Doctor Strange 2’s Entire Ending Is A Plot Hole | Screen Rant

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Doctor Strange 2.

For all of its box office success, Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness‘ ending has a serious problem: it’s one big plot hole. Despite setting up America Chavez’s arc as her finding her parents, Doctor Strange 2‘s ending takes a hard left turn, having her stay on Earth 616. That seemingly replaces her drive to find a family and a place in the multiverse but ignores one of the biggest rules the MCU sequel establishes.

At the end of Doctor Strange 2, America opts to stay in Kamar Taj as a student of the Masters of the Mystic Arts, learning magic presumably as a means to better control her existing powers. But the Illuminati’s warnings about meddling in other universes and changing them rings loud in the memory, and it’s confusing to note why America’s presence in the MCU’s Earth 616 doesn’t cause an incursion that kills everyone there. There may be logic to it, but crucially, Multiverse of Madness forgets to actually spell it out.

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Related: The MCU’s Perfect Illuminati Team For Earth 616

Even with the implied loophole that America is unique in the multiverse, the rules introduced in Doctor Strange 2 pose a problem. There can be no way that America Chavez’s presence in any universe wouldn’t be counted as significant, regardless of her not causing a paradox with other versions of herself. After all, the incursion rules never actually spell out that it’s those interactions that are problematic. Why else would the MCU’s Illuminati have discounted Scarlet Witch as a problem for the multiverse, despite her dreamwalking enough to find a single, unique individual among countless universes? In the absence of concrete rules, it makes no sense that America could rip holes into universes, cause chaos in them, interact with their very different residents and not be a “footprint”.

To work out whether America Chavez moving permanently to Earth 616 should cause incursions, you have to first establish what all of the rules of incursions are. And unfortunately for the MCU, Marvel doesn’t really do that sufficiently. There is no satisfying answer offered in Doctor Strange 2 for why America can ignore all of the rules and stay in Kamar Taj when Doctor Strange dreamwalking just once seemingly caused the incursion that lead Clea to call for his help. In fact, removing fan interpretation, there is precisely one rule, as set out by John Krasinski’s Mr, Fantastic:

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“Stephen, your arrival here confuses and destabilizes reality. The larger the footprint you leave behind, the greater the risk of an incursion.”

Sinister Strange and the Illuminati add more detail, saying Strange dreamwalking in other universes caused catastrophic issues, destroying several universes, including Sinister Strange’s own. The problem here, of course, is that there have been a number of examples of other MCU characters traveling into other universes and leaving a significant “footprint”: Thanos, Kang, Captain America, Loki, Gamora, Scarlet Witch and the Guardians of the Multiverse all reasonably qualify and no fan fiction can disprove the fact. So why are Doctor Strange’s jaunts into other universes worse?

The only real way to explain the issue with incursions is to further Doctor Strange 2‘s abuse of Mr. Fantastic by accepting that he simply did not know the actual rules. It’s a cop-out, but it’s arguably a lesser evil than having to explain all the other outliers for incursions that the movie seems to simply ignore. If the rule depends on the definition of a “large footprint”, that means murder, conquering a whole universe, marrying a woman who was supposed to be married to someone else, and replacing your own idea doppelganger are too insignificant to count. The problem, clearly, is that incursions lack definition in a universe begging for rules.

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Putting aside all of the other times incursions would likely have been caused in the MCU before Doctor Strange 2, America Chavez’s choice to stay in 616 could have been comfortably explained by Chavez’s defining quirk. The assumption is that she can operate outside of multiversal rules because she is the only version of herself in existence, but that convenience is completely ignored by the movie. For whatever reason, Sam Raimi and writer Michael Waldron simply did not address the loophole, leaving open questions about why America Chavez’s powers tearing her through universes and being chased by giant monsters and telling ignorant MCU residents about the existence of the universe isn’t classed as “leaving a footprint”. It’s the very definition of meddling, and hopefully, the next sequel to Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness will actually address.

Next: The MCU’s Perfect Multiverse Endgame Is Now Secret Wars

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