Celebrating Wong’s Iconic MCU Exits
Like Conner Friel, Wong should never stop never stopping (in the MCU).
This article contains MCU spoilers
If there’s one character who has really increased their stock by jumping off the comic book page and into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it’s Wong, the current Sorcerer Supreme. No, wait. Actually, it’s M’baku of the Jabari Tribe. But after him, it’s probably Wong, the current Sorcerer Supreme. A character whose existence in the comics was to be little more than Doctor Strange’s butler, Wong’s cinematic self has become a fun secondary hero who tends to pop up here and there.
Then again, Wong’s secondary superpower is not so much popping up, but skipping out. If it isn’t a Doctor Strange movie, Wong is likely there to be awesome for a minute or two before abruptly vanishing. It’s part of his charm. As both a sidekick and mentor to Strange, he is a very, very busy man and has places to be.
So let’s celebrate Benedict Wong’s Wong with a look at his iconic exits in the MCU.
Avengers: Infinity War
In the first Doctor Strange movie, Wong didn’t really do much other than be a curmudgeon for Strange to eventually win over. More emphasis was on Strange’s relationships with the Ancient One and Mordo, but since both of them are gone by the end of the movie, Wong had to fill the void. Be a guide to Strange, but be totally okay with the brand new guy getting the promotion.
In his few minutes of screentime, we got to know enough about Wong in Marvel‘s Infinity War for him to win us over. Despite his serious exterior, the guy has a weakness for tuna melts and Hulk-themed ice cream. He’s a bastion for cosmic knowledge and is able to explain the Infinity Stones to Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, and the audience. He’s also badass enough to remove Cull Obsidian’s hand and, for a time, take him off the table.
Unfortunately, that’s all Wong had in the tank. With Strange kidnapped, Wong said something about the Sanctum being unprotected and peaced out. While having someone who could magically cut off hands would have been helpful against the guy powered by a cosmic glove, it’s just as well. Avengers: Infinity War was about filling up the screen with as many top names as possible and if Hawkeye and Ant-Man had to sit things out, there’s only so much Wong should be allowed to do.
Because an angry Asgardian woman stabbed a very wacky dude in the distant future, the multiverse was reborn. Of the various worlds shown to us via Uatu the Watcher, one had Stephen Strange suffer heartbreak when Christine Palmer died from being in the car during Strange’s fateful accident. Strange’s origin and opening story arc remained, thereby telling us that Christine’s role in the third act of the movie was basically worthless.
On the anniversary of the accident, Strange was understandably mopey. Wong could see his friend sulking and knew what he was capable of. He had seen him be reckless with time travel magic without the added weight of emotional trauma. Wong invited him to join him for some tea, which was very wise, but then just…wandered off. Rather than insist Strange accompany him, Wong left it in Strange’s hands. This is like when Ren left Stimpy in charge of the History Eraser Button, but Ren WANTED him to give in. Wong dropped the ball and doomed his world because he didn’t want to be too imposing.
We would see Wong one more time, where he was being engulfed by melty blackness, because Strange used time travel irresponsibly and was erasing the universe itself. Whoops.
Speaking of the apocalypse, another What If…? episode did feature Wong, but while he did make what could be defined as an exit, I don’t think “having his undead flesh devoured by a swarm of ants” is in the spirit of the rest of this article.
Spider-Man: No Way Home
Having survived Thanos’ snap while Strange did not, Wong became the Sorcerer Supreme by default. Because Benedict Cumberbatch is the one who sells movie tickets, Wong only appeared for a couple minutes in No Way Home. As Peter Parker needed a way to reclaim his secret identity, Strange suggested a powerful memory-affecting spell.
Here, there was a divergence. In the trailers, Wong was walking through a portal, off to a place that wasn’t about to be crawling with criminally insane Oscorp employees from beyond. He was very adamant about Strange not doing the spell because of how dangerous it was. Wong was like a parent leaving on vacation, telling their children, “NO PARTIES!” while knowing damn well what was going to happen.
In the actual movie, Wong was against the plan, but not angrily so. He understood where Strange and Peter were coming from, but did not condone the stunt. Instead, he strictly told Strange to leave him out of it. Then he vanished, only appearing in the post-credits teaser trailer for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, where he made it sound like the Spider-Man spell led to that movie’s plot.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
The MCU has had many great trolling moments: Howard the Duck at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy, the Captain America PSA on patience at the end of Spider-Man: Homecoming, Cap being cut off by the credits before he could tell the Avengers to “assemble,” etc. But the greatest troll was definitely their use of Wong in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. A trailer showed Wong fighting the Abomination in an underground fight club cage match and everyone wondered what the hell the context was.
Then we finally got to see the movie and we STILL didn’t understand the context! All we knew was that Wong and Abomination were sparring partners of some kind and were close enough that Wong was referring to him as “Emil.” The fight was mainly to do some MCU world-building to tie into Shang-Chi’s story, while also establishing Wong for later.
After the fight, Wong had a rather friendly conversation with Abomination while leading him back to his prison cell via portal. And that was it! Luckily, there was already news that Abomination and Wong would be popping up on She-Hulk, so the carrot was still on the stick.
Wong would return in the final scene and exit with our heroes Shang-Chi and Katy, a dramatic way for them to prove to their friends that, yes, they were indeed living the zany superhero lifestyle.
She-Hulk: Attorney At Law
Months after the events of that movie, footage of the Wong vs. Abomination fight got leaked. This was inopportune, as attorney Jen Walters was trying to help get Emil Blonsky free on parole. The fact that he had broken out of prison at least once to spar with Wong was troubling to their case.
It’s up in the air how much truth was being said, but the cover story between Wong and Blonsky was that Wong kidnapped Abomination for the sake of having a powerful opponent. Through their fighting, Wong would prove himself to be worthy of the title Sorcerer Supreme. Abomination insisted on returning to his cell to complete his incarceration. Due to that testimony and some other factors, Blonsky was allowed his freedom.
When someone on the council pointed out that Wong was outright admitting to a major crime, he did what he does best. Wong pardoned himself and cheesed it into an open portal.
Abruptly taking off is what Wong does best, and the MCU is better for it. Can’t wait for him to sneak away once the Silver Surfer announces the arrival of Galactus.