Marvel fans are in the midst of two storylines about popular Marvel heroes dying - Scarlet Witch in The Trial of Magneto, and Doctor Strange in the Death of Doctor Strange. But between the first two issues of the former and the preview for the first issue of the latter, something is shown which begs the question of whether these two deaths are related.
Although they're currently in two different corners of the Marvel U (the X-Men line and the general Avengers line), if you think about it for a minute the titles actually share a specific overlap: they're both connected to the magical plane.
Add to that the upcoming Marvel Studios film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in which Wanda will play a key role, and the Marvel Comics division's propensity for synergy in (or at least anticipation of) MCU events with comics storylines, and there could be smoke to this fire.
Especially when you remember a scene from the first Doctor Strange film that has been somewhat overshadowed in the past five years. But more on that in a bit.
The magical murder mystery tour
We're not going to give you the full play-by-play of the recent Trial of Magneto #1, but one scene is important: Wanda's recollection of being murdered, which is different from what the mutant investigators of X-Factor surmised happened.
In what's apparently a flashback memory, Scarlet Witch remembers being fatally stabbed by a figure in a white cloak, bearing a dagger.
While that scene didn't have much more context after September 15's Trial of Magneto #2 in terms of who killed her, the recently released preview of September 22's Death of Doctor Strange #1 has a curious connection, and it's possibly more than just coincidental.
In this unlettered preview, Doctor Strange is subject to a home invasion at his Sanctum Santorum. The unseen assailant seemingly overpowers Strange magically, and then approaches him with … you guessed it, a dagger.
So that's two of Marvel's top magic-users, both attacked by mystery assailants and seemingly killed by a surprisingly mundane tool: a dagger.
Although the daggers are different, there could be something to this.
So this has prompted three mysteries, although some might have the same answer: who killed Wanda? Who killed Stephen Strange? And who will become Sorcerer Supreme?
How the first Doctor Strange film could connect it all
It's been five years, but recall the post-credits scene to the original Doctor Strange film. The previously heroic Mordo (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor) makes a shocking turn, killing Benjamin Bratt's character for using magic a way he doesn't approve of - and to reduce the number of magic-users in the MCU.
Not much has been said about Mordo/Ejiofor's role in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, as his part in the film has been overshadowed by the hiring of director Sami Raimi, and the multiversal madness of the film which includes the inclusion of Spider-Man, Scarlet Witch, and more.
But the MCU Mordo's line of thinking, and goals, seems to be carried out by someone as-yet-unknown in Marvel Comics with the deaths of Scarlet Witch and Doctor Strange.
So what does this mean for the deaths of Scarlet Witch and Doctor Strange?
Admittedly but this is a bit of speculation, but what if the Marvel Comics' version of Mordo (or someone in a similar role) is aiming to eliminate major magic users and perhaps take the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme from its current holder, and a viable replacement, both removed from contention? That would check several boxes, and set up something major just in time for Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness film.
Keep in mind, the Trial of Magneto finale is anticipated for December 2021, with the Death of Doctor Strange's looking to be in January. So what could be next?(opens in new tab)
Well, Death of Doctor Strange writer Jed Mackay already has his next Marvel project lined up - the just-announced event one-shot Timeless, launching in December 2021. That one-shot is about a rogue timeline manifesting itself, with Kang stepping in to protect the main 616 against it
If you think about it, that sounds like the Marvel multiverse descending into a bit of… madness, right? As in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness.
Doctor Strange is, after all, hidden in the swirly background to the cover of Timeless #1.
You have to wonder how this new divergent timeline started. The murder of two prominent Marvel magic-users seems like it could be just the spark to ignite that kind of fire.
There's a lot of time and issues between now and then, but we're already exploring this from two fronts - Who killed the Scarlet Witch? And 'Who will become the new Sorcerer Supreme?'