Strange's existence, it turns out, has room for another woman in the MCU. (This story contains MAJOR MAJOR SPOILERS!)
Last Updated: 03.18 AM, May 08, 2022
Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), a former prodigy neurosurgeon turned master of magical powers, has only had eyes for one person for as long as he's been in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Dr. Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams). In the sequel, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, he spends a significant amount of time coming to terms with the fact that he and Christine were never meant to be together, in any universe.
It turns out that there's room in Strange's existence for another woman in the MCU. Charlize Theron is playing her!
We see Strange walking down a Manhattan street in the post-credits scene of Multiverse of Madness, or, technically, the mid-credits scene when a white-haired, purple-costumed Theron yells out his name. She informs Strange that his universe-hopping antics have resulted in an "incursion" between universes, which could break the multiverse apart, as we've already been warned. Then she cuts into the fabric of reality with an energy blade, revealing the Dark Dimension, as shown in the original Doctor Strange film. She invites Strange to help her resolve the issue. Strange agrees as his third eye opens. The scene is over!
Theron's character is never introduced, but readers of comic books and sharp observers of the Multiverse of Madness end credits know her name is Clea. Clea is a sorceress from the Dark Dimension, like Strange. She has a long and tangled relationship with the frightening dictator, Dormammu, in the Marvel comics. Her mother is his sister, and, for starters, she and Strange eventually marry in an unusual inter-dimensional marriage.
It's unknown how much of Clea's comic book history will make it into the MCU's narrative, and she's certainly not a major figure in the Marvel comics universe. Between the Fast & Furious films, 2020's The Old Guard, 2017's Atomic Blonde, and especially 2015's Mad Max: Fury Road, she is now depicted by an action movie legend. Theron is a star, not a sidekick, and Marvel Studios would not recruit an actor of her stature and talent unless they had major plans for her.
It's no wonder that Disney and Marvel are keeping quiet about Clea and Theron. At the very least, we can anticipate Cumberbatch and Theron starring in the third Doctor Strange movie, which will most likely arrive considerably sooner than the six-year gap between the first and second films. But, like Cumberbatch's Strange in the last two Avengers films and Spider-Man: No Way Home, how much should audiences expect Clea and Theron to become entwined with the rest of the MCU?