Doctor Strange 2 Rumored Villain Explained: Who Is Nightmare?

Nightmare could be making his way to the MCU as the villain in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Here's his comic book backstory.

Doctor Strange and Nightmare

Nightmare, the ruler of a terrifying realm in the Dream Dimension, could soon be making his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The supervillain is primarily connected to Doctor Strange but he has decades worth of history tormenting various figures within Marvel Comics.

Nightmare was first introduced in 1963 in Strange Tales #110, the first issue to feature Doctor Strange. A demon with white skin, black soulless eyes and long hair (initially green but later changed to black), Nightmare wore a green bodysuit equipped with a raggedy cape. He traveled the realm using his demonic black-horned horse, Dreamstalker.

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Although Nightmare could be defeated, he could never truly be destroyed. As long as there are dreamers in the universe, he will retain his powers. As a result, Nightmare was viewed as a deity and amassed a number of followers that acted as his guards and did some of his biddings. Even without protection, the character has always been considered one of the more dangerous villains in Marvel Comics. Here's everything you need to know about the Doctor Strange 2 villain.

Nightmare's Comic Origin

Nightmare in Doctor Strange Marvel comic

Much of Nightmare's origin in Marvel Comics was shrouded in mystery but, over time, details surrounding the supervillain was unearthed. Nightmare was born in the Everinnye dimension, a universe where the Dweller-in-Darkness originated. Nightmare ruled the Nightmare Realm within the Dream Dimension. The evil demonic entity fathered three children, Dreamqueen, Terrence Ward, and Daydream. Terrence, who later went by Trauma, was conceived after Nightmare used a man as a vessel to impregnate a woman named Naomi. Dreamqueen and Daydream were both born after Nightmare raped multiple women.

Debuting in the same issue, Nightmare was Doctor Strange’s first major foe in Marvel Comics. The demon trapped the sorcerer in the dreams of a businessman haunted by a murder he’d committed, hoping the killer would end Strange once and for all to keep his secret. The Ancient One later helped free Doctor Strange from this dimension. Following this first encounter, Nightmare made it his mission to defeat Doctor Strange, so he started trapping others in the Nightmare Realm to gain intel on his enemy. Strange, meanwhile, became an expert in how to rescue and free those stuck in Nightmare's dimension. The sorcerer even learned to cast a spell to protect himself as he slept, knowing that he was Nightmare's main target.

Related: Marvel Is Retconning Scarlet Witch For Doctor Strange 2

At one point, Nightmare joined the Fear Lords, a group of creatures that fed on fear and had a shared mission of causing "The Great Fear" to take over Earth. Doctor Strange managed to slow down the efforts. Daredevil was then summoned to help stop the Fear Lords as he was said to be "a man without fear." He also tormented a number of other major Marvel characters including Peter Parker, Hulk, Ghost Rider, and Captain America, and would go on to appear during Secret Invasion, Civil War, and Chaos War.

Nightmare's Comic Powers & Weaknesses

Nightmare, Nightstalker, Dr. Strange

As a Class Three Demon, Nightmare had the power to capture a person's astral form while they were sleeping. He would then bring them to his Nightmare Realm where he would torment his victims in any way he chose. Most of the population was unaware of Nightmare's existence, which made them susceptible to torture. His ultimate goal was to transport the entire waking world into his realm.

Nightmare was said to be omnipresent but he could only target beings who were asleep. If the human race would stop dreaming, Nightmare would cease to exist. Further, Nightmare's powers were weakened when used outside of his dimension but he was still able to torment his victims through other means. The terror he used in the Nightmare Realm often affected his victims long after they woke up. Whether it was visions or hallucinations, the long-term effects from the nightmares continued to manipulate through waking hours.

He also had the ability to draw powers from psychic energies of the minds from dreaming humans. He could forcibly enter the mind of others and take control of their bodies, which is how he fathered a few of his children. Considering the men weren't in control of their own bodies, the manipulation of the women was deemed to be nonconsensual. This was what he did with Hulk as he was an easy target to corrupt due to his unstable behavior. Nightmare's influence caused Hulk, and others, to go on violent rampages.

Related: How Marvel Could Make Hulk An MCU Phase 4 Villain

For all his powers, Nightmare didn't have great fighting skills, but he was wildly intelligent. He was also described to contain stellar strength and durability. If deemed necessary, Nightmare could summon other members of his realm for extra protection, as well as his black-winged steed, Dreamstalker. As for a weapon, Nightmare used the Mystic Prod, a wand that could generate a maze that was impossible to escape from.

Nightmare In Doctor Strange 2

Doctor Strange 2 Multiverse Of Madness Logo

Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson has long stated that he has interest in using Nightmare and the Dream Dimension in the sequel, officially titled Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and due for release on May 7, 2021. There has been no official indication since on whether or not Nightmare will appear in the movie, but given the returning director's interest, it seems very likely. Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch will also be part of the story, which follows on from her Disney+ series, WandaVision.

Next: What Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness' Title Means

Key Release Dates
  • Black Widow (2020) release date: May 01, 2020
  • Eternals (2020) release date: Nov 06, 2020
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) release date: Feb 12, 2021
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021) release date: May 07, 2021
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2021) release date: Nov 05, 2021
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