Benedict Cumberbatch and Elizabeth Olsen speak at the premiere of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in New York City

MIDTOWN, Manhattan – Give Marvel fans a movie called Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and true believers know exactly what to expect. But the rest of us might be wondering what exactly is a multiverse?

Well, Benedict Cumberbatch is here to help, as the star explained the concept to Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest on their popular “Live” show this week.

“Imagine that in parallel, another very similar, not at all similar, reality is happening,” he said.

His performance was part of a promotion that led him to a premiere Thursday night at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Midtown Manhattan.

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Cumberbatch was rehearsing for his hosting gig on Saturday Night Live, so the party came to him, and the 65th-floor location was an elevator ride from his prep location.

The role of Doctor Strange has proved popular for the star, and the character’s pivotal role in Spider-Man: No Way Home helped that film gross $1.89 billion worldwide.

He said getting people to go back to the movies was helpful.

“I think that’s a rolling sequel to that,” he said. “These are films that are made to be experienced collectively in an exhibition space, in a cinema.”

The new film also showcases the talents of Elizabeth Olsen, who arrives from the hit Disney+ series WandaVision and reprises the role of the same character, this time back on the big screen.

“It was really amazing to play her as this confident woman with this clarity and power now, being this mythical woman, this Scarlett Witch,” she said. “And I get to milk it a lot in this movie.”

RELATED | Director Sam Raimi brings multiple Marvel universes together in Doctor Strange

She laughed as she thought about all the over the top moments in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Olsen graduated from New York University’s famed Tisch School of the Arts, but her post-graduation career came as a surprise even to her.

“I thought I would do a lot more theater and the occasional independent film,” she said.

It was a 2011 independent film, Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene – she played all four characters – that served as Olsen’s film debut and our introduction to her talent.

It’s the kind of talent that’s seen only a few times in a generation, and it’s her talent that makes this new film so worth seeing.

“To have a good time and be entertained and be scared and go for a ride,” she said.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is from Marvel Studios, which is owned by the same parent company as this ABC network.

RELATED | Benedict Wong calls the role of “Sorcerer Supreme” a dream come true

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Dais Johnston

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