While Avengers: Endgame brought a fair amount of closure to some of the biggest plot threads and character arcs of the MCU, the film also left us with a whole load of loose ends, many of which will presumably be addressed in the Marvel franchise’s next phase or two.
For example, according to a new fan theory that’s been making the rounds lately, the various time travel missions that unfold in the movie’s middle stretch may have directly set up the events of the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
As you’ll likely recall, the so-called “Time Heist” conducted by Earth’s Mightiest Heroes led to the creation of several new realities, since each trip to New York, the S.H.I.E.L.D. headquarters, Asgard and Morag essentially caused another split in the timeline.
From here, the theory argues that these different branches of reality could form the titular “Multiverse” that Stephen Strange’s next film will address. As for the “Madness” part of the title, Endgame offers repeated hints that playing with the fabric of time could have dangerous consequences, suggesting that the Sorcerer Supreme may have a pretty big mess to clear up across these different timelines.
As ComicBook.com explains it:
Endgame created a minimum of five separate timelines as a direct result of events happening in the film, meaning the multiverse is already created and waiting for chaos to unfold. Using this theory, that would mean Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness wouldn’t be about a trip between dimensions or worlds — instead, it’d be about the Sorcerer Supreme traveling amongst timelines in hopes of ironing out the kinks so the multiple timelines don’t somehow manage to fold in on themselves.
Of course, this is all just speculation for the time being, though it’s not hard to imagine Strange’s second solo film taking this exact route. After all, surely Marvel hopes to do something with all these branches of reality (beyond the upcoming Loki show, that is), and this kind of world-hopping would be perfectly on brand for Benedict Cumberbatch’s character.
In any case, we’ll find out just how much the theory gets right when Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits theaters on May 7th, 2021.