How Spider-Man: No Way Home Sets Up Doctor Strange 2

The time has finally arrived, as "Spider-Man: No Way Home," arguably the biggest movie event the world has seen in literally years (thanks, pandemic), has made its way to theaters. As with any Marvel Cinematic Universe entry, a whole lot happened, but this particular movie brought a truly monumental amount to the table. One major thing the movie did was bring Benedict Cumberbatch back as Doctor Strange, and he was an integral part of the whole thing, essentially serving as a lead character alongside Tom Holland's Peter Parker.

As the trailers have made quite clear, "No Way Home" goes big on the idea of opening up the Marvel Multiverse. And, as it just so happens, Strange will be back for his own solo adventure, "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" next year. This movie did quite a bit to set the stage for that long-awaited sequel, and we're here to go over what pieces were moved into place on the chessboard in anticipation of the assuredly wild ride.

Warning: major spoilers ahead for "Spider-Man: No Way Home." Proceed with caution.

Messing With the Multiverse

While Doctor Strange almost certainly should have known better, he decides to help out his superhero pal Peter Parker anyway. Peter's life is straight-up ruined by the doctored-up video released by The Daily Bugle that reveals his identity to the world. Peter then has an idea to see if his sorcerer friend can erase that from everyone's memory. Despite some hesitation from Wong who overhears the plan, he doesn't stop them, which is kind of surprising since Stephen revealed that Wong is technically the new Sorcerer Supreme, given that Doctor Strange was blipped away for five years. And so, they go ahead with the plan anyway.

Unfortunately, Peter wants a few people to remember him, which screws with the spell that Strange is trying to cast. This opens a crack in the multiverse that allows people who knew that Peter Parker was Spider-Man through those cracks. While much of the movie is spent trying to clean up this mess, things really get ugly in the third act when one of Green Goblin's bombs goes off in the magical device Strange was using to contain the botched spell.

In the end, Peter asks Strange to cast a new spell that would truly make everyone forget who he is, which would allow him to contain the now-gaping cracks in the universe that were about to let countless multiversal trespassers through. We get some version of a happy ending as a result, at least for Peter and his friends. However, this felt sort of like using duct tape to fix a race car's engine. It was a patch. This messing with the multiverse will clearly have consequences that will undoubtedly be explored in "Doctor Strange 2."

Getting On Mordo's Bad Side

Unfortunately, it's been a long time since "Doctor Strange" hit theaters in 2016, introducing us to Stephen Strange and the magical side of the MCU. As fans may well recall, Strange got off on a bad foot with Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) due to his use of time-altering magic to repair the damage that had been done by Kaecilius. Mordo ultimately went his own way and, as we saw in the movie's post-credits scene, began amassing power by taking it away from other sorcerers.

With that in mind, one has to imagine Mordo is going to be none too happy about the fact that Strange used his powers to try and make a 17-year-old superhero's life less inconvenient. In the grand scheme of the multiverse, that is small potatoes. Given what we're going to talk about here in just a moment, it is quite clear that these actions are going to have dire consequences. There might be some "Mordo was right" talk going on here in the not-too-distant future, much like there are those who feel Magneto has a point. This movie certainly set the stage for renewed conflict between the former allies.

Revealing the Multiverse of Madness Trailer

Now, for those who stuck around during the credits (and it's the standard operating procedure for most Marvel fans at this point), this is surely the biggest thing that "Spider-Man: No Way Home" did to set up "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" was revealing the teaser trailer for the movie following the credits. It's an unconventional way to go about showcasing a trailer, but it does demonstrate how much the multiversal events of both of these movies are connected.

As for the trailer itself, it reveals an awful lot, given how much of a mystery director Sam Raimi's sequel has been up to this point. We got a glimpse at Mordo who has some harsh words for Strange, saying "I'm sorry Stephen. I hope you understand the greatest threat to our universe is you." We also get some ominous voiceover in the beginning, with Stephen saying, "It was the only way, but I never meant for any of this to happen."

It seems what was done in "No Way Home" caused much larger problems, as Strange enlists the help of Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) to help fix these multiverse issues. The footage shows glimpses of the utter chaos, as well as the beastly Shuma-Gorath, who is going to be one of the main villains of the movie, if not the main villain. It looks pretty epic, and hopefully it will be online sooner rather than later so we can discuss it more thoroughly. But the stage is now set for this much-anticipated MCU sequel.

"Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" is set to hit theaters on May 6, 2022.