Some fans feel that there's been a lack of planning on Marvel Studios' part in Phase 4, hence the lack of connectivity between recent movies and TV shows. We don't know if that's deliberate, a result of COVID, or the fact that the studio is stretched thin between its movies and Disney+ projects. Whatever the case may be, it feels like they need to start making future MCU plans a little clearer.
What If...? took us into the Multiverse, but Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness didn't really reference the show in a significant way. The movie's Captain Carter appeared to be another Variant, while that sinister Doctor Strange was not the animated show's Supreme Variant.
Talking to IGN, writer Michael Waldron was asked whether What If...? influenced the Doctor Strange sequel. "Well, I was definitely aware of What If...?. I think when I came on [the movie], the Doctor Strange episode of What If...? was still in the animatic phase,” he recalls. "But I watched that and knew what they were doing, which was more helpful to me that [executive producer] Ashley Bradley had focused on Strange and Christine's relationship [in the episode]."
"I knew I wanted to focus on that as the heart of his emotional story in our movie. It didn't necessarily affect the multiverse. But it does represent one more cautionary tale of a time that is Stephen Strange, somewhere in the multiverse, has gone bad and ruined a universe. And I think that's part of what our Strange is wrestling with by the end of our movie, is this notion of weight, ‘Is every version of me fated to go bad and therefore, does that mean I'm going to go bad?’"
While What If...? certainly complimented Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it was a shame not to see some direct ties between the two. The site also made sure to ask Waldron if that Captain Carter Variant is the Peggy Carter we first met on Disney+ to which he replied, "I don't know. I'm reticent to canonize that either way. I hope not. I hope that's not the one. That'd be too bad."
Marvel Studios made a bold move by throwing a familiar character like Peggy into the mix as it risks confusing fans (the same can be said of having Mister Fantastic make his MCU debut this way). However, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness did a solid job of explaining the concept even for those who didn't see Loki or somehow missed Spider-Man: No Way Home last year.