The new version of that Marvel character in Doctor Strange 2, explained

Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is full of twists, turns, and plenty of surprise cameos – though they might not be the ones you'd expect. This one may have left you a little confused, but don't worry: we got you covered.

Warning: Major spoilers for Doctor Strange 2 follow. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, look away now!

Captain Marvel makes an appearance as a prominent member of the Illuminati, but she's not Brie Larson's Carol Danvers. In fact, she's not Carol Danvers at all. Though her powers might be the same, the high-flying hero is very different in this particular universe.

Read on as we dissect Captain Marvel in Doctor Strange 2: the character’s history, the actor who plays her, and how she might have obtained those powers.

Who is Captain Marvel in Doctor Strange 2?

Maria Rambeau in Captain Marvel

(Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Captain Marvel in Doctor Strange 2 is Earth-838’s Maria Rambeau, played by Lashana Lynch. The MCU (or Earth-616) version of Maria was first introduced in Captain Marvel as Carol Danvers’ friend and former Air Force colleague.

In the MCU, we discover that she founded the Sentient Weapon Observation and Response Division (aka SWORD) and later passed away from cancer in the years following Thanos’ Snap. Her daughter, Monica Rambeau, later takes on the mantle of Photon during the events of WandaVision.

In Doctor Strange 2, however, this Maria Rambeau variant is a member of the Illuminati, the superhero group in charge of overseeing key decisions on Earth-838. She appears to have the same powers as her MCU Captain Marvel counterpart.

She meets a grisly end at the hand of Wanda; she ends up crushed by a statue during their encounter and is the last Illuminati member – barring Mordo – to fall in battle with the Scarlet Witch.

How did Maria Rambeau become Captain Marvel?

Doctor Strange 2 never explains how Maria Rambeau became Captain Marvel on this Earth instead of Carol Danvers. Marvel shows such as What… If? and Loki, though, help us fill in some blanks.

They introduced us to ‘Variants’, alternate versions of the characters we know and love from the MCU existing on different universes and realities. In some cases, they can look identical to their MCU counterparts (such is the case here), or can completely different. See: Alligator Loki, and Andrew Garfield's Spider-Man (when the Earth-616 version is Tom Holland).

Their paths may be similar, but can veer off in dramatically different directions. For example, What… If? posits a world where Peggy Carter, not Steve Rogers, was injected with the Super Soldier Serum. It’s not a Mr. Fantastic-style stretch to suggest that this Maria could have been the one taken in by the Kree after the light-speed engine experiment went awry instead of Danvers.

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Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.

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