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Doctor Strange 2: 8 Biggest MCU Retcons

The multiverse is truly baffling in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, where the Marvel Cinematic Universe establishes new branches of continuity. The protagonist and America Chavez’s travels into places like Earth-838 have developed a retroactive continuity, where events from previous movies and TV shows have been adjusted to fit a new narrative.

Whether it has to do with the actions of the Time Variance Authority in Loki or the multiversal adventure of multiple Spider-Men, Doctor Strange 2 has retconned quite a bit for fans to accept as true pieces of canonical facts. Since these have a far-reaching impact on the MCU, they need to be analyzed in greater detail.


Christine Didn’t Truly Love Stephen

Rachel McAdams as Christine Palmer in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

A very big plot point in What If…? – which features the same romantic history between Christine and Stephen as the Sacred Timeline – was that they were genuinely in love, with the latter destroying his universe just to bring her back to life. Doctor Strange 2 retconned this when Christine revealed to Stephen that she could never truly love him.

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This clashed with her actions in the first movie where she was devoted to Stephen even after they were broken up. The idea that she never actually loved Stephen also contrasts with the premise of What If…? to make it appear that that version of Doctor Strange similarly didn’t have Christine’s love after all and just acted of his own accord.

It’s Possible For Only One Variant Of A Character To Exist

America Chavez running on a street in Doctor Strange 2

It was established in Doctor Strange 2 that there’s only one America Chavez in the multiverse, which is hard to believe since there are some great America Chavez stories in Marvel Comics that are also part of the multiverse. Regardless, taking America’s claim as fact retcons the points established in Loki and Spider-Man: No Way Home.

The earlier MCU works had characters state that there’s a variant for every person in the multiverse, with several versions of Peter Parker and Loki shown to prove it. Now, America’s presence as the only one in existence across the multiverse has created a new canon where it’s possible for a unique individual to come into being.

The Scarlet Witch And Wanda Maximoff Identities Can’t Coexist Peacefully

Scarlet Witch meditating in Doctor Strange 2

There have been plenty of times where MCU’s Scarlet Witch hasn’t controlled her powers, with the basis of WandaVision centering around this. In the same series, it was established that Wanda was supposed to be the Scarlet Witch all along independent of the Darkhold.

In Doctor Strange 2, however, it was revealed that the Darkhold had corrupted the Scarlet Witch persona, meaning Wanda couldn’t exist with her magical identity after all. Those that believed she would be the Scarlet Witch based on WandaVision now have to accept that this former fact doesn’t apply anymore.

Karl Mordo Has Already Clashed Against Doctor Strange

Karl Mordo talking to Doctor Strange in Multiverse of Madness

A lot of fans wanted to see Karl Mordo fight against Doctor Strange because the setup was in the making for six years since the first movie. Not only did the MCU Karl Mordo not make an appearance, but Doctor Strange claimed that he already knew of Mordo’s villainy.

RELATED: 10 Best Loki Comics Characters Not In The MCU

In the original, Doctor Strange had no clue of Mordo’s dark turn, meaning that the MCU has retconned an antagonism between the two of them that happened offscreen. Fans now have to believe that the two former friends have already clashed and fought, which is why Doctor Strange was aware that the Earth-838 Mordo was also a villain.

Multiversal Travel Has Been Possible All Along

America Chavez, Wong, and Doctor Strange looking behind

Previously, multiversal events had happened purely by accident such as Doctor Strange’s botched spell in Spider-Man: No Way Home – places like the Quantum Realm were considered parallel dimensions rather than the multiverse. Doctor Strange 2 could go down as among the best multiverse movies to be made, although have to accept some facts at face value.

This includes the reveal that America Chavez has been capable of multiversal travel for years, something that retcons the events of LokiIn the Disney+ series, only the TVA was aware of how this worked and worked to prune any new universes from being born. Doctor Strange 2 now makes it canon that multiversal travel has been possible the whole time and the TVA might not have known about this. 

Nightmares And Dreams Are Projections Of The Multiverse

Scarlet Witch reading the Darkhold in WandaVision

There have been several times where the dreams of MCU characters have been shown or alluded to, such as Tony Stark’s claims that he had nightmares of Thanos’ arrival. Doctor Strange 2 retconned dreams into being projections of the multiverse, meaning that people don’t actually dream at all.

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America claimed that anything a person sees in their dream is happening to a variant of theirs in the multiverse – it would suggest that Tony’s nightmares were about what happened to another version of him. This retcon also changes the perspective of any dream mentioned in the MCU because it turns out those things actually happened.

The Designation Of The MCU’s Numbering

Doctor Strange, America Chavez, and Christine Palmer in a tunnel

Among the biggest ways that Doctor Strange 2 has drastically changed the MCU is how it’s designated. According to Earth-838 Christine Palmer, the identity of the MCU is Earth-616, which goes against the previously established designation of Earth-199999.

In fact, this retcon has major ramifications for the Marvel Universe in its entirety because Earth-616 is supposed to be the prime reality of the comics ergo the source material. The new designation of the MCU will no doubt open many debates on what the real Earth-616 is, but the films appear to want to establish this identity for themselves.

There Was More Than One Way To Defeat Thanos

Doctor Strange and Thanos fighting on Titan in Avengers Infinity War

Doctor Strange looked into over 14 million possibilities of how the conflict against Thanos would play out, suggesting that only one scenario is where they were victorious. However, Earth-838 also had the exact same problem, with the characters there managing to kill Thanos without triggering the Snap.

While fans were originally led to believe that the Snap had to happen, Doctor Strange 2 shows that more drastic alternatives like Earth-838’s Illuminati’s use of the Book of Vishanti would have defeated the Mad Titan as well. It appears that the 1 in 14 million odds wasn’t quite as concrete after all, at least according to the retcon.

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