The film features the titular Master of the Mystic Arts facing a threat that endangers the existence of the Multiverse. The threat is Elizabeth Olsen’s own Wanda, who still hasn’t gotten over the loss of her children that she made out of nowhere in WandaVision, and is looking for them in other realities to fill that void in her life. She has truly become the Scarlet Witch thanks to the cursed literary artifact Darkhold that empowers her readers but also turns them evil.
Throughout the film, Strange along with Wong (Benedict Wong) are tasked with protecting America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) from themselves. Wanda wants to absorb the girl’s powers to travel through realities, which would leave her dead.
At one point, Wanda is up against the Illuminati: Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), Reed Richards or Mister Fantastic (John Krasinski), Captain Marvel (Lashana Lynch), Captain Carter (Hayley Atwell), Black Bolt (Anson Mount), and Mordo. . (Chiwetel Ejiofor) — alone and kills everyone except Mordo (who is trapped and unable to come to the aid of his comrade). Only after Strange takes over a parallel universe version of the Darkhold is he able to defeat Wanda. But just like Wanda, reading the cursed book also comes at a cost to him. As a result, he develops a third eye like Sinister Strange. The full meaning of that isn’t explained in the MCU yet, but it can’t be good. .
The film’s writer, Michael Waldron, said that the third eye was the price Strange had to pay for reading Darkhold. “The bill is due, as Mordo warned in the first movie. He used the Darkhold to possess his own corpse and the Darkhold exacts a heavy price. I guess the question our label asks is: Is Stephen embracing that darkness? What does that mean to him? What path will he take when he meets Clea and goes to the Dark Dimension? he told Screenrant.
Clea in the quote is the Marvel character who debuted in the mid-credits scene. Portrayed by Charlize Theron, the character is a skilled sorceress and Strange’s love interest in the comics. She casually opens a rift in reality using a sword and invites Strange to undo the damage he caused (raid) while he defeated Wanda. The rift shows the Dark Dimension, the abode of terrifying beings like Dormammu, the demon we saw in the original movie. Interestingly, Clea is related to Dormammu (she is his niece) in the comics, where she and Strange battled the demon and defeated him.
Strange may have defeated Wanda, but it’s clear the Darkhold has left a mark on her. It will be interesting to see how that plays out in the sequel.