How the Multiverse of Madness Post Credits scene sets up Dr. Strange 3 and the Elder Gods
Spoiler Warning: Bookmark this page and come after watching the Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Following the end of Multiverse of Madness we saw Stephen Strange invoke a toll for using the Darkhold. In the ending scene we saw him Strange in agonizing pain as a third eye appears in the middle of forehead. During the post-credits scene we saw Clea (portrayed by Charlize Theron) approach Strange, telling him that he has caused an incursion and they have to work together to fix it. Strange then agrees and painlessly reveals his third eye showing that the Darkhold's power still has a lasting effect on him, despite the destruction of the original Darkhold and Wundagore Mountain.
Many have begun to speculate that this post-credits scene is setting up Secret Wars but I think this is Marvel trying to pull a fast one on us. The Illuminati had stated the dangers of dreamwalking (possessing a variant version of yourself in another universe) and how it can cause the two universes to collide creating an incursion as both universes collapse. Although we did see Wanda use the Darkhold to dreamwalk, it was Strange's dreamwalking that created the incursion not hers, thus it's more than likely that is the last we've seen of Earth-838. During Strange's dreamwalking he took control of the deceased Dr. Strange and because of this it could imply this will be a different type of incursion that we saw in the film. Strange's use of the Darkhold could have damaged/destroyed the barrier between Earth and the Flickering Realm (AKA K'lay or Otherrealm).
Chthon and the Elder Gods
Chthon alongside his siblings Set, Gaea, and Oshtur became known as the Elder Gods and ruled Earth for millions of years. Over the years the elder gods degenerated into Demons, Gaea the only uncorrupted demon went into the Earth and gave birth Atum. Atum would grow up and kill all the demons thereby; devolving into Demogorge, the God-Eater but Chthon escapes death by creating a dimension known as the Flickering Realm. Just before fleeing to his new realm Chthon left behind inscriptions of his spells which would constitute as the pages of the Darkhold. By doing so he created a connection between Earth and the Flicking Realm (where he resides), so that it could serve as a conduit of his power with the hopes that he can one day escape his realm and return to Earth. Sometime after Chthon's escape to the Flickering Realm, Gaia established a protective barrier so that otherworldly entities could no longer return to Earth and therefore this also explains the Ennead's (Egyptian Gods) who need Avatars because they have left Earth and now live in a pocket dimension known as Celestial Heliopolis. In contrast where the Asgardians live in one of the 9 realms within the universe. This explains why the Egyptian Gods cannot interact unless through their human Avatars. Chthon is an older much stronger and sinister entity than that of the Egyptian/Norse Gods and thereby he is gaining power from the use of the Darkhold's across the multiverse so that he can escape.
Nexus Beings and Nexus Events
Nexus beings are keystones of multiverses who have the ability to influence the flow of time and probability to alter the future. The Scarlet Witch is considering one of these beings and because of that it is unlikely that she is dead. Considering the second blast we saw as the temple was crumbling around her, I believe it would suggest she was able to survive.
The main question about Scarlet Witch, was Wanda always the Scarlet Witch or did she become Scarlet Witch through the use of the Darkhold and Chthon's influence? In Wandavision, Agatha indicates that being the Scarlet Witch is a title that directly ties into Wanda's powers, so perhaps Wanda becoming the Scarlet Witch was an unavoidable because it was a Nexus event prophesized by Chthon alluding to his return. In the comics, Chthon actually bestowed her powers onto Wanda the night she was born and this connection meant that she is the one of the only beings powerful enough to seal him away inside of her using the True Darkhold one his few weaknesses.
Dr. Strange and the Elder Gods
If Wanda had succeeded in stealing America Chavez it could have possibly created an incursion that would have lead to a Secret Wars movie(s) (like in Hickman's 2015 event) as Earth 616 and Earth 838 collide. Since Dr. Strange (using dreamwalking) and America were successful in stopping Wanda they in turn created a different incursion. The destruction of the Mount Wundagore combined with Strange's use of necromancy and the Darkhold, could mean that the third eye we saw from Strange was actually that of Chthon himself and he is now feeding off Strange's light and dark magic in order to return to Earth. Chthon is the creator of the majority of the dark magic in the Marvel Universe and thus why his Darkhold is only matched by the Book of Vishanti (created by Aggamatto, Hoggath, and Oshtur) Also something of note Chthon is responsible for the creation of witches, vampires and warwolves. Given that we will be getting an Agatha Harkness spinoff series, a Blade movie and Werewolf by Night special (in October 2022) it could tie all of these characters to make a cameo in the third Doctor Strange film and lead into a Midnight Sons movie/series.
Dormammu vs. Chthon
Dormammu and Umar are siblings originally are beings known as Faltines born from a relatively unknown dimension known as Faltine. They were banished because they sought to feed off matter rather than energy like the other Faltines. As we saw in the first Doctor Strange film, Dormammu's goal has always been to conquer all worlds and bring them into his domain within the Dark Dimmension. The Dark Dimension is a void realm that exists within the multiverse in the space between the universes, it intersects with many other planes, realities and pocket dimensions. Dr. Strange's use of necromancy and dreamwalking in the Multiverse of Madness allows Chthon to siphon enough magic from Strange so that he can escape the Flickering Realm but because of Gaia's spell he is unable to return to Earth. Instead he enters the Dark Dimmension, once there he challenges Dormammu who is then destroyed/consumed by Chthon and becomes it's new ruler.
Although that would still leave Chthon unable to return to Earth in his physical form but what if he had some assistance through an avatar such as Baron Mordo? The post-credits scene from the first Doctor Strange movie could come into play as we saw Baron Mordo steal Pangborn's magic as he says, he finally sees "what is wrong with the world, there are too many sorcerers". It begs the question is Mordo influenced/corrupted by Chthon or does he willing choose this path? Either way it seems odd that we didn't see his 616 version of his character in the Multiverse of Madness but that could likely be because he has aligned with the villain of the next film.
There is also various other creatures we could see make their Marvel debut such as the Mindless Ones being lead by Baron Mordo as they seek to destroy the three sanctums in the world that keeps the Dark Dimension at bay. Something to note is that Marvel specifically labeled Gargantos as the creature Wanda sent after America Chavez and not Shuma Gorath. Despite the similarities between the two entities perhaps Marvel is waiting to use Shuma Gorath and the elder gods in the third Dr. Strange film; and considering the similarities in powers Shuma Gorath could be the main villain instead of Chthon.
Chthon's powers are limited in his own realm but he was able to possess Wanda Maxximoff several times in the comics. He flooded New York City with a river of blood, encased San Francisco in solid amber, boiled the Atlantic Ocean and released a vegetation that grew to consume Philadelphia and unleashed flesh-eating insects hordes upon Toronto. He also turned the Fantastic Four into Television signals, summoned a blizzard over Arizona, he banished Asgard to a void dimension
How does Clea fit in?
Clea makes her appearance in the Multiverse of Madness, Clea is half Faltine, a being born of pure magic, and half Dark Dimensional mortal. She is the daughter of Prince Orini, (the previous ruler of the Dark Dimmension before losing his throne to Dormammu) and Umar (Dormammu's sister). Clea grew up worshipping Dormammu alongside her father as loyal subjects, meanwhile Umar was defeated by Dormammu and banished to another realm. In the MCU, Clea could be interpreted as serving Dormammu but only with the goal to betray him and defeat him. That plan is quickly ruined as Chthon arrives overtakes the Dark Dimmension, she flees and seeks out Dr. Strange in hopes to send Chthon back to his own realm. Clea also comes in as a sign that Dr. Strange will be moving on from Rachel McAdams Christine Palmer as Clea is Strange's wife in the comics, she even takes over as the Sorcerer Supreme upon his death.