This post contains spoilers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
With Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness now available to stream on Disney+, fans can slow things down and look closely at the many easter eggs hidden in the movie. Unsurprisingly, the cameo-laden Illuminati scene gets the most attention, in which Professor Xavier of the X-Men and the Black Bolt of Inhumans return to screen. Even more surprising was the appearance of “the world’s smartest man” Reed Richards, aka Mr. Fantastic, of the Fantastic Four, played not by previous actors Ioan Gruffudd or Miles Teller, but by John Krasinski of The Office fame.
With more time to examine the scene, some internet users noticed a larger universe easter egg in the way that Richards arrived. Unlike most of the other Illuminati members, Richards is not seated when Baron Modo brings Strange into their chamber. Rather, Richards teleports in via a glowing blue square – one that sure looks a lot like the Time Platform favored by Mr. Fantastic’s rival, Dr. Victor Von Doom. According to Multiverse of Madness producer Richie Palmer, that’s exactly what Richards used. “The detail of the teleportation device he uses to get into the scene is something we took from the comics,” Palmer explained. “[T]hat’s Doctor Doom’s Time Platform.”
The Time Platform dates back to the early days of the Marvel Universe, making its first appearance in 1962’s Fantastic Four #5, the issue that also introduced Doom to the world. Over the years, Doom used the platform to increase his power, often going back to King Arthur’s time to interact with Merlin and Morgan le Fay. But heroes have borrowed the time platform for their own ends, as when Richards took it to the Baxter Building for further study or when the Avengers went back to World War II to investigate the death of Captain America’s partner Bucky.
As cool as those adventures may be, time travel has already been done in the MCU, thanks to the use of Pym Particles in Avengers: Endgame. And while the comic book version of Kang the Conqueror focuses on time travel, the Variant seen in Loki suggests that the live-action take will have more to do with alternate realities.
The real draw of the time platform is the implication that Doom exists someplace in the MCU. Even if Marvel Studios has done much to address the villain problem that plagued its earliest entries, adding to its roster memorable baddies such as Killmonger and Wenwu, many fans consider Doctor Doom to be the greatest villain in comics history.
In fact, much of the anticipation surrounding Disney’s purchase of 20th Century Fox has not been about the Fantastic Four or even the X-Men as much as it has been about Doctor Doom. Previous performances by Julian McMahon or Toby Kebbell in the Fox-produced Fantastic Four movies have left viewers underwhelmed. They want to see Kevin Feige bring to Doom the same respect he showed to even C-list characters like USAgent or Rocket Raccoon. The cameo in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness suggests that they won’t need to wait long!