If you want to start an argument in a comic book shop, kick off a discussion about who’s more powerful than who in a superhero smackdown. Is Hulk stronger than The Thing? Could Shang-Chi beat up Captain America? And could Ant-Man really have ruptured Thanos from the inside? As we prepare for the release of Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madnessthere are plenty of discussions to be had about who’s the strongest magic user in the MCU – sure, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange is on his way to become the Sorcerer Supreme (as we learned in Spider-Man: No Way HomeWong holds that title for now), but Wanda Maximoff almost single-handedly ended Thanos in Endgameand is about to become even more powered-up having embraced her inner Scarlet Witch in Wanda Vision.
With Elizabeth Olsen’s sorceress about to play a major role in Multiverse Of Madness, we’ll be seeing an ever greater display of her powers – and by the sounds of things, we might get answers on whether she’s really more powerful than Strange. “I don’t know who’s more powerful than Wanda,” says Multiverse Of Madness producer Richie Palmer. “Meeting the Wanda Maximoff at the end of Endgame would have been a lot for Strange. Who comes out on top as the most powerful being in the universe? Maybe we find out at the end of the movie.”
As Palmer hints there, the paths of Strange and Maximoff have barely crossed in the MCU so far – save for the battle in Endgame, and both attending Tony Stark’s funeral. But for each of them, Multiverse Of Madness should provide some serious personal challenges – particularly since Wanda gained possession of the Darkhold in the final scenes of Wanda Vision. “Madness has many different definitions,” says Palmer. “It’s maddening for Doctor Strange to have to watch the love of his life marry someone else. And it’s maddening for Wanda to have been told, ‘There’s a book, and there’s a chapter about you in that book you should read, and secrets you don’t know about yourself.’” For Olsen, the film finally offered her a chance to share proper scenes with Cumberbatch for the first time. “I really was excited to do dialogue with him,” she says. “I really enjoyed our constant conversation, of analysis and trying to understand where both characters are coming from.” Let the battle begin.
Read moreabout Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness in the upcoming issue of Empire – talking to Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, director Sam Raimi, writer Michael Waldron, producer Richie Palmer and Marvel boss Kevin Feige about a movie that breaks all the rules of reality. Find it on newsstands from Thursday 17 March, or pre-order a copy online here. Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness comes to cinemas from 6 May.