We often get early notices from our trusted and proven sources about upcoming huge scoops in pop culture. As such, we reported some time ago that Academy Award-winning actor Charlize Theron would soon be appearing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but we did not yet have an idea of how and who she would be playing. We are now pleased to be able to give some confirmation and clarification about that, but we are obligated to say THIS IS A SPOILER. IF YOU DO NOT WANT A MARVEL MOVIE SPOILED FOR YOU BY KNOWING INFORMATION PRIOR TO WATCHING IT, PLEASE READ A DIFFERENT, FINE ARTICLE FROM GIANT FREAKIN ROBOT.
Okay, now that we have that out of the way, here it is: Charlize Theron is playing Clea in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. While we initially hypothesized that the Fast and Furious star might be playing Sue Storm aka The Invisible Woman of The Fantastic Four, it turns out that she is playing Doctor Stephen Strange’s longtime extradimensional ally and sometime love interest. In the movie, Clea appears in one of the end-credits scenes, literally cutting through the fabric of the multiverse with a big sword. She informs Benedict Cumberbatch’s Strange that the various antics that he and America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) have performed through the course of the film have caused an “incursion.” Apparently, an incursion is a catastrophic event that can destroy whole universes, so it is probably not a good thing that Strange is now in this pickle.
Since the movie pretty much ends there, we do not yet know whether Charlize Theron’s Clea is there to help Doctor Strange, ask for his help, or try to murder him. It seems most likely that Clea will end up allying with Strange at some point, either in the definitely-going-to-happen Doctor Strange 3 or in some upcoming MCU film. It is definitely an appearance expertly timed to leave audiences wanting more information about who and what Clea is.
In Marvel Comics, the character now confirmed to be played by Charlize Theron is a staple of Doctor Strange comics and of the more magical side of Universe-616 in general. She first appeared in Strange Tales issue #126 in 1964, and has variously been the student, lover, and eventual spouse of Strange. While Clea appears human, she is actually an other-dimensional energy being. She is the daughter of Umar, another other-dimensional being that frequently comes into conflict with Doctor Strange, and the niece of The Dread Dormammu. While Umar has yet to appear in the MCU, Dormammu was the Big Bad of the first Doctor Strange movie and just barely beaten by Strange via some time manipulation.
It will have to remain to be seen whether the MCU maintains that origin story for Charlize Theron’s version of Clea, or changes it up. She undoubtedly will be an important part of further Doctor Strange adventures, as you do not bring a star the magnitude of Charlize Theron on board just for a quick cameo. Maybe Marvel Studios is setting up the next Sorcerer Supreme, but we will just have to wait and see.