At long last, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is out. Millions of MCU fans are rushing to theaters to see one of the most anticipated Marvel movies of Phase 4. The hype for Doctor Strange 2 has almost matched the frenzy that preceded Spider-Man: No Way Home. Both are multiverse movies featuring Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). Although No Way Home rumors certainly rose past Multiverse of Madness when it comes to cameo confirmations. And those were some exciting cameos for the latest Spider-Man installment.
But now that Doctor Strange 2 is out, we finally get answers to some of our most pressing questions after No Way Home. After months of speculation, we finally know how Peter Parker (Tom Holland) fits into the MCU following the multiverse events he was involved in. Before we explain, I will remind you that multiverse spoilers follow below. You should avoid them until you’ve seen both MCU movies.
The latest Spider-Man is easily one of the best live-action Peter Parker adventures so far. It’s certainly the most exciting MCU Spider-Man. But the movie is not perfect, as it has some plot issues we’ve come to expect from Sony’s Spider-Man movie.
What does the world know about Spider-Man after No Way Home?
Most of them are multiverse-related, considering that No Way Home connects the SSU to the MCU. Unlike Marvel’s world, Sony never planned to make a cohesive SSU until recently. That means it’s harder to ensure that Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield’s realities respect the MCU multiverse rules completely. We’ve already explained the plot issues in great detail over here.
Plot holes aside, fans had massive questions about how the MCU would handle the world forgetting who Peter Parker is. As a reminder, Peter gives up everything at the end of No Way Home. Doctor Strange performs a clean spell that has everyone forgetting who he is. Strange included.
We didn’t necessarily expect Multiverse of Madness to provide Spider-Man answers, although some wild rumors did say we’ll have Peter Parker variants in Doctor Strange 2.
But only a few lines of dialogue between Strange, Wong (Benedict Wong), and America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) are enough to make everything clear. Now’s another chance to avoid major spoilers, by the way.
Once No Way Home ended, Spider-Man fans wondered what happened to the evidence the world had about Peter Parker. It’s not just memories that the Avengers had of Peter’s identity.
Is Spider-Man in Doctor Strange 2?
It’s newspaper articles and digital recordings of Peter Parker. At the time, we explained that the answer must be straightforward. The spell erased any type of remembrance. Whether it’s a memory, a paper clipping, or a video record.
We also explained that the Avengers forgetting who Spider-Man is doesn’t change the past. He was part of their lives and all the big battles since Civil War. Peter was there on team Iron Man. He was on Titan fighting Thanos (Josh Brolin). And then he returned to Earth in Endgame. The only difference is that the Avengers do not remember knowing him. Doctor Strange’s spell didn’t change the past.
That was speculation after No Way Home. But it is now MCU canon. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness makes it so. And it starts with the Doctor Strange 2 clip in this Benedict Wong interview with Jimmy Fallon.
That’s where we see Strange, Wong, and America having pizza in a restaurant right after that battle against Gargantos. Strange explains to Chavez that Spider-Man has the powers of a spider in what turns out to be a hilarious exchange. She thinks it’s “gross” and wonders whether he shoots spiderwebs out of his butt.
Wong and Strange say he’s not doing that. That’s when the doctor admits that he didn’t know. But he hopes that’s not the case.
All of this tells us the Avengers know Spider-Man exists. They know what he can do. They just don’t remember meeting him.
It gets even better. If you haven’t seen the movie, now is the time when you should really leave, as more spoilers follow below.
The Avengers connection
Strange and Wong end up talking about Spider-Man potentially shooting spiderwebs out of his butt because America asks them about their experience with the multiverse. You can tell immediately that the two sorcerers don’t have that much experience from the way Strange answers.
“We have experience with the multiverse,” Strange begins. “Most recently, there was an incident with Spider-Man…” before Chavez interrupts him to ask about the Spider-Man.
Just like that, Multiverse of Madness tells us the MCU superheroes saw the No Way Home events happen just as the audience did. It was a Spider-Man-related multiverse incident, and Doctor Strange was there. The only thing the world doesn’t remember is Peter’s identity.
Doctor Strange and Wong do not discuss the Spider-Man incident in more detail. But soon after this scene, Strange realizes he has to ask Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) to help. We know from the trailers that he wants an Avenger’s help for this serious multiverse issue.
When Wanda tells him there are other Avengers, Strange says he wants her. Given a choice between “the archer with the mohawk and several bug-themed crime fighters or one of the most powerful magic wielders on the planet, it’s an easy call,” he says.
Stephen just confirmed that the Avengers are very much a thing. He just mentioned Hawkeye, Spider-Man, and Ant-Man. It’s bug-themed crime fighters. Plural.
We speculated that the Avengers might have to re-recruit Spider-Man before, assuming they forgot he joined their ranks. But Doctor Strange 2 just told us that Spider-Man is still an Avenger, despite the events in No Way Home.
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