn’t listed on the Disney+ list of announced shows. 

Then again, Marvel likes to have characters pop up in other hero’s movies, like when Wong (Benedict Wong) showed up to fight and train Abomination in a key scene from Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. I feel like the Incursion will be a major event in the MCU, but until we have more details, we are in wait-and-see mode.

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.