Doctor Strange And Christine Aren't Back Together In Multiverse Of Madness

Between all the reality-shattering antics and shocking cameos in the "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" marketing so far, it's easy to overlook that Rachel McAdams is back as Stephen Strange's fellow surgeon and former lover, Christine Palmer. There's even a glimpse of Christine walking down the aisle in a wedding dress in the sequel's latest trailer, although it's pretty clear she's getting married to someone other than the Sorcerer Supreme.

Richie Palmer, Marvel Studios' manager of production and development, confirmed as much in an interview for the Spring 2022 issue of Disney's D23 magazine (via The Direct). Lest anyone get their hopes up, Palmer clarified that Strange has been much too busy protecting the world to rekindle his relationship with Christine in the lead-up to "Multiverse of Madness":

"They are not back together, unfortunately ... as we saw at the end of 'Doctor Strange,' he [Stephen] chose to stay in the Sanctum, meaning he can't entertain his selfish desires. He would've loved to stay with Christine at the end of that movie, but he did the hard thing. He said, 'No. I'm going to be a superhero and defend our reality. I have to move on.' Our movie shows him dealing with the decisions he's made. He might regret how things ended with Christine; he still carries a torch for her."

But is there a Christine variant running around?

That's all well and good, but it doesn't explain the previously-released footage and images of Stephen traversing the multiverse in the "Doctor Strange" sequel with Marvel Cinematic Universe newcomer America Chavez and a version of Christine who's wearing what seems to be some type of superhero attire. The obvious guess would be that this is merely a variant of Christine from a reality where she has super-powers, but that could be other explanations. It is possible the version of Christine we already know will gain wizard-y abilities of her own at some point? Or, in a dark twist, will it turn out that Stephen meets this variant of his former lover after the Christine from the MCU's main timeline is killed in the battle that's shown interrupting her wedding in the most recent "Multiverse of Madness" trailer?

Fridging the Christine we already know in "Multiverse of Madness" doesn't exactly sound like a great move, not least of all after we just got an entire chapter of "What If...?" dedicated to doing exactly that. Then again, Marvel's animated (sorta) anthology series is shaping up to be a whole lot more vital to the MCU's overarching story than some viewers might have initially assumed, what with the "Multiverse of Madness" trailers bringing the Strange we know (Strange-Prime?) face-to-face with what looks to be the Sorcerer Supreme variant who destroyed his own universe in that tragic episode. One only hopes the minds behind "Multiverse of Madness" have taken this into account and will lay off poor Christine, along with her infinite variants.

"Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Xochitl Gomez, with Sam Raimi directing from a script by Michael Waldron. It will open in U.S. theaters on May 6, 2022.