Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness opened up the doors to countless other universes behind stephen strange and America Chávez. With Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff becoming more dangerous than ever and threatening everything that exists in the prime MCU, the master magicians had to lean on America’s knowledge of other universes to save their own.
While there was plenty of material from outside Earth-616 that was left on the table, the sequel’s fast-paced runtime fans on a wild ride through other versions of Earth. Most of the film focused on Earth-838, which housed an all-star Illuminati team with incredible characters like Hayley Atwell’s Captain CarterJohn Krasinski’s Reed Richards, and Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier.
With only two hours and six minutes of action to showcase everything the Multiverse had to offer, there wasn’t ample time to explore many other worlds outside of the two that were featured the most.
However, there was one sequence in the early part of the story that showed fans just a glimpse of how big the MCU’s Multiverse truly was as America’s powers were first put on display. Now, a new report has shed even more light on exactly what viewers saw at that moment before landing on an alternate New York rooftop.
Doctor Strange 2’s Alternate Universes Named
In an interview with befores & afters, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness visual effects supervisor Alexis Wajsbrot explained the more than a dozen realities that appeared during an early sequence jumping through universes with Doctor Strange and America Chavez.
1.) The Living Tribunal Statue World was always the first one that the team wanted to visit after leaving Kamar-Taj, featuring huge heads reminiscent of the Living Tribunals from Marvel comics.
“We wanted to start in Kamar-Taj so there was always going to be some kind of a view of Kamar-Taj that was very telescopic. We created a concept very early on, that was back on the first version, which was called Giant Temple world or Giant Indian statue world. And at some point, it was changed to the Living Tribunal state world, which is a world that actually exists in the Marvel comics.”
2.) One world that almost didn’t make it was the Onslaught Canyon Worldwhich paid tribute in a way to the movie 127 Hours:
“At some point this world was almost dropped because it was a bit reminiscent of the Grand Canyon shots in Spider-Man: No Way Home. This one is now a bit more like the movie 127 Hours with James Franco.”
3.) Strange and Chavez pass through a world made entirely of honeycombs, which also included giant bees flying around the pair. Honeycomb World was a challenge for the team with regard to avoiding it being boring, which led them to “putting in some water…for the transition” so it worked better alongside the universes that followed:
“At some point our line producer said, ‘Oh, what about Honeycomb world?’ We all said, ‘Hey, that’s cool. Let’s do a concept of Honeycomb World.’ And everyone loved it. In the last three weeks we started feeling, ‘What does this world need?’ As artists, we were like, ‘It’s boring, we need to bring some life.’ We then thought if something lives in Honeycomb World, it must be giant bees. So, we started to populate giant bees. We ended up putting in some water as well for the transition to work better with the next one when we are underwater.”
4.) The mirror world transitioned from being something of a machine world to more of a glass one, which became tough to do due to having to flesh out the insides of every structure used:
“Animator Mike Brunet pitched the idea of a machine world. Which became a glass world, which ended up being slightly more economical, since for glass world, of course, you have to build the inside of every building.”
5.) From the start of production, the team wanted to include Cube World, which was shown in the trailers as Strange’s face appeared to separate into small individual boxes. The sizes of the cubes changed numerous times throughout development, specifically to avoid making the moment look “too gory:”
“That was one we added from the very beginning – a world where suddenly they all transformed into cubes. It was very technical to make the hair attach to the cubes and to slice it while it was still animating. We did lots of different versions of how we would cubify things. First, we were emitting small cubes and we sliced Strange, but that was too gory, so we changed the approach.”
6.) Paint World was described as “a big simulation for the characters” with “some simulation for the background as well,” and it made for one of the funnier moments in the film, as America Chavez told Strange “you don’t wanna get stuck in there.”
7.) While Comic Book World was seen by many viewers as a nod to the animated MCU show What If…?, it was more intended to be a tribute to comics as a whole. To do this, the team used much more vibrant colors and more emphasis on “the shadows and the lines” of each character and building.
“Interestingly, this was never supposed to be a What If…? Easter egg. It was always supposed to be a comic book Easter egg. That’s why the design of the Comic Book World is very different to What If…?, which is a lot more stylized. This is a lot more about taking influence from some of the comic books. If you read some Spider-Man comic books or Doctor Strange you’ll see the colors are very vibrant, so this world was always supposed to be this way. There is a lot of compositing of DMP of some of the shadows and the lines and all of that because that was the best way to do this world.”
8.) Strange and Chavez also found themselves in Post Apocalyptic Worldwhich showed what would have happened in The Avengers if the team “lost and…New York (had) been completely crushed.”
9.) Underwater World had the tough task of showing America’s face in a close-up shot, along with having to stimulate what the Cloak of Levitation would be doing in the water:
“For Underwater World, we go from real-time to slow-mo, and we go underwater! We had to go close-up on America’s face, and we had to simulate that cloak. It was really challenging.”
10.) With New York, the team decided to make the transition from Underwater World much more impactful by having a few fish fly into the windscreen and into the streets. This was actually done quite late into production, and it even included an Easter egg from director Sam Raimi in the visuals:
“In this world there was no crowd and no cars for a long time, and then in the last three weeks we said, ‘Well, what can we do to bring life?’ So, we added the fish coming from Underwater World which fall onto cars and the road. That’s an idea from Janek to make sure that the fishes fall into the windscreen onto New York. The fish falling into the windscreen were done in the last two weeks of production. We also added cars with people in the cars and crowd, that was very, very late in the day. There’s an Eastern egg here from Sam Raimi and Bob Murawski, the editor, they have this company Grindhouse Releasing, which is on one of the taxis.”
11.) Spider-Man: Far From Home made its mark on the Doctor Strange sequel with Pipe World, which featured the Stark Tech drones flying around the streets:
“An Easter egg here are the drones from Spider-Man: Far From Homeand what we did there was transition from the New York taxi to the drones, they are positioned in the same way.”
12.) Savageland paid direct tribute to Marvel Comics’ Savage World, which is notably the home of classic X-Men villain Magneto. This was a world that the team had in play from the beginning, and it was simply “a really cool idea” that the VFX artists wanted to use:
“We were going to have a jungle world from the get-go. Then in talking with Marvel, it appeared that there was a similar world that already existed in the Marvel universe called Savage World, where there were giant dinosaurs. It seemed like a really cool idea, so we made a classic T-Rex versus Triceratops fight.”
13.) In the IMAX version of the film, fans see the full view of Hydra World, which included a blimp featuring the Hydra logo on the end of it. This was a world that was meant to be stuck in the 1930s in an alternate reality where Hydra actually rose to power:
“This is like an old-time New York world. If you watch it in IMAX, there is an Easter egg which is a Hydra Easter egg on the giant blip. It’s not visible in the 2:35 release, it’s only visible in IMAX. We did put a Hydra logo on it. Our original idea was a world that got stuck in the ’30s and that Hydra took over.”
14.) There was another world that didn’t make it into the movie called the “James Turrell World,” which would have referenced an artist who knew how to work light into intriguing and brilliant pieces:
“One world we had was a ‘James Turrell’ world, who is an artist who does very simple pieces with light. It’s a shame because it was very simple to do, but it didn’t make the final cut.”
The Madness of Doctor Strange 2’s Multiverse Explored
“Were we painted in one of them?”
Doctor Strange 2 may not have explored all 73 universes that America Chavez said she had visitedbut there was enough of a glimpse into a few to show just how vast the MCU Multiverse truly is.
The visual effects artists confirmed the use of multiple Easter eggs in these various alternate realities, including references to the X-Men along with nods to the MCU’s first superhero in Iron Man. Seeing how the visuals in each world mesh with one another made for an incredible sequence of events, even with it being only a minute long, as Strange and Chavez saw exactly what the young hero was capable of.
At the moment, it’s unclear when the MCU will revisit any of these other universes, which first truly came to life in this movie and Spider-Man: No Way Home before it. It’s safe to say America Chavez will be back in action before too long alongside other Avengers and Young Avengers in the not-too-distant futureproviding another opportunity to open the door to other worlds all over again.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is still playing in theaters, and it will be available to stream on Disney+ on June 22.