‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ fan theory suggests Wanda tricks Stephen with an illusion when they meet up

Following the weekend release of a new trailer and TV spot for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the fandom is dissecting every seemingly innocuous frame of new footage. The latest effort points to Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff possibly tricking Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Stephen Strange.

Reddit user u/LongjumpingTrainer38 on the r/MarvelStudios subreddit put together side-by-side images from different parts of the trailer to conclude, in their words, “It was an illusion 😱.”

At first, the images might seem merely to depict separate, if similarly-composed, scenes; one pair of images features an idyllic forest, while the other presents a crimson hellscape. But both sets of images share the exact same reverse over-the-shoulder shot, a camera placement type used to capture dialogue between two characters.

Moreover, when you look closely at Stephen in the crimson hellscape, he is sporting the identical outfit he wears in the bright forest; a civilian’s overcoat, scarf, and button-up shirt. This through-line, along with the actors’ similar blocking, is enough evidence to suggest that Wanda has put some kind of hex on Stephen at first.

In the bright, forested setting, presumed to be the locale of Wanda’s secluded Sokovia cabin, following the events that unfolded in Westview in the Disney Plus series WandaVision, Wanda wears plain civilian clothes, including a plaid shirt. However, when we see her in the crimson hellscape, she is sporting her full-blown Scarlet Witch uniform.

Since Wanda was studying a powerful book called the Darkhold at the end of WandaVision, it may be safe to assume she has advanced further in her use of Chaos Magic. And since Stephen might look down upon Wanda’s meddling with the dark arts, she may have been motivated to hide this from him. Her powers may have also transformed the bright forest into a hellish landscape. But that’s just our speculation.

Alternatively, another user on Reddit posited the compelling theory that these could be two different scenes playing out in different multiverse dimensions simultaneously.

The possibilities seem endless, now that the multiverse has opened up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But one thing is clear; we’re likely getting zombie versions of both Stephen and Wanda in the Sam Raimi-directed super hero sequel.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness comes the theaters May 6.