Spider-Man: No Way Home ends on a note that sends some of its main characters off in new directions. And while we have to wait a bit to see what is the next in Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man’s, life, we do know that we will start to see the fallout from this adventure effect the sorcerer Doctor Stephen Strange next year when Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness hits theaters. So what can we learn about that, and possibly other things from the two scenes that Marvel Studios has placed into the closing credits of No Way Home? Let’s take a look.
Eddie And Venom In Mexico, Wish You Were Here
When we last saw Eddie Brock and his alien symbiote Venom, they were in a rather nice hotel room somewhere in Mexico, having been transported from their own Earth (Earth-TRN688) to the main MCU Earth. On the television is J Jonah Jameson’s news report outing teenager Peter Parker as Spider-Man. This new scene picks up with them still in Mexico, specifically at a tiki bar. Eddie is talking with the bartender, absolutely unconvinced that he is in a world full of “tons of super people.”
“There was a billionaire he had a tin suit and he could fly, right?” he asks the rather patient bartender, who is still angry that Thanos made his family disappear for five years.
But just as Eddie decides to head to New York and talk to this Spider-Man person, he and Venom are transported back to their home world, stiffing the bartender on the bill and, worst of all, not leaving a tip. The only thing that they did leave behind appears to be a small piece of Venom’s amorphous self.
Frankly, this scene is a let down. If you were a Venom fan waiting for him to show up in the main part of the film, you were undoubtedly disappointed and perhaps even feeling a little bit betrayed. The end credit scenes in Marvel films are there to set up and link things for a future film – and now television show – somewhere down the line. Transporting Eddie and the Venom symbiote to the main MCU as we saw in the Venom: Let There Be Carnage end credit scene is essentially making a promise to fans that it would have a payoff in the then-upcoming Spider-Man: No Way Home. Instead, we get what is essentially the exact opposite of a payoff, something that feels like someone’s bad idea of a joke.
And while the scene undercuts the promise suggested in the Venom: Let There Be Carnage mid-credits scene, it also makes absolutely no sense in the context of Spider-Man: No Way Home. In the main part of the film, Dr Strange states that because the amnesia spell he was attempting to cast got botched, people from other Earths who know who Peter Parker is are being drawn to this particular Earth. The thing is, though, the Eddie Brock of the Venom movies has no idea who Peter Parker or Spider-man are. That much is evident from the Venom: Let There Be Carnage mid-credits scene where we see Venom take an interest in the Daily Bugle television report on Spider-Man. So how did they get pulled to the main MCU Earth?
Additionally – and admittedly this is where things get fairly nerdy – neither this scene nor the preceding Venom: Let There Be Carnage end credits scene that sets this up, match up to the chronology of the Spider-Man films. No Way Home starts at the point right after Peter’s summer school trip to Europe where he is outed as per the news report and ends a few week or so after Halloween. (MJ was yelled at by her doughnut shop boss to take down the Halloween decorations right before Peter goes to visit Dr. Strange and the rest of the main part of the film plays out over the next day or two from there.) When Eddie and Venom arrive they see Jameson’s report outing Peter. It seems as if it is being suggested that Eddie and Venom have basically been on the MCU Earth for approximately four months, a long time for them to be in a bar figuring out where they were. That seems unlikely, as every one else who was transported to that Earth did so after Dr Strange’s spell went awry in November. It seems unlikely that Eddie would have been transported across Earths, as well as back in time a few months. Most likely, they were seeing a repeat of that report as part of a larger news story.
And then there is the small matter of the tiny bit of symbiote left on the bar after Eddie and Venom disappear back to their home Earth. Shouldn’t Dr. Strange’s spell have sent that back to Eddie/Venom’s home Earth as well? If Marvel or Sony return to this plot thread, hopefully that will all be explained. If they decide to ignore it, that would be fine too.
Doctor Strange Will Return
Spider-Man: Now Way Home‘s end credits scene is not really a scene at all, but more of a trailer or sizzle reel for the next theatrical MCU installment – Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness.
The footage opens with a repetition of Wong’s warning to Doctor Strange to not cast the amnesia spell that Peter Parker requested in No Way Home and Strange’s warning to Peter that they are tampering with the stability of space and time and that the multiverse “is a concept about which we know frighteningly little.”
After a quick montage of shots we get a piece of a scene in which Strange approaches Wanda Maxmoff, aka the Scarlet Witch, in a peaceful orchard of trees. “I know sooner or later you would show up,” she says to Strange, admiting to having mad mistakes in the past. Strange replies that he is not there to talk about what happened in Westview – and folks can watch WandaVision over on Disney+ to get caught up on that story – but to ask for help.
A second montage in which we catch glimpses of MCU newcomer Xochitl Gomez as America Chavez, aka Miss America, Strange fighting a weird giant eyeball and tentacle monster (which comics fans could tell you is either Gargantos or Shuma-Gorath, they both have similar looks) on the streets of New York, Strange’s former fellow sorcerer turned enemy Karl Mordo and several other quick flashes. All the while, we hear Wong on voice-over explaining to Stephen that the biggest threat to the Multiverse is “you!”
On that reveal the footage cuts to Doctor Strange, but not quite. This Doctor Strange is dressed in all black and has no grey hair at his temples. A cut to the Doctor Strange we are familiar suggests that this newcomer is actually a Doctor Strange from somewhere else in the multiverse. The new Dark Doctor Strange says, “Things just got out of hand…”
And then the clip cuts to the words “Doctor Strange Will Return.”
So let’s tackle the big question first – Who was that second Doctor Strange?
It seems safe to assume that he is a variant, a Doctor Strange from another Earth whose life most likely took a darker path than the one in the main Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Earth. Viewers of Marvel’s What If…? series on Disney+ saw a version of Doctor Strange whose grief over the death of his love Dr Christine Palmer ultimately led him to destroy his own universe. Is this the same Dr Strange variant we are seeing here or just another Strange who found themselves n a dark road?
As for the rest of the trailer/sizzle reel, there is not much to say. We do learn that Dr. Strange and Wanda look to be allies and not fighting against each other. Although, given Wong’s admonitions to Strange in both the reel and in No Way Home, plus the fact that we learned that Wong is actually the Sorcerer Supreme of Earth now, we may see him and Strange at odds.
Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness opens on May 6, 2022.