Doctor Strange could have used a skill from Spider-Man: No Way Home against Wanda Maximoff in Multiverse of Madness, so why didn’t he?
Following Doctor Strange’s journey from Spider-Man: No Way Home to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, one glaring question that many fans had remains valid. There’s a simple solution to Strange’s Scarlet Witch problem, but the protagonist seems to have forgotten entirely about what happened in Spider-Man: No Way Home. Since she was so hellbent on getting her children back, Strange could have simply cast the forgetting spell he used for Peter Parker to spare Wanda from all the misery of losing her children in Westview.
Since the film’s release, fans have expressed their dissatisfaction with the development of Wanda’s character. After a long murderous rampage, Wanda Maximoff was seemingly killed off when she realized the errors of her ways and destroyed the temple on Mount Wundagore with herself in it. Multiverse of Madness explored the potential of the Scarlet Witch with redemption that was gone too soon. It seemed that the film only was experimenting with the possibility rather than flipping her entirely.
Not including a major connection that fans expected between the two films before Multiverse of Madness‘ theatrical release seemed like a missed opportunity. In the film, Wanda’s destiny echoed other Avengers’ paths fading out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Phase Four. It was unclear at this point what Wanda’s future in the MCU would be, but if Strange cast the spell, her character could have taken a more complex road instead.
In the comics, Agatha Harkness made Wanda forget about her children, Billy and Tommy, after she tragically lost them. However, the effect of the spell didn’t last forever. Wanda eventually remembered everything and turned to the dark side of the Scarlet Witch. Had the MCU followed a similar route, Wanda’s rise to claiming the throne on Mount Wundagore would’ve proposed a Darth Vader-level threat. Multiverse of Madness could’ve also led to a more destructive saga, with more intense interactions between Strange and Wanda.
In that scenario, Doctor Strange wouldn’t have been able to turn the pages of the Darkhold and become a potential threat to the multiverse. It also seemed that the missing spell from Spider-Man: No Way Home could potentially flip the entire design of Multiverse of Madness. Of course, with Doctor Strange casting the spell, fans wouldn’t have gotten to experience Sam Rami’s horror fun during the psychedelic multiverse travel.
On the other hand, as seen in No Way Home, the spell takes some time to cast, and Doctor Strange might not have had enough time to cast it before Wanda arrived at Kamar Taj. After the incident when Strange accidentally broke the multiverse with Peter Parker’s spell, it would also be understandable for Strange to hesitate to use the spell again.
As many MCU fans have noticed, recent MCU projects have leaned heavily toward being independent standalone films with fewer connections to other films or TV series. Since Strange also cast the spell on himself, it made sense for Multiverse of Madness to not directly engage with what happened in Spider-Man: No Way Home but rather test a possibility that would leave the future with more room. Wanda didn’t mention Peter Parker or Spider-Man, nor did she provide any information on whether the spell worked on her or not. But given how powerful she was, it’s also possible that Doctor Strange’s spell wouldn’t work on her at all.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is available to stream on Disney+.
Katrina Yang is a TV/movies features writer at CBR.