As well as dealing with the multiverse, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness saw Doctor Strange confront his past actions and potential mistakes.
One such action was his direct involvement in Thanos wiping out half of all life in the universe when he gave him the Time Stone. The justification, of course, was that it was the “only way” that the Avengers would eventually be able to save the day.
The problem was that the day of eventual victory came five years later, half a decade where those not dusted lost people they loved and thought they’d never get back. It’s no surprise some survivors would be bitter at how it panned out, and Strange finds this out first-hand.
At the wedding of Christine Palmer early on in the sequel, Strange reunites with former colleague Nicodemus West. West wasn’t Snapped and lost everybody he loved, so he asks Strange: “Did it have to happen that way?”
But wait. How did West know about something that happened on Titan that, we imagine, Strange hasn’t exactly been open about? lucky, Ms Marvel could well hold the answer to this mystery.
You might think we’re talking about Scott Lang’s podcast interviews on Big Me Little Me that Kamala Khan mentions in the first episode’s opening sequence. It’s where she got all the information about what Captain Marvel did in the Battle of Earth.
However, Scott was Snapped for five years and he wasn’t on Titan, so he might not know everything as he’s not a core Avenger. (Sorry Scott, we love you.)
Instead, the answer to how the world seemingly knows every little detail about the battle against Thanos could come in a background Easter egg. When Kamala visits AvengerCon, there’s a book advertised called I Was There… which you can see below on the left-hand side.
From the episode itself, we don’t get any further information about it and you might miss it entirely. Thanks to Marvel.com, we know though that it’s a book written by a SHIELD agent that details “the clash between the heroes of Earth and the Alien scourge threatening our fragile planet”.
It appears to mostly be about the Battle of Earth as the agent claims to have a first-hand account of Tony Stark’s sacrifice, even though he was “6,000 feet away” at the time. From that far away, we doubt the agent saw Strange give Tony the “one way” gesture or knew its significance.
Strange’s decision happened five years before on Titan, but there’s a way this book might have contained the details of it. The book also includes “a conversation with Hawkeye” and if any Avenger was annoyed at Strange’s decision, it would be him.
Hawkeye lost his entire family for five years due to Strange’s call, so it’s easy to imagine him mentioning Strange’s decision and the fact it was supposedly the only way. After all, it’s not like Hawkeye would be chatting about his vigilante ways as Ronin, so he would have to have something else to talk about.
In the same way a quote from an interview can make its way around the real world, it’s easy to imagine somebody picking up on this and it going viral. We might be speculating, but if you want an answer to how everybody knows everything about the Avengers, it’s as good as you’re going to get (probably).
There was a similar mystery from the Hawkeye show where Captain America’s iconic “I can do this all day” line featured in Rogers: The Musical. At the time, composer and co-lyricist Marc Shaiman gave Inverse a similar answer to this I Was There… solution.
“We just figured in the universe, people writing a musical or writing a book or writing a magazine article would’ve done their due diligence and homework and interviewed people who had been there,” he explained.
“Perhaps, even in things that we’ve never seen, members of the Avengers had actually given interviews about this or that. There was a certain amount of liberty about that. Maybe Natasha in some interview on CNN might have said: ‘Oh, you know this guy, he’s always like, I could do this all day.’ It could have come up somehow.”
Maybe Strange’s “only way” decision could have made it into Rogers: The Musical Which, we assume, went all the way through to the Battle of Earth. Perhaps ‘The Only Way’ was a dramatic number in the second act, before a triumphant finale set at the final battle.
Shaiman certainly felt that the events of Avengers: Endgame would have made it into Rogers: The Musical.
“The very moving ending and the romantic fact that he chose to grow old so that he could have his great love affair… it’s beautiful. That would make a gorgeous musical,” he speculated.
So maybe we’re not as far out with this explanation as you’d think.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is coming to Disney+ on June 22, while Ms Marvel is available to watch now.
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