New Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness promotional artwork offers new looks at the villain in the new year's first Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. This art follows the film's first trailer's debut and poster reveal. Previous promotional artwork offered new looks at Doctor Strange and Baron Mordo. The film's villain is Gargantos, though some assumed he was Doctor Strange's better-known enemy Shuma-Gorath. In the Marvel Comics universe, Gargantos' only significant appearance is in a 1969 issue of Sub-Mariner. Despite the name, Gargantos in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness looks more like Shuma-Gorath. He also seems to fill a similar role as a multiverse threat rather than an aquatic one. The name change may be due to rights issues. Though Shuma-Gorathfirst appeared as a Doctor Strange antagonist in Marvel Premiere #10 in 1973, his name comes from Robert E. Howard's short story "The Curse of the Golden Skull."
It seemed unproblematic at the time since Marvel held the legal rights to publish comics based on Howard's Conan the Barbarian. Shuma-Gorath even appeared in the Marvel vs. Capcom video game series. However, those rights later lapsed, complicating the use of characters shared between the Marvel Universe and Howard's mythos for years. Also, whatever agreement Marvel had at the time was unlikely to have covered film rights. Marvel Comics regained the rights to publish Conan the Barbarian comics in 2018. Those rights may be on the wane as video game publisher Funcom recently purchased the rights to Robert E. Howard's works outright, potentially further complicating the issue.
In Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, after the events of Avengers: Endgame, Dr. Stephen Strange continues his research on the Time Stone. But an old friend turned enemy seeks to destroy every sorcerer on Earth, messing with Strange's plan and also causing him to unleash an unspeakable evil.
Sam Raimi directs Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness from a script written by Jade Halley Bartlett and Michael Waldron. The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, Benedict Wong as Wong, Rachel McAdams as Christine Palmer, Chiwetel Ejiofor as Baron Mordo, Elizabeth Olsen as the Scarlet Witch, and Xochitl Gomez as Miss America.
What do you think of Gargantos seemingly filling in for Shuma-Gorath in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness? Let us know how you feel about it in the comments section below. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness opens in theaters on May 6th (assuming it doesn't face the same fate as Morbius).