Doctor Strange 2 Writer Admits They Don’t Know How One Important Plot Detail Works

By Michileen Martin | 12 seconds ago

doctor strange 2

The Marvel Cinematic Universe is 14 years old and spans literally dozens of movies; not to mention its relatively new crop of live-action and animated TV series. Every now and then, some tiny detail is destined to fall through the cracks and Doctor Strange 2 — aka Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness — has proven to be no exception. In a recent interview Doctor Strange 2 writer Michael Waldron was asked about what seems like a bit of a contradiction and, uncharacteristically for MCU architects, he admits he has no idea how to explain it. Warning! SPOILERS for Doctor Strange 2 are on the way! If you don’t want them, go away now, or you don’t get to blame anyone but yourself!

In a Rolling Stone interview published earlier this week, the Doctor Strange 2 scribe was asked about what seems like a contradiction — or, at the very least, an unbelievable coincidence — in the movie. Rolling Stone’s Brian Hiatt points out that in 2019’s Spider-Man: Far from Home, Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal) claims that the prime MCU universe carries the designation “616” in his home universe. Of course, by the end of Far from Home, we learn Beck is lying about being from another universe. And yet in Doctor Strange 2 the prime MCU universe is once again called “616,” this time by someone — a variant of Rachel McAdams’ Dr. Christine Palmer — who actually is from another universe. How does Michael Waldron explain that? “I guess it begs the question, What did Quentin know?” Waldron said. “He was a smart guy. Um, is it just a coincidence? That’s… I don’t know.”

jake gyllenhaal
Jake Gyllenhaal as Mysterio in Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019)

Rolling Stone’s Hiatt is actually clever enough to offer his own explanation. Since we learn in Doctor Strange 2 that dreams are windows into other universes, Hiatt suggests that before the events of Spider-Man: Far from Home, Beck heard the prime MCU referred to as “616” in a dream. Waldron gratefully accepts Hiatt’s explanation, saying, “There you go!”

The 616 question isn’t the only head-scratcher about Doctor Strange 2. Fairly early in the film — right after Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Wong (Benedict Wong) save America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) from the tentacled, cyclopean Shuma-Gorath — they briefly mention the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home. As The Direct points out, on one hand this clarifies some questions about the spell Strange casts at the end of that film. We now know Strange and others can apparently remember Spider-Man; they just can’t remember Peter Parker. However that does beg the question of exactly how Strange and Wong can remember No Way Home‘s events or that they have anything to do with the multiverse, considering it’s all directly tied to Spidey’s alter-ego. It would be like saying they remember the events of Avengers: Infinity War but have no idea who Thanos is.

By the way, in his Rolling Stone interview Michael Waldron notes something interesting about the — ultimately untrue — rumors that Tom Cruise would play a variant Iron Man in Doctor Strange 2. Waldron says he actually approached Kevin Feige with the notion of making it happen, but only after the online rumors gave him the idea. Unfortunately, he doesn’t seem to know of any real attempt to reach out to Cruise, understandably because the actor is busy making the last two Mission: Impossible movies.