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What to watch to catch up before Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

All the relevant MCU movies, plus a few more

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Dr. Strange from the poster for Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Image: Marvel
Austen Goslin (he/him) is an entertainment editor. He writes about the latest TV shows and movies, and particularly loves all things horror.

Update, 6/22: This post has been updated to reflect Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’s arrival on Disney Plus.

After six long years of team-ups and cosmic threats, Doctor Strange is finally back for his own movie, now on Disney Plus. Quite a bit has changed for Stephen Strange since he became the Sorcerer Supreme back in his first solo movie. For one thing, he’s opened up the chaos of the infinite multiverse, which means things could get a little complicated for the sequel.

To help you get ready for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, we’ve put together a few lists of the movies you should catch up on. Of course, you could just watch all the Marvel movies again, but that’s a lot of work and you’re probably not going get a lot of Iron Man 2 references out of the MCU’s latest addition to the franchise.

The first two sections are what you should watch if you hope to pick up on all the important story beats of Doctor Strange’s latest adventure. They’re probably not necessary for understanding the story, but watching these six movies, two series, and two episodes will help quite a bit. The last section is entirely optional, but it has a few of our best (and most ridiculous) guesses about which cameos could turn out to be important.

[Ed. note: This post may or may not contain spoilers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness — it really depends on how good we are at guessing.]

Benedict Cumberbatch plays a seemingly evil Doctor Strange in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Image: Marvel Studios

The bare minimum (Stephen’s story, mostly)

This list is mostly all of the movies that brought Stephen Strange to where he is at the beginning of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The list has his origin story, his biggest battles, and his worst decisions. But it’s also got a few added bonuses, like Loki, to help give you a crash course in Marvel’s multiverse, as well as Doctor Strange’s animated What If...? episode, just to let you know how weird and bad things could get in the infinite realities.

  • Doctor Strange
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Avengers: Endgame
  • WandaVision
  • Loki
  • “What If... Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands?”
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home
Wanda Maximoff in full Scarlet Witch mode Image: Marvel Studios/Disney

The Wanda essentials

This is everything you need to catch up on Wanda Maximoff’s journey so far. It won’t quite answer all your multiverse questions, so it’s probably best paired with the Stephen list above, but we’ve included a few double-ups in case Scarlet Witch’s story is the only thing you need a refresher on. This list also has an episode of What If...? that includes Zombie Wanda, which ... seems like it’s going to be relevant to Marvel’s new movie.

  • Avengers: Age of Ultron
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Avengers: Endgame
  • “What If... Zombies?!”
  • WandaVision
Dr. Strange getting interrogated by someone who sounds like Patrick Stewart Image: Disney

The multiversal optimist

This one goes a step beyond even the MCU completionists. Sure, you could definitely watch all the Marvel movies again before Multiverse of Madness, but you already knew that. If you’ve made it this far, it’s because you’re looking for what non-MCU movies might be important this time around, so that’s what this list is — at least, it’s our best guesses on the topic.

  • X-Men — If Patrick Stewart really is playing Professor X in this movie, then it’s worth going back to watch the first time he took the role.
  • Hulk (2003)Eric Bana’s Hulk is easily the least essential, weirdest, and least beloved cameo possible. That’s why they should do it.
  • Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer — Look, this movie’s bad, but it does give us all of the Fantastic Four hits, including Galactus, the Silver Surfer, and Doctor Doom, so it could be a good primer if Marvel wants to do something daring like introduce Reed Richards and his family.
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past — This is a bit of a catch-all for every X-Men universe we may or may not get in Multiverse of Madness.
  • Deadpool — This one kind of explains itself. Deadpool could be in this movie.
  • Inhumans — One of the last trailers for Multiverse of Madness directly mentions the Illuminati (a shadowy Marvel Comics cabal made up of the smartest and most politically powerful superheroes), so it’s very possible we could see a cameo (or more) from prominent member of the Illuminati, Black Bolt, king of the Inhumans. Black Bolt also happened to have been the star of Marvel’s 2017 Inhumans TV series, which was canceled after one season.

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