WARNING: HUGE SPOILERS AHEAD FOR “SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME”
“Spider-Man: No Way Home” is now in theaters and, like many Marvel movies, it has more than one post-credits scene. Of course, if you’re here, you knew that because you stayed through the very end and need to sort out that true post-credits scene. Well, let’s break down.
Because really, there’s a lot to unpack there, as it sets up what’s to come in Phase Four of the MCU. It’s a bit of an odd situation though, as it’s both a scene and a sort of trailer for “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” So let’s start with the actual story it gives us.
As the post-credits scene starts, we see flashes of different people and locations. Eventually, we wind up back with Doctor Strange, who has tracked down Wanda Maximoff. She’s working outside, though it’s unclear if she’s still at the cabin we left her in at the end of “WandaVision.”
Upon realizing Strange has found her, Wanda tries to head him off, admitting she was wrong to operate Westview, and didn’t intend to hurt anyone. But before she really gets into it, Strange cuts her off himself, assuring her that he’s not there to talk about Westview. Instead, he asks for her help in exploring and understanding the multiverse.
Surrounding that dialogue are more flashes of scenes — including one of Rachel McAdams’s Christine Palmer walking down the aisle to marry Strange. As we know, that definitely didn’t happen in “Doctor Strange.”
Eagle-eyed fans will also have noticed that in those quick flashes — which are really too vague to make any concrete sense of in terms of story — Doctor Strange is flanked by a young girl, wearing a denim jacket with a star on it. Yes, that was the back of America Chavez, who is set to be played by Xochitl Gomez.
We also see footage of Chiwetel Ejiofor, Strange’s friend-turned-nemesis Karl Mordo, who we last saw in “Doctor Strange.” And, as he tells Strange, he’s not going to be of any help in whatever’s going on.
But, the biggest moment of all comes at the end when Doctor Strange meets… a Dark Doctor Strange. This new Strange warns our sorcerer that his greatest threat, will be himself. And of course, after all of that, we get the typical on-screen promise that “Doctor Strange will return.”
See? Like we said, a lot to unpack. So, what does it all mean?
Well, we obviously need to talk about that Dark Strange. Though he’s missing the big collar, he sure looks like the Strange we met in “What If…?” There, Strange became obsessed after Christine died, and tries (several times over) to use the time stone to prevent it. Each time, he fails. So, he makes a deal with the dark dimension to obtain new, decidedly evil powers and resurrect her.
Of course, Christine is too good to allow that and ultimately resists Strange, resulting in a full collapse of the universe, leaving him alone, broken, and bitter — which seems to be where we find him in the post credits scene. Of course, we don’t know for sure the movie will actually tie back into the animated series about hypothetical situations, we’re just noting the apparent similarities.
But it does make sense, considering what “No Way Home” showed us within the multiverse.
The question is more about how he would end up in the current universe. As far as we know, Strange’s new spell at the end of “No Way Home” closed the barriers between dimensions that were starting to break open.
That said, it stopped multiversal beings who were coming for Peter Parker from coming through. It’s entirely possible that, having cast the spell, an alternate universe Strange felt the magic behind it and found a way through himself.
Then again, the multiverse was also split open by Sylvie in “Loki.” So really, the exact circumstances could be the result of a whole lot of things. But, a Dark Strange combined with a returning, still disillusioned Mordo can’t mean anything good.
We also have to question when and in what universe these scene flashes are happening in. As we know, Strange and Christine (McAdams) didn’t get married in “Doctor Strange.” We knew she’d be back for “Multiverse of Madness,” but the details surrounding her are under tight wraps, like most of the film’s plot.
This could be an alternate universe in which Strange and Christine get married, or it could be our current universe, and the two have reconciled.
Clearly, Strange is shaken up about all of this, and not powerful enough to handle it all on his own — leading him to Wanda (who we also briefly see in her full Scarlet Witch form again). For now, we’ll just have to wait for an actual trailer to give us anything more.
“Spider-Man: No Way Home” is exclusively in theaters now.