Why Doctor Strange 2 Continues The MCU’s Thanos Retcon

Warning! SPOILERS for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.,Thanos was once the MCU’s biggest, most scary threat, but
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness continues the franchise’s retcon on that matter. Three years after
Avengers: Endgame, the remaining Avengers have yet to assemble on screen, but that does not mean the MCU is free of world-ending events. In fact,
Doctor Strange 2‘s first post-credits scene showed how the entire multiverse is at constant risk thanks to forces like the Darkhold and almighty individuals like Doctor Strange and Scarlet Witch.,With the Infinity Stones storyline behind the franchise, it did not take long for the MCU to choose the dangers of the multiverse as its next main focus. For example, Charlize Theron’s Clea has revealed to Strange that an incursion is happening, which could be the most complex problem the Avengers have faced yet. However, besides setting up the future, MCU’s Phase 4 is posing a clear Thanos retcon: the Mad Titan is no longer supposed to be the most powerful and frightening obstacle in the galaxy.,Related: Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness Ending Explained (In Detail),Before
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness‘s Illuminati team was revealed to have killed Earth-838 Thanos while on Titan, the MCU was already downplaying the villain’s feats. In
Loki, the Infinity Stones Thanos sought so much for were of no use, and it was He Who Remains who reigned over the TVA. In
What If…?, the multiverse-conqueror Ultron effortlessly killed his universe’s Thanos, and in
Doctor Strange 2, it only took the intervention of the Illuminati members for the Mad Titan to be defeated before he could snap his fingers. The reason for this change in how Thanos is portrayed has to do with a fairly common trope in comic books and fiction in general: when a story finishes dealing with a certain villain, that villain has to become weaker compared to the next major threat.
Doctor Strange 2‘s X-Men and Fantastic Four cameos symbolize that there are several new players heading to the MCU, including villains like Kang and Doom. Using Thanos as a metric works to show how powerful all those new additions are.,After more than 10 years of setting up Thanos and two films,
Avengers: Infinity War and
Endgame, in which the villain caused great losses to both the world and the Avengers, there is no better way to introduce a new hero or villain in the MCU than to compare their power level with Thanos’. Despite being killed by Scarlet Witch, Earth-838 Illuminati managed to at least come as a force to be respected, because they handled Thanos in a much quicker way than the MCU’s Avengers. Most likely, not too long after
Doctor Strange 2, heroes like the Fantastic Four (which may or may not have John Krasinski as Mister Fantastic) and the X-Men will join the MCU on Earth-616, and there will have to be a threat bigger than Thanos to better justify their roles.,Things like Thanos’ death being played out as a joke or happening offscreen would seem absurd a few years ago, but it makes sense for this to be the Phase 4 approach.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness‘s large cast goes to show how vast the number of Marvel characters the MCU has not explored yet is, and upon their arrival on MCU’s Earth-616, the balance of power in the franchise will shift. With Kang set up and the tease of an incursion happening, it is likely that the Avengers will soon miss Thanos.,Next: Everything We Know About Doctor Strange 3