Warning: The following article contains spoilers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, like its 2016 predecessor, Doctor Strange, introduces a few magical objects and concepts that make up the magical world of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. One of the objects introduced in the sequel is the Book of Vishanti. But what is the magical book and how does it fit into the plot?
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is directed by Sam Raimi and stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Stephen Strange, Benedict Wong as Wong, Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff and introduces Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez.
One of the major plot points of the film surrounds the Book of Vishanti, a magical book that serves as the counterpart to the evil Darkhold. The book — at least in the comics — was created by Agamotto, the all-powerful ancient Sorcerer Supreme, who transcribed the book after it was dictated by the Vishanti, three god-like sorcerers.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness centers around Wanda Maximoff’s quest to steal America Chavez’s powers so she can unite with her sons, Tommy and Billy, from Wandavision. Corrupted by her use of the Darkhold, Wanda attacks Kamar-Taj, where Doctor Strange and Wong are sheltering America Chavez. Once America and Doctor Strange disappear through a multiversal portal, Wanda uses the Darkhold to dream walk into a different universe’s Wanda.
As Scarlet Witch has grown too powerful for Doctor Strange and Wong to stop, Strange and America Chavez sought out the Book of Vishanti, which may have been the only item capable of defeating her. At the beginning of the film, America Chavez is within the Book of Vishanti’s grasp, alongside Defender Strange, only for him to die at the hands of one of the forces controlled by Wanda.
In Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the Book of Vishanti is located in the world between universes and neither Doctor Strange nor America Chavez knows how to get there. At first, Doctor Strange thought the book was a myth as the book grants the power to defeat any enemy. Once Wong confirmed the Book of Vishanti was real and after Wanda wiped out more than half of Kamar-Taj, the book was their last hope.
Once in the universe that contained the Illuminati, the pair found out that this universe’s Doctor Strange had built a gateway to the Book of Vishanti. Unfortunately, even though the pair, alongside Christine Palmer, managed to find themselves in the presence of the Book of Vishanti, Wanda caught up with them using her dream walking abilities from the Darkhold. Once Wanda saw that Strange was going to use the book to defeat her, she destroyed the book unused.
The Book of Vishanti in the comic books is different from its Marvel Cinematic Universe counterpart. The Book of Vishanti was first introduced in Strange Tales #116 and it was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in 1963. Doctor Strange had only been introduced in Strange Tales #110, earlier that year. In the comic books, the Book of Vishanti was a magical book used heavily in Doctor Strange’s publication history and was the book that contained spells that were extremely powerful and meant for defensive purposes only.
It is interesting that the Marvel Cinematic Universe decided to introduce the book as a magical book that could defeat any enemy. This would seemingly mean that the book would be used as an offensive spellbook, although that is never expressly mentioned in the film, in complete opposition to the book in the comics. The Book of Vishanti is also the second magical item to be altered in the MCU, with the first being the Eye of Agamotto.
In the comic books, the Eye of Agamotto was a magical talisman, but in Doctor Strange, it was revealed to contain the mind stone. Doctor Strange uses the Eye of Agamotto in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness so maybe now that the mind stone is destroyed, the Eye of Agamotto functions more like its comic book counterpart.
Introducing a MacGuffin like the Book of Vishanti and not using it seems like a missed opportunity, so don’t be surprised if somehow the book makes a return. As for Doctor Strange, he’ll probably return soon for some more multiversal adventures.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is in theaters now.