Marvel fans, get ready. Following a 47-day exclusive theatrical run, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is finally available to stream on Disney+.
If you haven’t seen it yet, you’re in for a maddening ride. The Marvel Cinematic Universe boasts so many characters, and so many story threads, that a full-blown exploration of the multiverse can be confusing. Unless, that is, you’re fully versed in the multiverse!
Keep reading to find out what you need to stream prior to the newest Marvel film. Plus, we’ll give you a look at other great multiverse movies and shows to check out.
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Spoiler alert: Some of our MCU recommendations may tip you off to potential and/or rumored “Multiverse of Madness” twists.
Not scared off by a spoiler alert? Great! Here’s our guide to everything you should watch before you see “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” And if you’re still not sure what to stream next, we’ve got ideas for that, too!
Be sure to check out our guides on, and . Plus, we’ve got , recommendations for and a crash course on .
What better movie to watch before the sequel than the first “Doctor Strange” film? The 2016 movie, available to stream now on Disney+, tells the story of Stephen Strange (played by Benedict Cumberbatch), a brilliant, but self-involved neurosurgeon who loses everything after his hands are damaged in a car accident. On a quest to heal his injuries, Strange travels to Nepal to study mystic arts, and unlocks his true potential as a magician. It is in this first “Doctor Strange” film that we Strange begin his journey to becoming a hero worthy of the Avengers. Rachel McAdams and Chiwetel Ejiofor co-star.
Marvel’s first official canonical TV series definitely deserves a binge watch before “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” And that’s because, one, Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff is a prominent player in the new movie — and, two, because “WandaVision” helps sets the stage for “Multiverse of Madness.”
On “WandaVision,” streaming exclusively on Disney+, Wanda and her partner, Vision (played by Paul Bettany), work their way through decades’ worth of TV-sitcom tropes as they raise twin boys in a seeming suburban paradise. But as each episode plays out, Wanda and those around her begin to notice that everything is not what it seems.
‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’
In preparation for “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” you’re definitely going to want to see the first film to fully explore the MCU multiverse. “Spider-Man: No Way Home” picks up right after the events of 2019’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” Peter Parker (played by Tom Holland) has been framed for murder, and had his real identity exposed to the world. Peter asks Doctor Strange to cast a spell that will make everyone in the universe forget that he’s Spider-Man, but the spell goes awry. Suddenly, iconic characters — and heroes — from the pre-MCU “Spider-Man” movies pop up, and provide some seriously satisfying fan-service scenes. “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is currently available to buy or rent on Prime Video.
‘Captain America: The First Avenger’
In late April, a new TV commercial for “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” featured an apparent flash of Peggy Carter’s Union Jack shield from the comics (and a certain episode of “What If…”). The ad fueled speculation that the Carter character will play a role in the new film. So, yup, before you go see “Multiverse of Madness,” it’s probably a good idea to brush up on your Peggy Carter. A good place to start is “Captain America: The First Avenger.” The 2011 film marks the first MCU appearance of Carter (played by Hayley Atwell) — and, yes, also Captain America (played by Chris Evans). “Captain America: The First Avenger” is now available to stream on Disney+.
Another streaming stop in your Peggy Carter education should be the animated MCU anthology series, “What If…?” The show debuted exclusively on Disney+ in 2021. The first episode is called “What If… Captain Carter Were the First Avenger?” So, um, yeah, you might want to start with that one. The entire, nine-episode first season of “What If…?” is available to stream now on Disney+.
Want even more Peggy Carter? Check out the 2015-2016 series, “Agent Carter,” and the 2013 short (as in, it’s literally only 15 minutes long), “Marvel One-Shot: Agent Carter.” Both are available on Disney+, and both star Hayley Atwell. (The “Marvel One-Shot” short is exclusive to Disney+.)
More great multiverse shows and movies to stream
The MCU may be dominating the multiverse discussion now, but the concept of multiple, or infinite number of universes has existed in pop culture for quite some time. Here are other mind-bending, non-MCU titles to check out.
‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’
Turns out “Spider-Man: No Way Home” wasn’t Spidey’s first time at the multiverse rodeo. (And, nope, it’s technically not part of the MCU.) The 2018 Oscar-winning animated movie tells the story of Miles Morales (voiced by Shameik Moore), a teen who transforms into Spider-Man after a bite from (what else?) a radioactive spider. Along the way, Miles meets Peter B. Parker (voiced by Jake Johnson), and learns he’s not the only Spider-Man in his universe — or across the multiverse. A sequel, “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse,” is due out in 2023. That’s more reason to check out “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” now.
‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’
This acclaimed new sci-fi flick stars Michelle Yeoh as a Chinese immigrant struggling to keep both her family and their laundromat afloat in Southern California’s Simi Valley. When an interdimensional rupture occurs, Evelyn learns that she’s just one of many versions of herself, and that the future of the multiverse depends entirely on her. “Everything Everywhere All at Once” is now available to purchase on Prime Video, and is still showing select in theaters.
‘Rick and Morty’
This popular animated series by Dan Harmon (“Community”) and Justin Roiland follows the mad (and usually intoxicated) scientist Rick and his grandson Morty as they go on adventures across the multiverse with the aid of Rick’s inventions. “Rick and Morty” has danger, plenty of humor and a surprising amount of heart.
The show plays by practically no rules, and explores the multiverse like no other on this list. You can stream all five seasons of “Rick and Morty” on Hulu or HBO Max, or catch the latest episodes on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim.
The trippy 2020 movie “Palm Springs” stars Cristin Milioti and Andy Samberg as a maid of honor and wedding guest, respectively, who hook up, only to get trapped in a time loop. Forced to relive the same dreary wedding day over and over, the two grapple with who they are, and what they’re willing to do to escape their fate.
All aboard the Infinity Train! Created by “Regular Show” writer Owen Dennis, this critically acclaimed cartoon takes place on a mysterious train wherein every train car contains an entire universe. Each season follows a new passenger as they travel through the train and attempt to find their way home. Each episode is roughly 11 minutes long, making the animated series super easy to binge-watch. All four seasons of “Infinity Train” are available to stream on HBO Max.
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