Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness Name-Drops The Baxter Foundation, But What Is That?

Let's talk Marvel comics and architecture (and no, not the fact that literally any event in the MCU alone would make a number of major cities entirely uninsurable). A number of well known buildings and superhero hideouts have popped up throughout its long history of lore, and quite a few have featured in important moments of our Marvel Cinematic Universe history. We've seen Asgard, Wakanda, the Stark/Avengers Tower, and the Sanctum Sanctorum, all major bases of operation for top-tier heroes. 

At the same time, comic fans have yet to see (and are eagerly anticipating) some major locales pulled into the pop culture behemoth that is the MCU. For example, we have yet to see Marvel's Atlantis (Namor, anyone?), Parker Industries (get on that, Peter ... or rather, Otto Octavius in Peter's body), the Savage Land (who needs Jurassic World, anyway?), Hell, Oscorp, Latveria, or Charles Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters (aka The X-Mansion), all locales that have hosted pivotal moments for Marvel. One long beloved locale for Marvel's First Family may finally get its day in the sun, if we paid attention to those references to "The Baxter Foundation" references littered throughout "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness."

You know how to cut to the core of me, Baxter (Foundation)

In "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," when our heroes plummet into Earth-838 they're almost immediately held in custom holding cells prior to meeting The Illuminati. There, Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) meets an alternate universe version of Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams), here an expert on the multiverse working with the Baxter Foundation (a multiverse-focused organization that's associated with the Illuminati). If the "Baxter Foundation" rings a bell, it's because it's tied both to classic Fantastic Four lore and to 2015's "Fantastic Four" (aka "FANT4STIC").

The Baxter Building is the traditional Manhattan headquarters of the Fantastic Four, and it's a building with a storied Marvel history. In the comics it became a superhero headquarters in the late 1940s, when Captain America and the All-Winners Squad took up residence there (in 2009's "All Winners Comics 70th Anniversary Special" Vol. 11). Most famously, its top floors became the longstanding base of operations for Marvel's own First Family, the Fantastic Four. Thus, in the "Doctor Strange" sequel we can clearly assume that Reed "Mister Fantastic" Richards (John Krasinski) was connected in some way to the name-dropped Baxter Foundation that spearheads the Illuminati's multiverse research and response.

That connection aside, while the Baxter Building is classically tied to the Fantastic Four's rich comic history, the "Baxter Foundation" itself is a nod to the Four's film history. 2015's "Fantastic Four" sees a Baxter Foundation that's the product of Sue Storm's father Franklin. Here it's a mysterious institution that pulls in a young Reed Richards in to perfect cutting edge technology he invented, and it sets in motion the process that grants the Four their fantastic attributes. Whether this subtle nod is just a quick Easter egg or a more substantial hint at how they'll bring in the Four to the main MCU has yet to be seen, but we have clear signals from the folks at Marvel Studios that the Fantastic Four's new cinematic outing will tie into major aspects of their storied origins.