What to watch before Doctor Strange 2

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness relies on a lot of prior MCU movie and TV series lore — so here's what to watch before Doctor Strange 2

What to watch before Doctor Strange 2: Elizabeth Olsen in Wandavision, Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange, Zombie Doctor Strange in What If...?

How do you know what to watch before Doctor Strange 2? Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is finally in theatres — but as fans of the MCU know, this film is much more than your run-of-the-mill fantasy movie. With Kevin Feige building out a rich cinematic universe with his Marvel movies, you can expect plenty of references to other movies and TV series throughout Doctor Strange 2. After all, as a MCU Phase 4 movie, you have to take into account the three other phases that came before it.

But don’t worry! You don’t need to go back and study for the Multiverse of Madness like it’s an exam, and despite what some film bros may tell you, there’s no need to watch every single film and series affiliated with Marvel in order to understand what’s going in the adventure movie.

However, a handful of recent movies and Disney Plus series like Loki, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and What If…? will definitely help you keep track of different Doctor Strange 2 easter eggs, references, and other plot points. So, without further ado, here is our essential guide on what to watch before Doctor Strange 2, ranked in order of importance.

What to watch before Doctor Strange 2

  • Wandavision
  • Doctor Strange
  • Avengers: Endgame and Infinity War
  • Loki
  • What If…?
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D

What to watch before Doctor Strange 2: Elizabeth Olsen and the cast of Wandavision

Wandavision (2021)

Many are calling Doctor Strange 2 the sequel to Wandavision, and that’s because The Scarlet Witch indisputably takes centre stage in this film as she fights to be with her ‘children’ by any means possible.

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The events of Westview have a heavy influence on Doctor Strange 2 because not only did it lead to Wanda transforming into The Scarlet Witch, but it also re-introduced the Darkhold (which was used by Agatha Harkness) and set the ball rolling for Wanda’s corruption by the time Multiverse of Madness takes place. It also tells us a lot more about her backstory than Age of Ultron does, so helps to kill two birds with one stone.

Furthermore, her motivations in this movie are based around trying to find a universe where she can live with her children, Billy and Tommy. Because they were created as part of her grief-led Chaos Magic used to hex Westview, when she lifted the hex, Billy and Tommy disappeared from her universe too. But they do exist in other universes, which is a driving force behind her actions and ultimate redemption in Doctor Strange 2.

What to watch before Doctor Strange 2: Benedict Cumberbatch in Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange (2016)

As well as telling us how Stephen Strange came to be, Doctor Strange is our main introduction to more mystical elements in the MCU, giving us essential information about the rules and responsibilities around being a sorcerer, the Kamar-Taj, and how these kinds of powers work — all of which is essential to know before watching the movie’s sequel.

We’re also introduced to a number of characters in this movie which have a big influence in the sequel, including Wong, Christine, and Baron Mordo. The relationship between Strange and Christine, which was a big plot point in the first movie, also continues to evolve and be looked back upon in Multiverse of Madness.

What to watch before Doctor Strange 2: Robert Downey Jr in Avengers Endgame

Avengers: Endgame (2019) and infinity war (2018)

The aftermath of Avengers: Endgame and Infinity War casts a shadow over the events of Doctor Strange 2. Although the Avengers ultimately ended up defeating Thanos, Strange is questioned several times throughout the movie about whether the lives that were loss in the process were preventable, or if it truly was the only way that things could have panned out. We also see other ways it could have panned out with Thanos in Earth-838.

Being absent for five years as part of The Blip also directly resulted in Wong taking over from Strange as Sorcerer Supreme, and those dynamics are explored more in-depth throughout this movie.

The events of these two films also directly influenced the events of Wandavision and, in turn, Wanda’s actions. It’s clear from the movie that she is still grieving Vision, who died during Infinity War. As her grief continued to spiral, she ended up creating children through magic and, after experiencing so much loss, is more determined than ever to ensure that she won’t lose anyone else she loves, which drives her to desperate actions.

What to watch before Doctor Strange 2: Peggy Carter in What If...? season 1

What If…? (2021)

Specifically, episode 4 and episode 1 of What If…? season 1 are useful to watch ahead of seeing Doctor Strange 2. Episode 4 of the anthology series focusses on Strange’s corruption, as he rips apart the universe and dabbles in dark magic after Christine dies in the car cash in this version of events.

We see multiple versions of Strange in this universe, which may well pop up again in Multiverse of Madness. It’s also arguable that this version of events is what actually happened to Sinister Strange, while Supreme Strange, who also makes an appearance in the movie, is actually present in this episode of What If…?

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Meanwhile, episode 1 of What If…? seems to explain the origins of how Peggy Carter in Earth-838 ended up becoming the super soldier rather than Steve Rogers.

What to watch before Doctor Strange 2: Tom Hiddleston in Loki

Loki (2021)

The stories and characters in Loki don’t really overlap with Doctor Strange 2, but the show helps to establish rules around time travel, the multiverse and timelines that come into play in the Multiverse of Madness. It also introduces us to the concept of variants, which with all the Doctor Stranges running around, definitely come in handy.

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What to watch before Doctor Strange 2: Tom Holland in Spider-Man No Way Home

Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)

Although the small problem of other universe’s Spider-Man villains seemed to be resolved by the end of this film, this movie helped to establish not only that the multiverse exists, but also that it is possible for members of one universe to travel to another.

It just so happens that the alternate universes in No Way Home were all owned by Sony. Given the problems that arose from Peter and Strange’s interference with these other realities, was this the MCU’s first incursion? Further to this, could it be the incursion Clea was referring to in the Doctor Strange 2 post-credit scene?

What to watch before Doctor Strange 2: The Darkhold in Agents of SHIELD

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (2013-2020)

Don’t panic, only season 4 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is relevant to Doctor Strange 2. The fourth season of the show is centred around the power, capabilities, and corruption of the Darkhold — and while no characters from the show cross over into Doctor Strange 2, and the plot from the fourth season isn’t really related, it helps to show us just how dangerous the Darkhold is, and shows that it has been knocking about in the MCU for a while now.

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 Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is available to watch at all major movie theatres as of May 5, 2022. If you want to see what we thought of it, check out our Doctor Strange 2 review!