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  • Doctor Strange 2 will feature another Stephen Strange, but he’s not from What If…?
  • Benedict Cumberbatch says the new variant is “something different.”
  • The Marvel sequel promises to reference What If…? in other ways.
'Doctor Strange 2' star Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere for 'Spider-Man: No Way Home.' He's wearing a white shirt, black suit and tie, and sunglasses.
Benedict Cumberbatch | Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness arrives this May, and it threatens to throw Stephen Strange’s life into chaos as the multiverse explodes. Footage of the upcoming Marvel sequel promises to introduce new variants of the characters fans know and love. The first trailer for Doctor Strange 2 shows a darker, more disturbing Strange arriving on our hero’s doorstep — but Benedict Cumberbatch has confirmed it’s not the Strange Supreme from What If…?

‘Doctor Strange 2’ will feature another Stephen Strange variant

From the trailers for Doctor Strange 2, fans know they can expect at least one additional Stephen variant in the sequel. There may be more depending on how chaotic things get. But the footage that debuted after the credits for Spider-Man: No Way Home introduced a new Stephen to the one we already know.

Dubbed Sinister Strange, this character seems like he could become a problem for the film’s heroes. When he meets the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s main Strange for the first time, he says, “Things just got out of hand.” He laughs about it, as though he’s enjoying the multiverse coming apart.

After this evil version of Strange was introduced, many fans surmised he was the same variant viewers met during What If…? However, Doctor Strange 2 star Benedict Cumberbatch has now cleared up that misconception.

Benedict Cumberbatch says the new variant isn’t from ‘What If…?’

When Sinister Strange made his first appearance after the credits for Spider-Man: No Way Home, fans connected the variant back to Marvel’s What If…?

The animated series introduced another Stephen Strange during its fourth episode. And from his appearance to the threat he posed to the multiverse, that variant had a fair amount in common with the one shown in Doctor Strange 2.

However, Doctor Strange 2 star Benedict Cumberbatch says Sinister Strange and Strange Supreme are two separate entities. During an interview with Total Film (per Games Radar), the actor admitted that fans have never seen this variant before.

What If…? is a beautiful riff of a potential,” Cumberbatch explained. “And this is something different.”

That raises plenty of questions heading into the sequel, starting with what role this variant might play. It may also come as a disappointment to What If…? fans. Fortunately, there will still be some references to the animated Marvel series in Stephen Strange’s next adventure.

‘Doctor Strange 2’ will still reference Marvel’s ‘What If…?’


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Even though the Strange variant from the Doctor Strange 2 trailer isn’t the same character from What If…?, the sequel promises to reference the animated show in other ways. For one, the most recent trailer teases an appearance from a live-action Captain Carter (Harley Atwell).

That alone is an exciting development for those who watched What If…?, and there could be similar Easter Eggs in the upcoming film. The only way to find out is to head out to theaters and see it.

Doctor Strange 2 debuts on May 6, 2022.