Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness Credits Scenes Explained: An Eye Opener

Whenever Marvel Studios drops content, whether it be a new TV show or a movie, someone is going to come along and call it a "game-changer." They may go further and say that the Marvel Cinematic Universe will "never be the same again" after the latest chapter. And I'm sure to many, these phrases lose a little bit of power each time they're used. But sometimes that's just the best way to describe the insanity that just happened onscreen, right?

It's funny that I use "they," as if I'm not among the True Believers that say things like that, but to be clear: I'm certainly guilty of this as well. "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," "The Avengers," and "Spider-Man: Homecoming" are just a few of the films that I've made such claims about for one reason or another. And quite frankly, as hyperbolic as it sounds, I have to do it again: "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" is a game-changer because the MCU will never be the same again after the events of this film. And though there is evidence all over the Master of the Mystic Arts' latest headlining feature, one of the post-credits scenes really hammers that point home.

From this point forward, there are massive SPOILERS for "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness." Proceed with caution.

The eyes have it

Before we get into the meaning of the post-credits scenes, let's lay out what happens in these bonus moments that tease what's next in the MCU. First, as soon as the animated credits wrap up, we see Doctor Strange leisurely walking down a New York street. He stops when an unnamed woman wearing purple cuts through the universe and walks through the hole. After this woman confirms that he is indeed Doctor Strange, she says, "You caused an incursion and we're gonna fix it ... Unless you're afraid." Benedict Cumberbatch's seasoned sorcerer opens the third eye in the center of his forehead (the same one that we just saw him scream in pain over when it first opened as a residual side effect of being exposed to the Darkhold) and replies, "Not in the least," before following her into the void.

Once the complete credits roll, there is one more post-credits scene that doesn't really have anything to do with the previous one or the future of the MCU. We catch up with Bruce Campbell's Pizza Pappa, who was last seen punching himself in the face after a run-in with Doctor Strange and America Chavez. After what we assume has been three weeks based on Strange's earlier estimate, the street vendor finally stops punching himself. Relieved, he looks into the camera and says "It's over!" before the screen cuts to black.

As fun as that last scene is, let's get to the real reason you're here: Who was that woman? And how can she and Strange fix incursions?

Which witch?

The mysterious woman in the first post-credits scene is portrayed by Charlize Theron. Based on her purple motif in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," the award-winning actress from "Mad Max: Fury Road," "A Million Ways to Die In The West," and "The Fate of the Furious" will be playing Clea in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Daughter of the immortal magical being Umar and niece of the tyrannical demon Dormammu, she is a powerful Master of the Mystic Arts in her own right. Initially a captive of her mother and uncle, Clea eventually ascends to the throne of the Dark Dimension and earns the title of Sorceress Supreme of that realm.

After Clea meets Doctor Strange while he's on a mission to stop Dormammu, she realizes that she's much safer outside of the Dark Dimension and moves to the New York City of Doctor Strange's world. However, now that she was residing on Earth rather than the Dark Dimension, her powers began to diminish. That's when Clea became a student of Strange's so she could regain her magical abilities.

All the time they spent together as teacher and student resulted in Strange and Clea falling in love. They got married and continued their adventures as magical man and wife until 2021 when he died during the "Death of Doctor Strange" storyline by Jed McKay and Lee Garbett. At that point, Clea stepped in as the Sorceress Supreme of Earth and has contemplated resurrecting Strange against Wong's advice.

When we meet Theron's Clea, she already seems to be pretty autonomous and self-sufficient enough to use her powers outside of her own universe. After all, unless you're America Chavez with built-in dimension-hopping powers, it takes a lot of power and mastery for someone to travel the multiverse. With that in mind, while we may not get the student/teacher relationship from the comics (which is probably for the best), the pair could still catch feelings as they deal with the incursions of the multiverse.

Time runs out

Speaking of incursions, as we see in the new movie, when Strange travels to another universe with America's help and comes face to face with the panel of influential super-powered beings known as the Illuminati. They tell the former Sorcerer Supreme that their version of Doctor Strange used the magic of the Darkhold and cause an incursion, an event where something causes two universes to collide and either one or both of them perish. Though the Strange before them thinks that he could use the powerful spells found in the cursed tome without consequence, the counsel including the First Avenger Captain Carter, King of the Inhumans Black Bolt, Professor Charles Xavier, Sorcerer Supreme Baron Mordo, Captain Marvel AKA Maria Rambeau, and genius Fantastic Four founder Reed Richards are concerned that he will initiate another incursion and kill countless people.

In the comics, Jonathan Hickman's epic run on "Avengers" and "New Avengers" from 2012 through 2015 culminated in an event called "Time Runs Out." This story finds Earth's Mightiest Heroes trying to figure out ways to stop incursions. While the main title features more heroic solutions to save all the universes they can, "New Avengers" finds the Illuminati taking a more black ops approach to do as much good as they can for the multiverse while prioritizing their own universe. In the end, the Illuminati realize that their efforts would be better served if they focused on "not losing" rather than winning, so they build a "lifeboat" to save as many people from their Earth as they can. It's all moot since the final incursion between the last two universes still affects everyone in the end. But the day is saved when the latest version of "Secret Wars" found Doctor Strange, the Molecule Man, and Doctor Doom using the powers of the Beyonders to create a new multiverse called Battleworld that all fell under the rule of the infamous Fantastic Four foe.

A future foundation

So what does this mean for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Well, a few things. First, it seems to me that Phase Four will continue to lean into the multiverse moving forward. Based on the immediate slate of projects coming our way in the next few years like "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," "Blade," "Echo," and "She-Hulk," it likely won't be at the forefront just yet. But by the time we get around to "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania," "X-Men 97," the second season of "Loki," and "Fantastic Four" (once it finds a new director), they could potentially further set the stage for an adaptation of "Secret Wars" on the big screen.

And with the introduction of the Illuminati on top of the tease that Doctor Strange and Clea are traveling the multiverse to stop incursions in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," we'll have these powerful entities gaining more and more power in the background of the MCU in one universe or another until it's finally time for them to emerge from the shadows. Don't forget, this is the same cinematic universe that didn't capitalize on the Thanos reveal from "The Avengers" for a number of years until he was out of our periphery vision. By the time Kevin Feige and company are ready to pull the trigger on the next "Avengers: Endgame"-style event, there's a very good chance that the first post-credits scene from this movie is the first seed. 

Ultimately, yes, this is all speculation since the MCU frequently diverges from established Marvel Comics lore often. But out of the possible fourteen million six hundred and five possible outcomes out there in the multiverse, this certainly seems like the direction things are headed after Doctor Strange's latest adventure.