Now that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is on Disney+ for everyone to enjoy, I want to talk about a huge aspect of the movie that I still can’t decide if I like or hate: the Darkhold. If this was the last time we see or hear the book mentioned, that would be a shame. The book is not only incredibly powerful but has the potential to connect a wider universe of characters and introduce them to the MCU.
The Darkhold really caught my attention after WandaVision ended, and much like Wanda Maximoff, I wanted to learn more about it. So naturally, I picked up some comics focused on it. Vin’s amazing and very detailed Darkhold Reading Guide has been incredibly helpful in my search for information.
[Warning: Some spoiler discussion for Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness below.]
The seeming destruction of the Darkhold
In Multiverse of Madness, when Sara (Sheila Atim) destroyed the Darkhold and Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) destroyed Wundagore, I was shocked. It seemed like The Darkhold was going to be a character itself post-WandaVision and would have a future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If it was supposed to have a larger presence in the sequel, its time was disappointingly very short.
The destruction of The Darkhold made no sense to me. The pages are supposed to be indestructible as well, so this has left me wondering if we could ever see it again.
Other Darkhold users in Marvel comics
In the comics, Wanda isn’t the only person who’s used the Darkhold. The ancient book has a long history on Earth and has traveled all over. In Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme (1989) #9-13, after the elder god Chthon wrote the Darkhold, he left it on Earth to always have a connection to the realm it’s in.
Atlantians first used the Darkhold to create Varnae, the first vampire. In the middle ages, Mephisto used it to imprison a demon named Darklove. Then in the 17th century, the Vatican had possession of the book causing Dracula to send someone to steal it. Dracula never ended up with the book, instead, Cagliostro got it (Doctor Strange Sorcerer Supreme: Curse of the Darkhold Part 6).
By the 1930s a man named Gregor Russoff acquired the Darkhold. Gregor read the origins of werewolves section and after reading it he became a werewolf himself. Gregor is one of Jack Russell’s (aka Werewolf by Night) ancestors (Werewolf by Night #3, 15).
In the 1992 comic Darkhold: Pages from the Book of Sins, Darkhold pages were scattered around the globe. Interpol agent Sam Buchanan, occultist Dr. Louise Hastings, and Victoria Montesi- whose family was historically tasked with safeguarding the book went on a mission to find pages of the Darkhold.
Could we see a return of the Book of the Damned?
All of this reading up on the comics made me wonder if there are protected versions of the Darkhold or even their pages across the MCU multiverse. If there are still pages this would be a cool way to connect other supernatural characters or groups like the Midnight Suns and Blade to each other in the MCU.
In Multiverse of Madness, when Wong (Benedict Wong) said the book was a copy, I was again shocked. I know that there is more than one copy of the Darkhold in the comics, but having it acknowledged in the MCU is something else.
This could also explain how there was a version of the Darkhold in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Runaways. Now that the multiverse is open, any Marvel property could be canon. This does make me wonder if the version Wanda destroyed is really the true Darkhold or not?
Possible repercussions from Multiverse of Madness
Now that the MCU’s version of The Darkhold and the Book of Vishanti are gone, there could also be negative effects on magic and the supernatural in the MCU. Spells that were already cast from either book could potentially be reversed.
For example, in the past, there was a spell Doctor Strange and Blade used to kill all vampires in Doctor Strange (1974) #59-62, 67 (The Montesi Formula). Could a spell like this be undone?
As far as we know, Agatha has had the book in her possession for hundreds of years. We don’t know what spells she cast or how she used the book at that time. Hopefully, Agatha: House of Harkness will explore a piece of the Darkhold’s past in the MCU.
Something I did like in Multiverse of Madness was that Mount Wundagore had a magical purpose and was more than just “a place from the comics.” It was something that works in the MCU and holds meaning to fans of the comics.
While I would’ve liked to see Wundagore be a peaceful place for Wanda later on since it is where she was born in the comics, I think it was interesting that it was the original copy of the Darkhold.
Wanda exiled herself to Wundagore after the events of House of M for years and didn’t come back until after the events of Young Avengers: The Children’s Crusade (See the Scarlet Witch Reading Guide for more about that!)
Overall I’m not thrilled with the use of the Darkhold in Multiverse of Madness. I hope that upcoming projects like Werewolf by Night, Agatha: House of Harkness, and Blade will tell us more about it. Hopefully, the folks at Marvel have something in mind to use The Darkhold again, especially considering it has so much potential to connect a much wider universe of characters.
What did you think about the Darkhold in Multiverse of Madness? Do you think it will show up again? Let’s talk about it over on Twitter and make sure to follow us for more Marvel news and content.