Warning: The following contains spoilers for Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness.Seasoned Marvel Cinematic Universe fans know not to leave the theater when the credits on a movie begin to roll. Not only does sitting through the credits show respect for all those crew members who worked on the movie, but it also means getting to see an additional scene - usually two.
For Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness, the post-credit scene pays off a gag from earlier in the movie and gives Bruce Campbell the chance to make a meta joke about the movie being over. The mid-credit scene, however, introduces a new character to the MCU, played by Charlize Theron. She isn’t named in the scene, but the credits reveal her to be Clea.
How Clea Is Introduced In The MCU
Clea comes to the MCU without much context. She appears in the street in New York, calling out to Stephen Strange, and telling him he created an incursion between universes. Clea doesn’t waste time, using a magical blade to cut a hole between universes and asking him to help her fix it, unless of course, he’s afraid.
Doctor Strange dons his cloak, opens his third eye, and goes with her. Other than that, the scene doesn’t offer the audience much information, like who Clea is, where she comes from, or which universe the two are off to.
Clea’s Connection To A Dr. Strange Villain
Created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko in the ‘60s, Clea is actually from a place the MCU audience has seen before. She’s born to the former ruler of the Dark Dimension and his wife. Fans might remember that the Dark Dimension is where Dormammu resides. It’s also where the power for Cloak of Cloak and Daggercomes from and where Blackout gets his abilities in Agents Of SHIELD.
Doctor Strange found a path to the Dark Dimension in his 2016 movie when Kaecilius allied with Dormammu, and he used the Time Stone to repeatedly turn back time and bargain with Dormammu to save the world. That might not appear to be connected to Clea, but her comic book origin story has Clea as the niece of Dormammu.
Clea’s mother Umar is his sister, and she and the Prince of the Dark Dimension, Orini, have a relationship that doesn’t exactly go well for her. Umar takes on a humanoid form to be with Orini, but after giving birth to Clea, discovers she can’t transform back, and she becomes antagonistic. Dormammu eventually takes over the Dark Dimension and banishes those who disagree with him to other dimensions altogether.
Clea grows up worshiping Dormammu and without her mother until she encounters Doctor Strange. She finds his use of the mystic arts impressive and saves his life more than once. He returns the favor, and the two eventually have a relationship. Clea is actually Stephen Strange’s longest on-again-off-again love interest in the comics. Because of her power set, however, she has to return to the Dark Dimension frequently in order to retain her abilities, and the two can’t always be together.
Clea being half-Faltine means she’s not as strong as Dormammu, but she does have the ability to fly and is more durable than the average human. She can also use the “flames of Faltine,” something the audience hasn’t seen in the MCU just yet.
After meeting Doctor Strange though, she begins to study the mystic arts as his apprentice. She learns all the same spells and incantations the audience has seen in the MCU, and she even becomes the Sorcerer Supreme of the Dark Dimension as a result.
Clea’s abilities are so strong, and her aptitude for the mystic arts so great, that she actually becomes the Sorcerer Supreme of the main dimension for a while when Doctor Strange is presumed dead.
Clea’s Path Forward
Because Clea made her first comic book appearance in 1964’s Strange Tales, there are decades of comic book history for writers in the MCU to pull from. It’s not clear at this point if Clea will adhere to any of that comic book history, or if the comic book character will simply inspire the MCU version of the character.
Because of the opening of the multiverse in Phase 4 of the MCU, it’s likely that Clea isn’t just from a different dimension here, but a different universe altogether. She’s clearly already well-versed in dimension-hopping since she seeks out Doctor Strange for help. It’s clear that there are more incursions on the way, and if the movies do build to an event like Secret Wars, as many fans suspect, she’ll likely play a larger role there.
Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness landed in theaters on May 6, 2022.