An interesting multiversal connection between Loki and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness may be teasing an important supernatural villain. Although it was the third project in Phase 4, Loki effectively launched the Multiverse Saga. With its introduction of the sacred and diverging timelines, variants, the TVA, and of course He Who Remains played by the great Jonathan Majors, Loki set the stage for a saga’s worth of multiversal stories – much of which the saga has strangely ignored. That is until Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness significantly expanded audiences’ understanding and expectations by incorporating incursions and exploring more alternate universes and variants.
The next step was Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania with Majors returning and stealing the show as Kang the Conqueror. Yet, he was unexpectedly killed off, paving the way for Immortus, Rama-Tut, and Scarlet Centurion in the post-credits scene as the leaders of the new Council of Kangs. This is all setting the stage for Avengers: The Kang Dynasty. Naturally, given their role throughout the Multiverse Saga thus far, both Loki and Doctor Strange must rightfully play pivotal roles in the upcoming conflict. However, an interesting supernatural link between the two heroes may also set up a conflict with another significant villain whether in a future Avengers film or elsewhere.
Doctor Strange 2 & Loki’s Connections To The Dream Dimension Explained
Loki and Doctor Strange in the MCU.
Both Loki and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness are intriguingly connected to the Dream Dimension. In the comics, the Dream Dimension is an astral dimension born out of humanity’s collective psyche – a land where dreams are reality. It’s one of the major alternate dimensions the MCU has yet to explore. Thankfully, Loki outright named it as an official part of the MCU. It came from an offhand comment Easter egg in which Mobius was casually talking with Loki about it. That little moment got many people expecting the Dream Dimension would actually play an important role in the future, and in a way, it did.
In fact, there were expectations that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness would travel to the Dream Dimension based on the number of references to dreams and nightmares throughout the trailer. Yet that was a bit of a misdirect. Nevertheless, dreams were integral to its multiversal story in an interesting way as the film defined dreams as seeing the lives and memories of one’s variants in another universe. This notion does call into question the past use of dreams throughout the MCU, particularly Tony Stark’s tragic dreams in Iron Man 3 and Avengers: Infinity War. It’s interesting to consider how this element will come back into play.
Doctor Strange & Loki’s Connection Could Set Up The MCU’s Nightmare
Nightmare in Doctor Strange Marvel comics
The definite mention in Loki and the role of dreams in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness surreptitiously and cleverly opened the door to Nightmare, the villainous ruler of the Dream Dimension. He is one of Doctor Strange’s most prolific and powerful adversaries. In fact, Nightmare was Doctor Strange’s first foe, debuting together in Strange Tales #110 in 1963. Given their connection, how Loki set him up, and the marketing, Nightmare was expected to be the secret main antagonist manipulating Scarlet Witch in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but that, of course, turned out to be wrong.
Nevertheless, his omission despite the multiversal connection may still make Nightmare better. As a nigh-omnipotent Fear Lord, he is incredibly powerful, with only a few characters being able to outright defeat him, such as Scarlet Witch, the character is intriguingly off the table right now. Granted the same could’ve been said for the Dweller-in-the-Darkness in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Nightmare must surely come into play in a future MCU project to finally pick up the breadcrumbs that were laid so cleverly. His role could be multiversal and connected to the ongoing story or largely removed and focused more on supernatural elements like in the comics.
When Could Nightmare & The Dream Dimension Appear In The MCU?
Scarlet Witch, Stephen Strange, and Nightmare in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
Fortunately, Nightmare and the Dream Dimension’s possibilities within the MCU are vast. The fact that dreams connect people across universes must certainly feature sometime again in the unfolding stories leading up to Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars. Perhaps even as part of his endeavors to stop an incoming incursion, Doctor Strange and his new partner, Clea, must also travel to the Dream Dimension. That could easily, therefore, bring Nightmare into play. However, his best chance to shine in the MCU may actually be much further down the line. Frankly, it might be a disservice to Nightmare to shove him into a secondary position in Kang’s story.
As for logical places audiences could expect to see Nightmare as the antagonist, unfortunately, there are currently no officially confirmed projects he would fit in well with unless Shang-Chi 2 wants to unexpectedly use another Fear Lord. Given the trajectory and planning of Phase 6, Doctor Strange 3 will likely come out in Phase 7, and that would be a great place to use Nightmare and allow him to really shine as the antagonist, especially if it takes the same approach to horror as Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Additionally, Scarlet Witch must be in Avengers: Secret Wars and after which, should they not do her dirty again, she can finally get what she’s long deserved – a Scarlet Witch film. Nightmare might be the perfect villain for this as it could still play into the multiversal and supernatural role of dreams and how they, along with the Darkhold, manipulated and broke her psyche. Otherwise, potential projects for Ghost Rider, the Midnight Sons, or a future Halloween Special are also viable options to use Nightmare. As such, there are plenty of ways to pick up on what Loki and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness set up.