Note: The following article, obviously, contains major spoilers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
For well over a decade now, the movies of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have taught us all to stay in our seats when the credits roll — and not just to pay respects to the people involved in making the movies.
In the early days of the MCU, its post-credit scenes would be fun gags or brief appearances from Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury planned to put together the Avengers. Since then, Marvel's post-credits scenes have evolved into truly can't-miss affairs, providing crucial teases and storytelling details for the movies to come.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is no exception, boasting two post-credits sequences — one of which has major plot implications, while the other is a fun gag to reward fans for their patience. Let's dig into them...
What happens in the Doctor Strange mid-credits scene?
It's a slightly jarring start for this scene, as the last thing audiences saw before the credits was Benedict Cumberbatch's Strange screaming in pain as a third eye appeared on his forehead — identical to what we had previously seen on the head of the malevolent Sinister Strange variant. This scene, though, begins with a normal-eyed Stephen walking down the streets of New York City wearing a very natty scarf.
He is interrupted by the arrival on the street of a purple-clad woman, played by none other than Charlize Theron. The character she's playing is Clea — in the comics, a future Sorcerer Supreme and the wife of Doctor Strange.
Clea does not seem pleased at all with Strange, who definitely doesn't recognise her. "You caused an incursion, and we're gonna fix it," she says. Incursions are a concept we were introduced to by the Illuminati earlier in the film. When two universes collide due to multiversal meddling, this causes an incursion, which threatens the continued existence of both of the colliding universes.
Clea opens a portal to a very trippy-looking world and invites Strange through, as long as he's not too scared to come along. He removes his scarf — which turns out to be his cloak — and accompanies her, after flashing us a glimpse of his newly sprouted third eye.
Read more: Explaining the multiverse in the MCU
The eye, incidentally, has a history in the comics too. It's a manifestation of the Eye of Agamotto, which Strange has always worn in a pendant around his neck and previously housed the Time Stone. It appears that the events of Multiverse of Madness — in which our version of Strange battled the three-eyed sinister variant — have allowed him to unlock the Eye, which has had various powers including showing truth, replaying recent events, seeing through disguises (including the shape-shifting Skrulls) and probing minds.
What happens in the Doctor Strange post-credits scene?
Fans who wait until the very end of the credits for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will be gifted by some fun slapstick from Bruce Campbell. The Evil Dead star appeared earlier in the film as a vendor of ball-shaped pizzas in one of the universes to which Strange and America Chavez travel in the movie.
He ends up having a confrontation with the heroes, which sees him squirted in the face with mustard and bewitched to continuously punch himself — a nice nod for Raimi devotees who remember Campbell's Ash scuffling violently with his own possessed hand in Evil Dead II. Strange jokes that the spell will eventually wear off.
Finally, a reason to see the movie! https://t.co/WIUt9qteKy
— Bruce Campbell (@GroovyBruce) May 4, 2022
That gag pays off in the end-credits sting, which returns to Campbell's character as he is still in full flow of the star's trademark slapstick. He eventually stops punching himself and stares directly down the lens of the camera to yell: "It's over".
At least he avoided the temptation to hack it off with a chainsaw this time.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is in UK cinemas now.
Watch: Trailer for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness