Following his introduction in the animated show’s episode 4, Marvel fans started predicting that the corrupted Doctor Strange — known as Doctor Strange Supreme — could have a big future in the MCU outside of What If…?. With the anthology series wrapping up its first season today, however, it might have inadvertently crushed a theory that he could pop up in Spider-Man: No Way Home.
In episode 9, Strange essentially gets redeemed for his earlier universe-ending actions by helping the Guardians of the Multiverse protect reality from Ultron. At the end of the episode, the Watcher asks him to keep an eye on the pocket dimension in which Zola-Ultron and Killmonger are trapped in (it’s a long story). Strange agrees, as penance for his past crimes.
While it’s entirely possible he’ll still show up elsewhere, his redemption pretty much rules out a common idea that he was the Strange Peter Parker was fighting in the No Way Home trailer. The internet-breaking trailer features a moment where the wallcrawler is attacked by what looks to be the sorcerer, but without his usual cloak and with clothes of a darker hue. It was suggested that the evil Strange could have disguised himself as regular Strange in order to manipulate Peter into messing with the multiverse.
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As Reddit user u/jjosh_h11 has pointed out, though, Strange Supreme’s heroic turn in the What If…? finale and his new job being a watcher of his own effectively cancels out this theory. So once again we’re back to the drawing board when it comes to working out why Benedict Cumberbatch’s wise hero is so uncharacteristically reckless in helping Peter with that memory-loss spell, endangering the universe in the process.
We’ll find out what’s really going on when Spider-Man: No Way Home swings into theaters on December 17th. Meanwhile, you can catch the complete first season of What If…? on Disney Plus now.