In the fourth episode of What If...?, we visited a reality where Doctor Strange lost Christine Palmer in the crash that destroyed his hands. While his story initially played out the same way (this Sorcerer Supreme also defeated Dormammu, for example), the timeline branched when the hero decided to use the Time Stone to bring back the woman he loved.
Unfortunately, Christine's death is an "Absolute Point" in time that cannot be changed in this universe. Doing so would risk the very fabric of reality itself, but that doesn't stop Strange.
After absorbing dark forces beyond his control, the corrupted Master of the Mystic Arts repeatedly tries to bring Christine back, ultimately dooming his reality. Imprisoned with nothing but his failings to keep him company, "Strange Supreme" is eventually freed by The Watcher to join his Guardians of the Multiverse.
Later returned to that pocket dimension to watch over Erik Killmonger and Arnim Zola after Infinity Ultron were defeated, the door was definitely left open to him returning...and that's apparently going to happen in What If...? season 2.
The news comes from a reliable scooper who has also cast some doubt on the recently revealed episode titles. In case it wasn't obvious, they're more akin to premises but the one suggesting we're getting a musical version of WandaVision is reportedly incorrect. With that in mind, we'd take all of them with a pinch of salt.
Talking about the Emmy-nominated episode "What if...Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead Of His Hands?" director Bryan Andrews previously said, "Benedict Cumberbatch did an amazing job playing evil Doctor Strange, and that was long before Multiverse of Madness was really getting started."
"The film's creative team] had kernels of ideas, so Kevin [Feige] had them watch our stuff and was like, 'You guys better watch out, cause this shit's good.' And they came out of that meeting just going like, 'Oh my God, what are we gonna do for a movie?' [Laughs] I think they borrowed a lot from what we were trying to do in that episode, which is crazy."
What If...?'s influence on Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was obvious, though many fans were disappointed not to get a more direct crossover especially as the live-action movie also featured a similarly twisted take on the Sorcerer Supreme.