Charlize Theron was already a comic book movie star but now with the debut of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, she joins the most successful comic book movie franchise to date — the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With the film premiering last week, Theron has presumably been cleared by the famously secretive Marvel Studios to share images of her character online, and we’ve got them here for you to check out. Be warned — SPOILERS follow for Doctor Strange 2, so if you don’t want them, head for the hills now!
On her Instagram account, Charlize Theron posted a close-up image of herself in makeup as Clea, followed by a production photo of her and Benedict Cumberbatch in costume. As you know if you saw Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and stayed for the mid-credits scene, Charlize Theron waits until then to make her cameo as the powerful sorceress Clea. She appears before Cumberbatch’s Marvel hero, telling him that his actions caused an incursion in her home and that he needs to help her fix the problem. She opens a portal to what looks like the Dark Dimension — i.e. the home of Dormammu in the first Doctor Strange film (more on that in a moment) — and after displaying his newly acquired third eye, Strange follows her through. You can see the images Theron posted from the shoot below.
First appearing in 1964’s Strange Tales #126, The character Charlize Theron plays has a complex history with Doctor Strange. Over the nearly 60 years of the character’s publication history, Clea has been Doctor Strange’s lover, his enemy, and his apprentice. While Strange and Clea are technically married in the comics, their paths rarely cross anymore with both wrestling unimaginable responsibilities in their respective dimensions. In the source material, Clea is often used as a hostage against Strange by enemies like Umar and Dormammu — particularly in her early appearances — but from what little we see of Theron’s characterization in the Doctor Strange 2 mid-credits scene, her version will be no damsel in distress.
While the home Charlize Theron mentions is never specifically referenced as the Dark Dimension, it almost certainly is. Not only does it look very much like the place that appears in 2016’s Doctor Strange, but Clea’s history is tied to it. In the comics, Clea is the niece of Dormammu — the same powerful enemy Strange bargains with in the first film. Considering Strange’s history with Dormammu, it’s interesting Clea is going to Strange for help. It could be that — as has sometimes occurred in the source material — something has happened to Dormammu and Clea now rules the Dark Dimension.
Charlize Theron is pretty much a comic book movie veteran at this point. Clea may be her first Marvel character, but her 2020 Netflix original The Old Guard was based on a comic book mini-series by the same name and her 2017 action thriller Atomic Blonde was based on the 2012 graphic novel The Coldest City. Along with playing comic book characters, she’s on board to produce a live-action origin story for the DC Comics sidekick Aqualad.