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The Marvel Cinematic Universe is well-known for its secrecy, and also well-known for the side effects created by said secrecy.
Those of us who spend time following these films from the time they're announced to the time they're released have grown used to certain rhythms that come with keeping all of those spoilers under wraps, which means we know there comes a time when there's simply nothing left to say about the film until it's actually in theaters. There's a point, usually in the final week or two leading up to the release date, when anything that can be said about the movie in public has not just already been said, but been said several times, leaving the people who made it and the people who cover it spinning their wheels.
Jimmy Fallon, who's been having the stars of Marvel films on The Tonight Show for as long as he's been behind the host's desk, knows this very well — and does his best to twist that sense of hyper-secrecy for comedic purposes whenever he can. Sometimes he does it by trying to throw off his MCU guests by spinning questions at them which he knows they can't answer, while other times he tries to interrogate them about apparently leaked spoilers to get them to flinch. In the case of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness star Benedict Cumberbatch, Fallon opted to do neither, and instead simply embraced the absurdity of being unable to say anything new about the next MCU film.
Cumberbatch appeared on The Tonight Show on Tuesday to promote both the film and his upcoming hosting gig on Saturday Night Live, and after talking SNL and his Oscar nomination for The Power of the Dog, the star pretty much just admitted that there's nothing more he can say about Multiverse of Madness at this point.
"No, I'm basically here to talk about a movie I can't talk about," Cumberbatch said.
"How do we talk about a movie we can't talk about?" Fallon asked in response. "It's coming out... can we say that? On Friday? That is true, it will be out and revealed to the world. It will be projected."
"There's some people in it, some people in the film," Cumberbatch replied.
"Humans?" Fallon asked
"Mainly, yeah," Cumberbatch said.
"Sounds great!" Fallon said.
In the clip above, you can watch as the pair improv their way through an awkward series of half-silences as they try to talk Doctor Strange, until Cumberbatch decides to throw a wrench in things by humming the Top Gun theme as a supposed hint about a cameo appearance. It's a brief bit, but a funny one, particularly when you're someone who spends a lot of time following the MCU promotional machine and its often hilariously tangled web of half-truths, secrets, and non-answers to plot questions. You can check out the full Tonight Show episode and interview on Peacock.
Thankfully, the secrecy is almost over, at least for this particular promotional cycle. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is in theaters Friday, with early showings beginning Thursday night.
Multiverse of Madness promises to be Marvel's first proper horror movie. Other upcoming horror films include Firestarter in theaters and streaming on Peacock on May 13, The Black Phone in theaters on June 24 and Jordan Peele's NOPE in theaters July 22.