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The ‘Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness’ Marketing Bait And Switch Was Masterful


Heading into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, I already knew every “surprise” cameo of the film. The trailers had essentially given us two, officially, and three more leaked out well ahead of release.

And yet what I was not expecting was that because the way the film was marketed, I was totally fooled about the main storyline from start to finish, and the roles of the main characters within it.

And I loved it.

Spoilers follow.

What I’m talking about was how Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was sold. The trailers seemed to make two main points, that Strange would go to Wanda for help, and the two would take on both monsters and alt-universe superheroes, and that the “main” villain appeared to be an evil version of Doctor Strange himself, which fans believed was Strange Supreme.

None…of that was true. The big secret the film was hiding was that Multiverse of Madness actually had Wanda herself as the main villain, the power of Scarlet Witch fully unleashed due to Darkhold corruption, which has her wanting to siphon America Chavez’s power so she can freely travel to multiverses to be with her lost children.

Granted, yes, Wanda hasn’t exactly been doing a lot “good” things lately. In WandaVision she enslaved an entire town psychically so she could have a fake idyllic life with him and her invented children. And by the end we knew she was reading the Darkhold, the most corrupting evil object in the MCU.

But still! This very much did not seem like what was going to happen in Multiverse of Madness, which has Wanda as a horror villain, laying siege to Strange and his army of wizards, and then later, brutally murdering almost all the members of the Illuminati in an alternate universe, shredding Reed Richards like string cheese, making Black Bolt blow his own brains out, cutting Captain Carter in half with her own shield and snapping Charles Xavier’s neck. I thought I was watching The Boys for that sequence.

Just…incredible, wild stuff here. Wanda, fully unhinged, was a glorious villain for this movie, and I loved that her role in the film was hidden to the degree that it was. And that evil looking “Strange Supreme”? Another great twist, when that turns out to be Strange possessing the corpse of a dead alt-universe Strange and harnessing the power of evil spirits to wage war against Wanda. It is extremely Raimi/Evil Dead, and again, another fantastic part of the film, total misdirection from the trailer.

It is very easy for misleading trailers to lead to disappointment in a movie, and very hard for things to be hidden to this degree and have that plan turn out well like we’re seeing here. But I absolutely love the bait and switch the film’s marketing did with Wanda and Strange, and it really enhanced my enjoyment of the film by producing a turn I genuinely did not see coming, even if in hindsight, the clues were sort of there that Wanda was on the way to become this level of bad.

Just excellent marketing work here. Cameos are fun and it was too bad none of them surprised me, I suppose, but hiding the entire storyline to this degree was a masterclass in misdirection. Bravo.

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Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series and The Earthborn Trilogy.



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