The first MCU movie of 2022 is about to launch in theaters, and it couldn’t be bigger. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is set to blow the doors to the Marvel multiverse wide open, as the titular (not-quite) Sorcerer Supreme and his team of allies — including Scarlet Witch, Wong, and America Chavez — traverse alternate realities.
Stephen Strange has come a long way since his early days as a douche-y doctor. In fact, with his evolution from nerve-damaged neurosurgeon to super-powerful spell-caster, Strange has arguably had one of the most transformative character arcs across the whole MCU. Ahead of his second solo movie’s imminent arrival, now is the perfect time to recap every MCU appearance Benedict Cumberbatch has made as the hero to date.
Doctor Strange (2016)
Stephen Strange first made his mark on the MCU in his self-titled origin movie, which introduced us to the brilliant neurosurgeon who lost the use of his hands after a car accident. Determined to get his life back, Strange journeyed to Kamar-Taj in Tibet and became a Master of the Mystic Arts to heal himself. By the end of the movie, Strange had found a bigger purpose beyond his own needs and had sworn to protect Earth from supernatural and interdimensional threats.
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
Doctor Strange‘s post-credits scene teased the good doctor’s next appearance by showcasing him meeting Chris Hemsworth’s Thor. We got to see this encounter in context in the following year’s Thor: Ragnarok. Strange summons the God of Thunder to his Sanctum Sanctorum to admonish the Asgardian for letting his brother, Loki, walk free around New York. Strange then aids the brothers in locating their father, Odin.
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Strange returned in a much bigger capacity in Avengers: Infinity War, which saw him team up with Iron Man, Spider-Man, and the Guardians of the Galaxy in the battle against Thanos, which took them to the despot’s homeworld of Titan. Strange memorably looked into the future to view the billions of potential timelines, with only one ending in the Avengers winning. He was turned to dust along with half the universe when Thanos used the Infinity Gauntlet.
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
Once the surviving heroes brought everyone back with the Infinity Stones, the resurrected Strange took part in the climactic third act of Avengers: Endgame. A brief gesture he made to Tony Stark on the battlefield was the inspiration Iron Man needed to sacrifice himself, as he understood that this was the timeline the sorcerer had previously foreseen. Strange went on to attend Stark’s funeral.
What If…? (2021)
Marvel’s animated What If…? series introduced a variant of Strange (also played by Cumberbatch). In another reality, Strange’s car crash took the life of his girlfriend Christine Palmer, not the use of his hands. Driven by the desire to reverse her death, he likewise became a Master of the Mystic Arts, but his quest for power and knowledge couldn’t be quenched and he ultimately destroyed his universe. The so-called Doctor Strange Supreme later redeemed himself by helping the Guardians of the Multiverse stop Infinity Ultron. A live-action version of this character looks to be appearing in Doctor Strange 2.
Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
The OG Strange came back in Spider-Man: No Way Home, with the magic man performing a spell to remove the public’s awareness of Peter Parker’s secret identity. Unfortunately, the spell went awry and ended up bringing those from across the multiverse who knew Peter’s secret into the MCU universe. In order to fix things, Strange reluctantly performed a second spell to erase all memories of Peter from the world. The damage the first spell caused is likely to be at least one reason behind the multiverse being in danger in Doctor Strange 2.
Don’t miss the next leg of Stephen’s MCU journey when Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits theaters on May 6.