This article contains spoilers for the WandaVision finale.
Marvel told us pretty early on that its Scarlet Witch spinoff series WandaVision would set up the events of Doctor Strange 2, but during the final episode some fans were a little disappointed by the lack of a Benedict Cumberbatch appearance that might have explained just how closely these two projects might be connected.
However, there was quite a big Doctor Strange 2 connection for movie geeks who were paying close enough attention during WandaVision’s final post credits scene – it was just a little more subtle than most people were expecting.
The Evil Dead
In the closing moments of WandaVision, we zoom into a remote cabin where Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) has secluded herself after the devastating breakdown of her Westview Hex. She has vowed to learn more about the power of the now not-so-mythical Scarlet Witch from Agatha Harkness’ Darkhold magic book, and we later see her leafing through its contents via an astral form while her physical self potters about the cabin – a trick Stephen Strange knows all too well.
But zooming into a remote cabin that houses someone living in isolation with a book of powerful dark magic will be a very familiar sight to horror genre fans – it’s one of the many iconic visuals we associate with the Evil Dead films, the first three of which were directed by Sam Raimi, who also just happens to be the director of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. They also star Bruce Campbell, who will reportedly be making an appearance in Raimi’s forthcoming MCU entry. As a bonus Easter egg earlier in the episode, Raimi’s 2013 L. Frank Baum adaptation Oz, the Great and Powerful is playing at Westview’s theatre, The Coronet!
Not only is WandaVision’s cabin sequence a delightful Evil Dead homage – despite its zoom-in being a lot slower than Raimi’s frenzied cabin shots -it’s likely a huge indication of just how much the Darkhold will be key Marvel’s Doctor Strange sequel.
The dark magic book in The Evil Dead series is called the Necronomicon, and it’s a Sumerian version of the Egyptian Book of the Dead. The tome creates all manner of chaos for Bruce Campbell’s Ash over a trilogy of movies and a TV series, including raising the dead and opening portals. The magic that Wanda Maximoff is coming to grips with using the Darkhold will likely give her access to other realms, and possibly other ways to raise the dead, too.
In Marvel Comics, the Darkhold was originally pulled together from the writings of an Elder God called Chthon. It contained details of his horrific works and evil spells, and served to maintain a connection between Earth and Chthon’s legacy of power.
But in Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, the Darkhold was said to have a different origin. It was still described as an ancient book of spells of unspeakable power that contained perhaps infinite knowledge, but it was thought to have been created with matter from the Dark Dimension. If the MCU keeps this canon, having the book in her possession will connect Wanda to a realm that Doctor Strange already paid a visit to during the climax of his standalone Marvel movie. It could also catch the attention of villains like Dormammu, who exists in the Dark Dimension, and Mephisto.
The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) also drew power from the Dark Dimension to extend her life, a fact that enraged former pupil Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and put him on a path to eliminating other sorcerers. He may consider Wanda an even bigger threat than Strange when he continues his mission in Doctor Strange 2.
It will be quite a while until we see the ramifications of Wanda learning the secrets of the Darkhold play out, and what kind of trouble this might cause in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, but one thing is certain: we will see the Scarlet Witch again.