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Doctor Strange: Why Rachel McAdams is Perfect as Christine Palmer

Rachel McAdams’ Christine Palmer has been one of the best supporting characters in the Doctor Strange franchise. Here’s why.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has established an incredible gallery of supporting characters over the years. Without characters like Happy Hogan, Ned Leeds, and Okoye, our favorite superheroes would not be where they are today. One of the greatest supporting characters has been Rachel McAdams’ Christine Palmer in the Doctor Strange franchise. First introduced in 2016’s Doctor Strange, Palmer returned for the animated series What If…? and the origin movie’s sequel Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Christine was a major part of Stephen Strange’s life across the Multiverse. Whether it was through work at the Metro-General Hospital or in The Illuminati, together they saved many lives. There has been several versions of Christine featured in the MCU, but McAdams has always been perfect in the role. Here are several ways in which McAdams masterfully portrayed her character in the MCU.

Perfectly Portrayed Christine’s Kindness and Gentleness
When audiences were first introduced to Stephen Strange in 2016, they initially saw a selfish, inconsiderate, and egotistical man. Strange was not exactly portrayed to have many close relationships — understandably so, as it would take an incredible amount of patience to deal with someone like him. Those who revisited Doctor Strange noticed Christine was the only person there for Strange following his life-changing car accident. Christine was always by Strange’s side and saw the remarkable potential in him to be a force for good. She saw it before Strange was able to see it in himself. Ultimately, Christine was right as Doctor Strange went on to save the world from Thanos and protect the Multiverse from the Scarlet Witch.

Christine did not possess any superpowers, but she never once needed them to be a superhero. She represented some of the best aspects of humanity, showing kindness, bravery, and incredible strength. The former Captain America himself, Steve Rogers, did the same before he received the Super Soldier Serum. Palmer was someone who led by example, and she inspired Stephen to become one of the most heroic characters in the MCU. If there was someone in need, Christine was there doing everything she could to help them.

Still Held Stephen Strange Accountable
McAdams never portrayed Christine’s kindness as weakness. Her character was not a pushover that allowed Stephen to act irresponsibly with no repercussions. She did her best to offer support after Strange’s reckless driving resulted in his hands being damaged. In response, Strange insulted and lashed out at Christine. This was behavior she was unwilling to accept and required Strange to make amends before she could properly forgive him.

The end of Strange’s romantic relationship with Christine was caused by his own selfishness. Although Christine remained close friends with Stephen, she understood that she could no longer continue a romantic relationship. It was only after the end of their romantic relationship that Strange moved away from being a disastrously self-centered individual. According to Christine, she was unable to love Strange because he always had “to be the one holding the knife.” She then moved on, eventually falling in love with and marrying someone else.

Made a Supporting Character Have Tremendous Impact
It would have been very easy for Christine to be the forgettable love interest of a superhero in the MCU. That was unfortunately what happened with Jane Foster after Thor: The Dark World and before Thor: Love and Thunder. However, McAdams took Christine and made her a great character since the very first film. Christine was not just the ex-girlfriend of Doctor Strange, she was also a brilliant woman and top surgeon at the Metro-General Hospital. Characters like Wong, Mordo, and the Ancient One brought Strange into the mystical world, but it was Christine that reminded Strange who he was before he became a Master of the Mystic Arts.

Phase Four of the MCU has finally opened the Multiverse, but it has been a new phenomenon to most of its characters. A variant of Christine, also played by McAdams, was the first character to designate names for realities in the Multiverse. She was the one who designated the main MCU reality as “Earth-616”. While other characters are only beginning to learn about the Multiverse, the alternate version of Palmer has been studying it for many years. As a result, Christine has expertise in a field that no other known characters in the MCU currently possess.

The Doctor Strange film franchise has always centered on its titular character and mystical shenanigans. Christine was never a main character and originally was not meant to return in Doctor Strange 2. It has been impressive what McAdams has been able to accomplish with only a supporting character. Characters like Wong, America Chavez, and the Scarlet Witch obviously had much more screen time, but when Christine was on-screen, she truly left an impact. It was because of Christine that Doctor Strange has finally become who he was always meant to be.


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