There were many exciting announcements made during Marvel Studios’ Hall H takeover at this year’s SDCC, among them confirmation of the follow up to 2017’s Doctor Strange. The sequel, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, will, of course, include Stephen Strange himself — but it was also revealed that Wanda Maximoff, aka the Scarlet Witch, will also be in the movie. It’s also been confirmed that Wanda’s ability to alter reality will play an important role in the Doctor Strange sequel. This power has not yet been glimpsed in the MCU up until this point, but it seems as though that's about to change.
Those familiar with Wanda’s full powerset from her comic book appearances know just how out-of-control things can get when the Scarlet Witch is unable to control her reality changing ability — and the House of M series is a perfect introduction to that chaos.
2005's House of M series was a storyline that that consisted of a core eight-issue limited series run, written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Oliver Coipel. In true comic book fashion, there are several crossover tie-ins as well. Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has the potential to get really weird in playing with the different realities Scarlet Witch can create, making House of M a great piece of source material to pull from.
The main storyline follows up right after the events of Scarlet Witch’s nervous breakdown which resulted in the death in key Avengers members Hawkeye and Vision. Wanda is taken to Genosha where Charles Xavier is failing miserably to help her — and, subsequently, the entire world. Since neither he nor Doctor Strange is able to remedy Wanda’s lack of control, both the X-Men and Avengers hold a meeting to determine her fate. Some of them are in agreement with killing Wanda while others, like Captain America, want to find another way to handle their extremely dangerous friend. Things get way out of hand thanks to Wanda’s brother, Quicksilver, after he learns both the X-Men and the Avengers are thinking of killing his sister. He runs back to Genosha to tell his father, Magneto, pleading with him to do something, but Magneto is just as helpless to help Wanda as Charles is.
When both the X-Men and Avengers arrive on Genosha, they find Wanda is no longer where Charles left her. By the time they finally track her down, the entire world flashes white and the chaos caused by Wanda’s ability truly begins.
In the reality that Wanda creates, everyone gets what their hearts have always desired. When we check back in with the cast of characters, it seems that Wolverine has always wanted to be able to recall his memories, get a little taste of Raven Darkhölme, and be Nick Fury, given that he wakes up on the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier. This is only the tip of the altered reality iceberg. Scarlet Witch also gives Luke Cage the same braids Shemar Moore had in the movie Diary of a Mad Black Woman. Meanwhile, Wonder Man and Carol Danvers are an item, Scott Summers and Emma Frost are Mr. & Mrs. Summers, and Janet van Dyne is a fashion designer and stylist to Princess of Kenya Ororo Munroe.
More than that, mutants are no longer the minority on the planet; instead, humans are. Things are still the same in some ways, even though they’ve changed. Wanda giving everyone their deepest and darkest desires has a very Twilight Zone meets Wishmaster feel to it. In Peter Parker’s case, Uncle Ben and Gwen Stacy are still alive and Peter is a famous wrestler. He and Gwen are married with a child while Mary Jane Watson is off in Hollywood being an A-list star. However, the reality Wanda created begins to unravel thanks to Wolverine recalling all of his memories and a little girl named Layla who has the ability to cause others to recall their memories of their lives before Wanda changed everything.
Of course, the revelation that the world Wanda has created is all a lie is one that has some serious consequences. Humans are now on their way to being an endangered species, Tony is secretly backing a homo sapien rebel group, Peter has to deal with knowing the life he could have had if Uncle Ben and Gwen had never died, and Steve Rogers has never become a human Capsicle which therefore makes him too old to help when the X-Men and the Avengers of this reality go to Genosha yet again to track down Wanda and her father. All the while, Charles Xavier is either dead or seems to not exist at all anymore. Wanda’s good intentions are bittersweet at best and a downright nightmare at worst.
The events of House of M replaced the main reality on Earth-616 for a brief moment until Scarlet Witch gets her life back together. The events of the storyline still exist, however, but on Earth-58163, which brings us back to how the introduction of multiverses to the MCU opens the universe up and presents opportunities for Marvel Studios to really get creative with the characters they have already introduced and ones they haven’t yet. The House of M series ends with Wanda creating a reality with no more mutants — but what if Multiverse of Madness flipped the script and had Wanda change reality so that the Earth-616 timeline now has mutants, thus bringing them to the MCU?
The potential that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has is something for MCU fans to get excited about — and maybe, just maybe, House of M could potentially be treated like a teaser for things to possibly come to the MCU.
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