By Michael King
Broadcast News Director
”Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” comes out Thursday, May 5. While the Marvel Cinematic Universe weaves its movies together to the point that you are encouraged to watch all of them, some movies are more important than others when catching up for a certain movie. Here is the top five movies and series (with an honorable mention) you need to see before “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” hits theaters in May.
Honorable Mention: “Loki”
“Loki” follows the story of the titular God of Mischief as he escapes his timeline and grapples with the Time Variance Authority. While the relevance to Dr. Strange himself is practically non-existent, “Loki” introduces concepts that are sure to be explored. The most notable of these are variants, versions of characters that stray from their original timelines, and are confirmed to play a part in the upcoming movie.
5. “What If?”
“What If?” is an anthology series focusing on alternate takes of MCU stories. It introduces a few concepts such as each timeline’s infinity stones are different. However, a character of note is Strange Supreme, a variant of Dr. Strange who turned to the dark side. While there is no confirmation that Strange Supreme or other featured variants will appear in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” another variant named Supreme Strange will be.
4. “Avengers: Infinity War” and
This is technically two, but they are two halves of the same story. “Avengers: Infinity War” follows the Avengers and other heroes as they try to stop Thanos from killing half of all life in the universe with infinity stones. “Avengers: Endgame” takes place five years later, with the Avengers being given another chance to stop the Mad Titan. Vision’s death during Infinity War becomes a major source of character development for Wanda, a main character in the upcoming movie, later down the line. “Avengers: Endgame” introduces time travel into the MCU and lays the groundwork for variants.
3. “Doctor Strange”
This is the first movie featuring Dr. Strange, and it gives us Dr. Strange’s character, along with establishing the character arc of Mordo, Dr. Strange’s ally turned enemy. While it’s the oldest movie on the list, this is the only movie specifically about Dr. Strange. The story the movie was building to is mostly finished, but it gives great insight into the character and development of Strange.
“Wandavision,” while one of Marvel’s most unconventional series/movies, is ultimately a story about grief. Wanda takes over a small town to live out her life with Vision and her children, forcing the town’s residents to act out in a sitcom. This series does two things: it recaps Wanda’s backstory neatly, and it establishes her as a potential villain. Her villain arc is all but confirmed to continue into “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”
1. “Spider-Man: No Way Home”
“Spider-Man: No Way Home” features Peter Parker as he deals with having his identity revealed by Mysterio. He turns to the magic arts and enlists the help of Dr. Strange to make people forget he is Spider-Man. Without going too much into spoilers, this movie gives the first glimpse of the multiverse at large. It also opens the door for crossovers with other non-MCU Marvel movies such as the original Spider-Man trilogy and potentially the X-Men. It’s no coincidence that one of its post credit scenes is the “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” trailer.