Multiverse of Madness Made Doctor Strange’s Scrapped Villain More Exciting

admin2021January 7, 2023

Despite replacing him with Scarlet Witch, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness teased Nightmare’s multiversal powers for a future sequel.

After Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness didn’t feature Nightmare, the original villain for the Doctor Strange sequel, he can still arrive as an even more powerful antagonist in a future MCU movie. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness included two important Doctor Strange villains, Baron Mordo and Shuma-Gorath (a.k.a. Gargantos), but neither were the Master of the Mystic Arts’ main threat in the movie. Instead, it was Scarlet Witch who put the entire multiverse in peril, as she went from beloved Avenger to unhinged interdimensional villain.


Before Sam Raimi took over directorial duties, original Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson was set to helm Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Scott Derrickson’s initial plans for Doctor Strange 2 had a more Lovecraftian tone, did not focus so much on multiversal variants, and featured Nightmare as a villain — perhaps even as the main antagonist. In the end, Nightmare was cut entirely from the script, but Sam Raimi’s version of the film not only set up Nightmare’s eventual debut but also teased how incredibly powerful he could be when the MCU does decide to introduce him.

Related: Marvel Teases Love & Thunder’s Cut Doctor Strange 2 Connection

Multiverse Of Madness Sets Up The MCU’s Nightmare

Scarlet Witch and Nightmare in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness establishes that dreams are gateways to alternate universes. Sinister Strange and Scarlet Witch were able to turn this into a weapon called “Dreamwalking,” with the evil Strange killing multiple Doctor Strange variants by pushing them to their deaths and Scarlet Witch using her variant’s body to massacre the Illuminati and capture America Chavez. Given that Nightmare’s abilities are based entirely around dreams and the unconscious mind, a future MCU release could go down a similar route and introduce Nightmare the Fear Lord as a powerful multiversal villain.

Nightmare Could Be More Dangerous Than Scarlet Witch

Scarlet Witch, Stephen Strange, and Nightmare in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

While Scarlet Witch weaponized Dreamwalking to wreak havoc in a different universe, her access to the multiverse was only a means to an end. Wanda’s main goal was retrieving her children from another reality, and killing heroes like universe 838’s Illuminati was only necessary as they stood in her way. On the other hand, Nightmare’s main goals usually focus first and foremost on invading other universes and merging them with his Nightmare realm. Unlike Scarlet Witch and Sinister Strange, Nightmare could get easy access to all realities simply through people’s dreams without the need to use the Darkhold, which didn’t survive Doctor Strange 2.

Nightmare could also be more dangerous than Dormammu himself, as he may not need to brainwash wizards into becoming his loyal followers. The only thing Nightmare may need in order to achieve what Dormammu couldn’t may be an unstable multiverse, which already exists since the beginning of Phase 4. In Marvel Comics, Nightmare is a primordial entity like Thor: Love and Thunder‘s Eternity and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings‘ Dweller-In-Darkness. Since Phase 4 already introduced them as well — and with Werewolf By Night debuting the Nexus of All Realities’ guardian Man-Thing — Nightmare now counts with many possible ways to begin his multiversal conquest in the MCU.

How Nightmare Can Fit The MCU Multiverse

Nightmare and the Avengers in the MCU

While Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness makes Nightmare’s MCU debut possible in the near future, there may not be enough space for him in the Multiverse Saga. Jonathan Majors’ Kang the Conqueror is already set to be the main villain in the Multiverse Saga, and releases like Loki and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania already placed plenty of focus on solidifying his power and ambition. Introducing Nightmare simultaneously could distract from Kang’s MCU journey, much more so in such crowded movies like Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars. Considering their multiversal goals, Kang’s multiple MCU appearances throughout the franchise would probably overshadow Nightmare anyway.

Related: Forming A New Illuminati Might Be Doctor Strange’s Best Hope To Beat Kang

Doctor Strange 3 may not arrive until after Avengers: Secret Wars, so Doctor Strange and Clea’s quest to fix multiversal incursions will likely skip Nightmare’s involvement, at least until Kang the Conqueror is stopped. However, Nightmare could continue to be teased in other projects. For instance, Ironheart‘s magical villain The Hood could provide some insight into supernatural entities such as Mephisto, Dormammu, and Nightmare himself. Agatha: Coven of Chaos could expand Agatha Harkness’ history to reveal a possible connection with the Fear Lord. It may take a long while after the release of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but Nightmare’s MCU debut could well be worth it.

More: All 8 Upcoming MCU Movies & Shows Scarlet Witch Could Return In

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