There was a considerable amount of speculation surrounding Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ahead of its release. The 2022 Marvel Cinematic Universe installment was rumored to feature a wide array of cameos from major characters. The film ultimately did have some surprise faces pop into the quirky and creepy superhero flick. As it turns out though, another notable MCU player could’ve poked his head in – Spider-Man. That’s right, the world-famous web-slinger was going to be a part of the sequel, and we have details regarding why those plans ultimately changed.
The sheer thought of Spidey popping into Stephen Strange’s second solo outing is likely an exciting one for faithful MCU fans. Thus far, the two have already had their fair share of interactions in the cinematic universe, specifically in 2021’s Spider-Man: Now Way Home. So why didn’t they cross paths again in Multiverse of Madness? Well, the answer comes by way of veteran costume designer Graham Churchyard, who discussed the topic during an interview captured by Spider-Man News on X. Based on Churchyard’s comments, it sounds like the wall-crawler’s role would’ve been small and was ultimately squashed by one major element:
Spider-Man: No Way Home was supposed to come out after Multiverse [of Madness], and then with COVID [changes], it then came out before. So Doctor Strange in his new costume and America Chavez were supposed to go into [No Way Home], and Spider-Man was supposed to come in – for a very brief cameo appearance into Multiverse. And then, you know, COVID just shook it all up.
Anyone who closely followed the schedule of upcoming Marvel movies a few years back surely knows films were shuffled into different dates on multiple occasions. Multiverse and NWH were only two of the productions to be slotted into different release dates at the time. The Spidey flick was originally set to be released in the summer of 2021 before being delayed to November of that year and later December. Doctor Strange 2’s release shifts were as trippy as some of the sequences in the actual movie. It was initially set to open in May 2021, before COVID caused it to be shifted to that November. It then moved to March 2022 after Sony pushed back No Way Home. And it would ultimately land in May 2022 by the time it was all said and done.
From a storytelling perspective, it’s understandable why the characters would’ve crossed over into each other’s movies. Both had heavy multiversal influences on them and expanded that aspect of the MCU. So in that way, there’s a bit of synergy between the massive movies. And Benedict Cumberbatch’s Stephen Strange ultimately did appear in No Way Home (without his new costume), serving as a supporting character in the Tom Holland-led film. Concept art also previously revealed that the Spider-Man movie would’ve tied to Multiverse by having America Chavez drop in. There’s no trace of Holland’s Peter Parker in the Strange sequel, though he is briefly mentioned during a chat between Strange and Chavez.
While it’s cool to consider what could’ve been, most fans are probably most concerned with what might be, at this point. Tom Holland hasn’t appeared as the friendly neighborhood hero since his 2021 threequel. It’s been said by officials at both Sony and Marvel Studios that a fourth movie will be made at some point, though the slightly “apprehensive” Holland wants to let it percolate for a while. Also, this past summer, Benedict Cumberbatch teased more “Marvel capers,” though he wouldn’t drop specifics.
I’ll admit, a Spider-Man cameo would’ve been cool to see in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. But given the other major characters that were featured like Hayley Atwell’s Captain Carter and Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier, I’m not sweating the loss too much. Graham Churchyard didn’t specifically state how the webhead’s brief appearance would’ve played out, and I think – if he knows – he might just keep those details to himself, at this point.