Sam Raimi’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness may debut a brand new Marvel character who can change the power levels in the MCU in the Living Tribunal. Benedict Cumberbatch will return as the franchise’s primary sorcerer in the upcoming Marvel Studios sequel. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness already boasts a stellar ensemble cast, but the film may also see the arrival of more surprise players who can significantly impact MCU’s future.
The events of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness are set up by what happened in Spider-Man: No Way Home. Doctor Strange’s decision to help Peter Parker (Tom Holland) results in serious consequences concerning the state of the multiverse. As the film’s premiere inches near, Marvel Studios is making one last marketing push for the sequel without revealing too much about its storyline. But a brand new TV spot may have spoiled that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will feature one of, if not the most powerful characters in Marvel Comics — The Living Tribunal.
The Living Tribunal may have been spotted in a Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness promo clip as Doctor Strange and America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) travel through various realities. Thanks to its three heads, the creature is easy to recognize, and considering the primary premise of the Raimi-directed flick, his involvement makes sense. Assuming that it is indeed the Living Tribunal in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, his arrival in the MCU will shift the power levels in the franchise. Per Marvel Comics, he is the supreme judge of all reality who was introduced in “The End of the Ancient One!” in Strange Tales #157 by Stan Lee and Marie Severin. The Living Tribunal is created by One-Above-All to protect the multiverse from any potential doom. Unlike other characters, there’s only one Living Tribunal in the vast multiverse. His “judgment” supersedes anything, including the combined power of the Infinity Stones.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness may be the first time the Living Tribunal will physically appear in the MCU, but it won’t be the first time that he is referenced. In the original Doctor Strange film by Scott Derrickson, Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) explains a weapon found in Kamar-Taj called “The Staff of the Living Tribunal” to the Masters of Mystic Arts’ new recruit, Stephen Strange. It remains to be seen if it has any connection to the cosmic entity, but Marvel Studios can easily use that detail to strengthen their interconnected storytelling. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo also thought about introducing the Living Tribunal in Avengers: Endgame. According to writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, the idea was to send Thanos to the Living Tribunal, who would judge him guilty of all his crimes. The scene was scrapped, however.
It’s safe to assume that the Living Tribunal’s arrival in the universe will be an important factor in the MCU’s future. Still, it’s possible that his potential involvement in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness won’t be anything more than a cameo. The film is already packed as it is, and adding another big player could backfire. Nonetheless, with the entity’s existence effectively established, it will be easy to incorporate him into the franchise’s upcoming storytelling.