A Closer Look At Clea, Charlize Theron’s Magical MCU ‘Doctor Strange’ Character


From Reed Richards to the return of Professor X, Sam Raimi’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” featured a slew of surprising cameos throughout its two-hour runtime, including a surprise appearance from Charlize Theron in the scene of half credits.

Although she never shows up, a little investigation reveals that Theron’s MCU character is named Clea. She is seen in an all-purple wizard outfit and carrying a color-matched energy knife. She approaches Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in the middle of a busy New York street and tells him that his multiverse-jumping actions have caused another “incursion” – a disastrous event when two universes collide. Clea then opens a portal to the Dark Dimension, asking Strange to join her to repair the damage before they jump together.

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Theron’s casting as Clea remained a mere rumor in the weeks leading up to the film’s recent release. On Tuesday, the “Mad Max” actress officially confirmed her role with an Instagram post of Clea’s makeup paired with the simple caption, “Meet Clea.”

At the end of “Multiverse of Madness,” a title card assures viewers that Doctor Strange will return. . . and presumably with Clea in tow.

In anticipation of her return to the screen, here’s a look at the witch’s origins and possible future in the MCU:

Who is Clea?

Clea is the daughter of Prince Orini – the son of Olnar, who was the former ruler of the Dark Dimension – and Umar, the twin sister of the primordial villain Dormammu. If that name sounds familiar to you, it’s because we met it in the first “Doctor Strange,” when the good Doctor trapped Dormammu in a time loop before giving in and agreeing to leave Earth alone. So yes, he’s Clea’s uncle. The witch endured a troubling childhood when her own mother abandoned the family after a rift with her brother and Orini pledging allegiance to Dormammu.

What does this mean for the MCU? It’s unclear exactly how closely the films will follow the original text, but in the 1964 Dr. Strange comic, “The Domain of the Dread Dormammu!”, Clea meets Strange for the first time, takes a liking to him, and attempts to save his life during his mission to defeat Dormammu. Clea’s efforts, however, are unsuccessful and she is subsequently imprisoned for her betrayal. She is eventually released at the behest of Strange, who also asks Dormammu not to invade planet Earth after the unlikely pair team up to fight the Mindless Ones.

Clea’s bitter tension with her family is also central to her story in later adventures. After Dormammu is defeated for good and ousted from the Dark Dimension, a battle for the throne ensues between Clea and her mother Umar – who, mind you, once threw her own daughter into another dimension. Clea later emerges as the new ruler of the Dark Dimension and the new Sorcerer Supreme after gaining some serious sorcery skills from her predecessor.

A versatile companion?

In the movies, Stephen longs for all the multiverse versions of Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams), a fellow doctor but not a wizard. In “Multiverse of Madness”, he even confesses to Earth-838 Christine that he loves her, though this is said as a farewell, knowing that they cannot be together. With the introduction of Clea, Stephen may not be so in love anymore.

In the comics, when Clea leaves the Dark Dimension and moves to Earth (specifically New York City), she becomes Strange’s official disciple in the mystic arts when he eventually becomes the Sorcerer Supreme (what happens? he to Wong?!). The couple’s student-teacher relationship quickly turns into a full-fledged romance. The couple eventually marry and magically seal the deal with a mystical binding document. Much later, Clea herself becomes Sorcerer Supreme.

“[Doctor Strange and Clea] have a lot of great comic book adventures, and we knew we wanted to showcase it. But it felt like we had to close the book, to some extent, on his love affair with Christine Palmer – Rachel McAdams’ character – and so Doctor Strange hears this wisdom from Christine to face his fears and being open to liking someone,” “Doctor Strange 2” screenwriter Michael Waldron said in an interview with Deadline.

“And then comes Clea, and I guess we’ll see what happens next between the two of them,” he added.

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