Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Doctor Strange in the multiverse of Madness.
A detail from Doctor Strange showed how he was able to defeat the Scarlet Witch 6 years later in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Sam Raimi’s return to making superhero films in Doctor Strange: The Multiverse of Madness led to the fact that Dr. Stephen Strange almost met his rival. Faced with seemingly insurmountable difficulties, Strange was eventually forced to defeat the Darkhold-corrupted version of Earth-838 before using the book to dream into another of his corpses and save America from the Scarlet Witch atop Mount Wundagor. Despite the fact that Doctor Strange from Earth-616 interacted with the Darkhold version only for a short period of time, it was confirmed that his destructive powers work quickly as Strange’s third eye is revealed during the closing scenes of Doctor Strange 2.
The Darkhold itself is a foreboding volume filled with sinister spells, incantations, and dark magical information, making the audience rightly wonder how long both the Scarlet Witch and Doctor Strange had to study it (and master its spells). “Doctor Strange in the multiverse of Madness” hints that Wanda was slowly poisoned by the Darkhold for quite some time, but it seems that Strange only held the Darkhold for a few hours, using it to make a particularly difficult dream journey — there was barely enough time to learn all its secrets. However, a forgotten detail of Doctor Strange holds the key to how he will eventually defeat the Scarlet Witch.
In Doctor Strange, it is said that Strange had an eidetic (or photographic) memory. This helped him master the mystical arts quickly, but one detail in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness also showed that it helped him defeat the Scarlet Witch. It is implied that a moment before Vishanti’s Book was destroyed, Strange saw the shape of a star on its pages. Knowing about Chavez’s America’s ability to create star-shaped portals to other worlds, Strange realized that the book’s solution to stopping the Scarlet Witch was to use these abilities. Given that he had little time to look through the pages of the book, it would be fair to say that this was only possible thanks to his photographic memory, which directly contributed to Strange’s victory in Doctor Strange 2.
Photographic memory allowed Strange to defeat the Scarlet Witch
Of course, this wasn’t the only use of Doctor Strange’s eidetic memory in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. He also used it after gaining control of another Doctor Strange’s copy of the Darkhold. Despite the fact that time was short, he learned to enter the corpse of himself in his own universe in a dream, while remaining physically in another universe. Wanda Maximoff achieved similar and even more impressive results when she got acquainted with The Dark Fortress, but she had more time to read it. Screenwriter Michael Waldron also in an interview with THR where he said, “We’re not going to the day after that [Wandavision]; that’s for sure. So it’s definitely long enough to really hook her up.” Thus, only Strange’s eidetic memory allowed him to memorize the Darkhold and the pages of the Book of Vishanti at a glance, which gave him a clear advantage over the enemy.
There’s an extra dark undertone to the way Dr. Strange defeated Wanda Maximoff. The speed at which he learned to use the power of the Darkhold could well match the speed at which the Book of the Damned began to influence him. The final scene of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, where the third eye of Doctor Strange appeared, certainly confirms this theory. Even though all copies of the Darkhold have been destroyed, Dr. Strange’s eidetic memory could well mean that the power of the book has been preserved in his mind, which probably signals problems for Dr. Strange and the rest of the MCU as the remainder of Phase 4 unfolds.