[Editor’s note: The following post contains spoilers for “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” and its post-credits scenes.]

Sam Raimi’s return to superhero filmmaking does something rare: it sets a massive, sprawling franchise onto a new course, sort of. In “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” Raimi and his cast (including returning stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, and Elizabeth Olsen, plus plucky newbie Xochitl Gomez) go zipping through the multiverse (with only some real madness to be found) in hopes of nothing less than saving, well, everything. 

The final product is one-half classic MCU stage-setting, one-half Raimi-issued weirdness, gore, wackiness, and genuine scares. And while we won’t get into the many major revelations that populate the film (including a bunch of wild cameos, a heartbreaking death, and the overall indication that the MCU is about to get bigger than ever), know this: it’s a film that concludes with both hope and fear for what’s to come. Not too bad, in the grand scheme of things.

Like the rest of “Multiverse of Madness,” the two post-credits scenes that follow the film open up still more possibilities (for the MCU in general and for Doctor Strange in particular) and offer a dash of humor (especially for Raimi’s hardcore fans). Let’s dig in.

[One more time: Spoilers ahead for both “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” and its post-credits scenes.]

1. Stephen Gets a New Friend

“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”

Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Much of “Multiverse of Madness” is driven by emotional bonds — most notably between Wanda (Olsen) and her children (see “WandaVision” for more on this), but also between Strange (Cumberbatch) and his one-time girlfriend Dr. Christine Palmer (McAdams) — and the film ends with some pretty hard-and-fast conclusions to both of those stories. In his current universe, Stephen Strange and Christine aren’t together (hell, the film opens with her marrying another dude), but part of the adventure of the film sees our Strange undertaking a journey with a Christine from another universe (we promise this makes more sense in the film itself). Spending time with a Christine, any Christine, reminds Stephen just how much he loves her, and how much he really needs to open himself up to the possibility of romance, even if it’s not with Christine.

Nested somewhat safely back in his universe (and armed with some fresh new powers), the first post-credits scenes sees Strange happily trotting down a New York City street, feeling revitalized and refreshed and — oh, gosh, oh, no, what’s that?

Important note here: during the course of his travels across the multiverse, Strange gets hip to some new lingo. Like, hey, what’s an “incursion”? It’s what happens when two different universes collide, typically with Earth itself as the actual “incursion point.” We see one such incursion in the film (it ain’t pretty) and hear about another one too (it also sounds not-so-pretty). Mostly, it’s the worst thing that can happen when one goes skipping through the universes, and Strange has just completed a number of such skips. Obviously, there’s going to be some fallout.

“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”

Courtesy of Marvel Studios

And that’s why Clea appears on Strange’s Earth (for those getting really nerdy here, we are told during the course of the film that Strange’s Earth, the Earth in which our MCU is mostly set, is Earth-616, while much of the film’s action takes place in the alternate Earth-838). Played by Charlize Theron (!!), even fans who are unfamiliar with her backstory — she’s a partially “extra-dimensional being” who is born to a father who closely serves no less than Dormammu and eventually finds her way to Stephen Strange, leading to a complicated relationship that sees them married after a time — will likely recognize she’s someone special. Sporting a kicky purple jumpsuit (hello, superhero), Clea arrives on Earth-616 through a now-familiar rip in the multiverse.

And she’s got a message for Strange. He’s caused an incursion, you see, “and we’re gonna fix it.” Unless, of course, Doctor Strange is afraid. Suddenly, Strange’s brand-new third eye pops up, he looks both resolved and kind of stoked, and announces, “not in the least!” Clearly, a new adventure beckons.

Intermission, MCU Style

Before one more post-credits scene, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” offers a familiar stinger: white text on a black background that tells us “Doctor Strange Will Return.” One weird bit: usually such stingers include the actual film in which our hero(es) will actually return, but this round just promises a Strange return at, uh, some other point in time. Intriguing.

2. The Pizza Poppa Returns

And while that first post-credits scene might be the one that most literally sets a course of a new journey for Doctor Strange (wherever that might be), his potential paramour, and the MCU as a whole, Raimi’s second post-credits scene hints at something else new: a zippy little ditty that doesn’t have much to do with anything else. Hey, why not?

“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”

Courtesy of Marvel Studios

Raimi’s long-time star and perpetual muse Bruce Campbell appears in the film as a denizen of Earth-838, where he’s the self-appointed “Pizza Poppa,” a street vendor who hawks some very tasty-looking pizza balls. After a minor scuffle with America Chavez (Gomez) and Strange, our Pizza Poppa is hit with a Strange spell that will see him punching himself in the face for the next three weeks.

When we return to Poppa, he’s still punching away, his right hand swinging wildly at anything and everything. You don’t need to be a Raimi obsessive to enjoy the gag, but it’s clearly a nod to Raimi and Campbell’s “Evil Dead” series, which saw Campbell’s Ash hacking off his own crazy right hand after a zombie bite threatened to infect him. Campbell, effervescent as ever, seems to relish the return to hand-based humor, until it finally stops, he gazes right at the camera, and happily offers, “It’s over!” Oh, is it?

“Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” is now in theaters. 

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