Who The Heck Is That? Why The Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness Mid-Credits Scene Matters
NOTE: This story contains spoilers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
As a lifelong Marvel Comics reader, I often get a huge kick out of the post-credits sequences in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies. Marvel does a fantastic job of teasing new characters and storylines, giving fans just enough information to get excited and debate what might be coming next to the movies and TV. Thanos' reveal in The Avengers made my theater erupt with comic fans gasping over the potential of an Infinity Gauntlet story, and non-comic fans saying, "Who was that purple guy?"
Since the movie is over at this point, people are freely chatting about the tease of note as the credits roll, and I've had many conversations with strangers to fill them in on who a character may be or why a particular item may be of importance. It's an unexpectedly fun part of the Marvel movie experience.
The same thing happened after Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness' mid-credits sequence aired in my theater. I heard a bunch of people ask their friends and people near them who Charlize Theron's character was. I too was a bit baffled. I had my suspicions, but Theron's suit didn't lineup with the vision I had in my head. I thought she may be Clea or perhaps a different cosmic character that would tie into the next Guardians of the Galaxy or Captain Marvel movie. It turns out she's playing Clea. You may not know her now, but she will become a household name if she eventually takes over as the Sorcerer Supreme. Don't act surprised. You know Doctor Strange is probably going to die. Like really die. The Earth-616 version.
As much as we love the heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they all would appear to have short expiration dates. Iron Man is gone. Black Widow is gone. Captain America is gone. And I hate to say it, but it won't be long before Thor, Hulk, Doctor Strange, and most of the characters from the first 20 movies are gone too.
These beloved heroes don't age (much) in the comics and can always revert back to their young, original forms thanks to story developments. That isn't the case with the MCU, and that's also what makes it kind of cool. We have actual progress in the superhero world, whereas the comics often undo it to establish new entry points for readers.
So, yes, Clea will likely become the new "Strange." She currently holds this rank in the comic book world within a new series simply titled Strange. It's off to a fantastic start and is the result of the equally as excellent The Death of Doctor Strange story, where he actually died. He'll likely be resurrected within a year or two, but for now, we get to see what Clea can do with these powers. I strongly urge you to run out to your comic book shop to pick up this series' first two issues (the only two that are out as of this writing) to get acquainted with her.
So who is she? This is where things get complicated. Clea is an extra-dimensional energy being and a part of the Faltine race. She has strong family ties to the Dark Dimension, and is the daughter of Umar (which makes her Dormammu's niece). She can take on a humanoid form, but can also look like a fire being. See below:
Clea is a skilled magic user who can bounce between dimensions. She is believed to be close to immortal and also has enhanced strength. When in human form, she eventually studies under Steven, falls in love with him, they wed, and then he dies...horribly. And that's where we are at now. She's questing to bring him back, but isn't having much luck yet.
Clea made her first comic book appearance in 1964 within Marvel's Strange Tales #126. Created by Stan lee and Steve Ditko, she's been in and out of comic books for decades, but just now seems to be taking hold as a central figure within Marvel's main continuity.
If I had to guess, she will become the new Sorcerer Supreme in the MCU within the next four to five years. I think we'll see their relationship grow in the next Doctor Strange film, and then he will likely die in the subsequent film, which will give her the title and power. There's a chance they'll both stick around for a while – which would be awesome – but as I pointed out, the heroes we love don't stick around long. Brining in a great actor like Theron to take on this role, tells me Marvel has big plans for Clea.
Multiverse of Madness' mid-credit scene is a bit goofy in its setup, as Doctor Strange doesn't think twice about diving into another dimension, but what it establishes is gargantuan for comic fans, as another great character is now a part of the MCU.