Who Is Clea? Marvel Origin, Powers & Movie Future Explained

Warning: This post contains major spoilers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness introduced Clea, but who is she really and what does her future hold? The Marvel Cinematic Universe has historically introduced new characters in post-credits scenes — like Harry Styles’ Star Fox in Eternals — and Clea is no exception. Her arrival makes things interesting for the MCU, especially considering how much of her history is tangled with that of Doctor Strange.

After presumably saving the multiverse from catastrophic repercussions, Doctor Strange returns to New York. But it isn’t long before he develops a Third Eye after using the Darkhold to dream-walk into the dead body of his doppelgänger from another universe. Abruptly, a mysterious woman wearing purple appears through a portal claiming Doctor Strange has caused an incursion — which occurs when the boundaries of two worlds collide and are eventually annihilated — and that he should come with her to fix it. Doctor Strange goes with her without hesitation, unafraid to handle whatever comes next.

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While the woman isn’t named in the scene, the credits confirm it is indeed Clea, who is played by none other than Charlize Theron. Her purple costume would have also been a giveaway for fans of the comics who are aware of who she is. Clea has a decades-long history in Marvel and her origins and powers are fascinating. One of the intriguing things about her character is her connection to Doctor Strange and the big role she plays in his life. Here is more information on Clea’s identity, her comic book past, the extent of her powers and connection to Dormammu, and exactly how she could factor into the MCU’s future.

First introduced in 1964’s Strange Tales #126, Clea is a Faltine, an extra-dimensional being created from magic, who hails from the Dark Dimension. It’s where she meets Doctor Strange after he arrives there to defeat Dormmamu. Clea has immense power, including superhuman strength and the ability to create energy bolts. She also has telekinesis and is a telepath who is capable of controlling other people’s minds. Clea, like Doctor Strange, has mastered her ability to use magic and can even create illusions to trick people into believing something isn’t there. Clea has been able to animate beings and conjure things from nothing. What’s perhaps most interesting is that Clea is capable of copying Doctor Strange’s powers, replicating whatever spells he manages to cast. In magical abilities alone, she rivals Doctor Strange and extra-dimensional beings. After allying with Doctor Strange in the Dark Dimension, the pair eventually become romantic, with Clea moving to New York for a while to train with the sorcerer. She ultimately marries Doctor Strange, but at one point Clea returns to the Dark Dimension to become the Sorceress Supreme of the domain after banishing her father from the dimension and taking the throne in his place. While she has typically maintained her domain in the Dark Dimension, Clea became the Sorcerer Supreme of Earth-616 after the death of Doctor Strange.

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Audiences will remember the Dark Dimension appearing in 2016’s Doctor Strange. It was the domain of Dormammu, a demonic creature who wanted to conquer several dimensions to rule over them all in his primary one. As it happens, Clea is Dormammu’s niece and the Dark Dimension is her birthplace. Despite their relation, Clea didn’t have any strong feelings of loyalty for Dormammu and she helped Doctor Strange fight him, which led to her being taken hostage by her uncle. Unlike the rest of her family, including her father Orini and mother Umar, Clea was stalwart and honorable, always wanting to do what she believed was right, even if that meant helping a stranger take on her own uncle. Following Dormammu’s downfall, Clea also went on to defeat Umar and Orini, banishing them from the Dark Dimension, taking their place to rule over those who inhabited the area. Clea spent much of her lifetime defending her home — from Umar, Baron Karl Mordo (who appears in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness as an ally and a member of the Illuminati), and Dormammu. The Dark Dimension is therefore a sacred place for her and her history. Much like Doctor Strange is constantly fighting to protect Earth from Thanos or, in Doctor Strange 2, Wanda, Clea fiercely works to ensure the Dark Dimension doesn’t fall to tyrants who are more than willing to wreak havoc to get what they want: more power and control.

Clea’s introduction at the end of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is an extension of Doctor Strange’s story. The Dark Dimension has played a crucial role in his story so far, but Clea’s arrival means there could be more explored there. In the film, she already knows who Doctor Strange is already, which changes her comics origin and gives her the upper hand in this instance. She is also aware of the multiverse’s existence and any threats that are being made to it. Naturally, Clea’s knowledge of the multiverse and her immense power — which she has seemingly already mastered without having to train with Doctor Strange (!) — would be incredibly useful as the MCU continues exploring other dimensions. Now that the multiverse is known to Earth-616, it seems on the verge of collapse, with the incursions likely building towards something bigger that will take Clea, Doctor Strange, and more to fix and protect.

Related: Doctor Strange’s Illuminati Members Explained: New Origins, Actors & Powers

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Clea being skilled at magic, as well as being an extra-dimensional entity, opens the doors for the MCU to explore beyond the primary world established. It’s possible she could also bring Doctor Strange back to the Dark Dimension. Whatever is happening with the incursions could also be affecting her home, which Clea will want to protect. While whatever is happening with the multiverse could be setting up something huge for the MCU down the line, it’s possible Clea’s next big adventure will involve teaming up with Doctor Strange to also fight Dormammu, who is still alive and is likely planning something quite sinister. This storyline would align most with the comics and with how Doctor Strange and Clea’s relationship is established. With Doctor Strange having moved on from Christine Palmer and ready to no longer be afraid, the MCU will likely set up his romantic relationship with Clea, who is his primary love interest in the comics. Whatever happens next in the MCU, however, the fact that Charlize Theron was cast to play Clea in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness suggests she will play an important role in the future, be it alongside Doctor Strange or on her own.

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