Tilda Swinton hasn’t been announced as part of the cast for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, meaning we may have seen the last of the Ancient One in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Of course, there’s every chance she might show up for a brief cameo given the premise of the Sorcerer Supreme’s sequel, but perhaps the resurgent scrutiny surrounding her initial casting may have informed Kevin Feige’s ultimate decision.
Either way, in some classic MCU retrospective foreshadowing, it looks as though the events of Loki‘s Season 1 finale could have been hinted at by the ancient one five years ago in the first Doctor Strange, lending even more weight to her words now that we know the upcoming sequel is dealing directly with the fallout from Sylvie killing He Who Remains.
It was revealed in Doctor Strange that the Ancient One had been using the Time Stone to meet her own ends, something that went against the core beliefs of Kamar-Taj’s residents. However, the final episode of Loki has now painted her comments in an entirely different light. In explaining her actions, the Ancient One said that she’d “spent so many years peering through time looking at this exact moment, but I can’t see past it. I’ve prevented countless terrible futures, and after each one there’s always another”.
That ties directly to Kang the Conqueror’s monologue in Loki, where he paints the multiverse in broad strokes before reaching a point where he can no longer predict what’s going to happen, which to him is as exciting as it is terrifying. Both He Who Remains and the Ancient One were doing what they believed was the wrong thing for the right reason, and Doctor Strange potentially set the stage for the multiverse almost half a decade ago.