It’s been a little over a month since Doctor Strange hit theaters. Since then, the Sorcerer Supreme has taken the world by storm, outgrossing the solo debuts of every other Marvel superhero to date, on its way to becoming a massive financial and critical success. Fans the world over have praised the films stunning visuals as well as star Benedict Cumberbatch’s portrayal of the titular doctor. Cumberbatch perfectly blends brilliance, arrogance, and humility to make Strange a compelling character very much in the vein of Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark, while not being overly similar.
Overall, Doctor Strange is a solid addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe that introduces more fascinating concepts than any of the films to come before it. From the mirror dimension, to the dark dimension, to the astral plane, to sling rings, to portals, to time travel, to immortality, to parallel universes, to the introduction of Dormammu himself, Doctor Strange offers a plethora of intriguing ideas and concepts that are certain to drastically impact all of the MCU films to follow it.
That said, here are 15 Ways Doctor Strange Has Completely Changed The MCU.
15. The Marvel Logo
The Marvel logo has been a staple of films featuring the company’s characters since long before the MCU began to take shape. Comic book panels rapidly shuffling across the screen before gradually dissolving into the company’s iconic logo have been prominently featured at the start of everything from 1998’s Blade to 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse. And while Marvel has added “Studios” to its logo in an attempt to differentiate its films from those produced by other studios, many casual moviegoers fail to see the difference, often thinking every film with the Marvel logo takes place within the MCU.
To further combat this problem, Marvel debuted a new logo at San Diego Comic Con 2016, and Doctor Strange was the first film to bear it. In the new logo, the comic book panels give way to scripts, then drawings of the MCU’s characters, and then finally scenes from the films themselves, beautifully showcasing the characters’ journeys from the page to the screen. Combined with an epic score, the logo is truly chilling, and will be the new template for all Marvel Studios films going forward.
14. No More Crippling Injuries
In the film, Stephen Strange is in a horrific car accident that probably should have killed him. Miraculously, he survives but with irreparable nerve damage to both of his hands. Refusing to believe the damage is permanent, Strange seeks out alternative means to repair his hands and is eventually led to Jonathan Pangborn, a paraplegic who somehow managed to walk again. Pangborn sends Strange to Kamar-Taj where he learns from the Ancient One that Pangborn was able to heal himself through the mystic arts.
This stunning revelation will certainly have lasting effects in the MCU going forward, especially since Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are constantly putting themselves in danger and are likely to suffer crippling injuries in the process. Case in point: James Rhodes. The biggest casualty in Captain America: Civil War by far, Rhodey is partially paralyzed after his War Machine suit takes a blast from Vision’s forehead and plummets hundreds of feet to the ground. The film ends with Tony Stark providing Rhodey with exoskeletal leg braces that allow him to walk again, but after Doctor Strange, it looks like he’d be much better off at Kamar-Taj.
13. No More World Hunger
During his training at Kamar-Taj, Stephen Strange demonstrates some remarkable abilities, including conjuring weapons out of thin air, creating portals (more on that later), and, apparently, ending world hunger. At one point in the film, Strange goes against the warnings of Wong and uses the Eye of Agamotto to push time forward and backward, causing an apple to rot and then regenerate before his very eyes. Strange is unaffected by the change in time and so it seems entirely possible that he could very well eat an apple, use the Eye of Agamotto to regenerate it, and eat it again. By doing this on a grander scale, Strange can rid the world of hunger.
If using the Eye of Agamotto is too much trouble, then Strange can simply conjure food out of thin air as he does in the film’s mid-credits scene. The Sorcerer Supreme offers Thor a cup of tea, which The God of Thunder declines. Then a glass of beer instantaneously appears at his side and he happily accepts. There are only three possibilities here: Strange transposed the beer from his own refrigerator (in which case he is lazy), he transposed it from someone else’s refrigerator (in which case he is a thief), or he conjured it from nothing. If Strange can conjure beer from nothing, then surely he can do the same for food.
12. The Avengers Just Doubled In Size
At no point in Doctor Strange does the Sorcerer Supreme actually join the Avengers, but since he is set to fight alongside them in The Avengers: Infinity War, it’s safe to assume he will eventually become an honorary member of the team. If being skilled in the mystic arts is all one needs to become an Avenger, then surely Wong makes the cut. And there are several others in the film that seem ready to avenge as well.
During the film’s many scenes at Kamar-Taj, Strange can be seen practicing alongside other trainees. It is later revealed that the Ancient One is several centuries old; she is the latest in a long line of Sorcerer Supremes, and that each Sorcerer Supreme spent their lives training others in the mystic arts. Even if we factor in the trainees who chose to use their magic for themselves (like Pangborn), those who turned to the dark side (like Kaecilius), and those who have died over the years, that still leaves what must be tens, if not hundreds of sorcerers in the world capable of fighting alongside the Avengers if the circumstance calls for it. When Thanos arrives, he’ll certainly have his hands full.
11. Sling Rings Allow for Instantaneous Travel
One of the earliest tasks Doctor Strange accomplishes during his time at Kamar-Taj is the ability to use his sling ring to create a portal and transport himself wherever he desires. Once he masters this skill, Strange is able to use his sling ring to borrow (though steal may be the more appropriate word) books from the library, and instantaneously transport himself across great distances. Considering the sheer number of times the Avengers could have used portals in past films, it’s safe to assume sling rings will be of great use in future films.
Got a nuke headed for New York City like during the climax of The Avengers? Have Doctor Strange sling it into space. Does Hawkeye need medical attention like he did after the opening of Avengers: Age of Ultron? Sling him to Avengers tower. Do Captain America and Bucky need to get to Siberia to thwart Zemo like they did at the end of Captain America: Civil War? Sling ’em. When faced with similar problems in the future, slinging them will be option number one.
10. Everyday Objects Can Be Magical Relics
During one of the training scenes at Kamar-Taj, we see Stephen Strange practice weapons combat with Baron Mordo. Strange conjures up a weapon out of thin air while Mordo uses what he calls a relic. He describes the item as having been imbued with magic. Later in the film, Strange comes across another relic in the form of the Cloak of Levitation, which takes a liking to him and even saves his life during the fight at the New York sanctum when it attacks one of Kaecilius’ henchmen.
The cloak clearly has a mind of its own, a fact that it displays throughout the rest of the film by helping Strange time and time again. This raises the question as to what are the limits when it comes to relics. Can anything be imbued with magic and given the ability to think and move on its own? If so, can a sorcerer imbus a sword with magic and cause it to fly around and impale anyone it likes? What about Captain America’s shield or Thor’s hammer? If a cloak can take out a villain, then surely Mjolnir can do far worse if given a mind of its own. The possibilities are endless, and terrifying.
9. Baron Mordo is on the loose, and he’s angry
The relationship between Stephen Strange and Baron Mordo is one of the more fascinating aspects of Doctor Strange, as the two go from complete strangers, to reluctant partners, to enemies over the course of the film. After the film’s climax, during which Strange uses the Eye of Agamotto to strike a bargain with Dormammu and save the world, Mordo’s disgust toward both Strange and the Ancient One for using the mystic arts to distort natural law bubbles to the surface and he turns his back on the new Sorcerer Supreme. Mordo then turns into a full-fledged villain in the post-credits scene when he attacks Jonathan Pangborn and declares that Earth has “too many sorcerers”.
Mordo could (and should) be a large presence in the MCU going forward, using his adept knowledge of the mystic arts to cause all sorts of chaos for Doctor Strange and the Avengers themselves. With an already-established aversion to those who pervert nature, perhaps Mordo’s disdain for sorcerers will grow to include the likes of Scarlet Witch, Hulk, and Thor, each of whom can be considered anything but natural. In a universe where compelling villains are few and far in between, an angry Mordo will be a welcomed addition.
8. The Mirror dimension offers endless possibilities
The mirror realm is one of the most intriguing elements introduced in Doctor Strange. Described by the Ancient One as a “safe space”, the mirror dimension is a place where sorcerers can practice the mystic arts without affecting the outside world. The implications of this statement on the MCU are huge, especially considering the entire plot of Captain America: Civil War hinged on the collateral damage caused by the Avengers during their many battles.
The next time the Avengers engage in battle, Doctor Strange need only place Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and their foes in the mirror realm until the fight reaches its conclusion, thereby sparing the world from the all-out destruction seen in many of the MCU’s films so far. As an added bonus, Doctor Strange and the Avengers do not need to win the battle to neutralize the threat. Even if the villains manage to kill off the Avengers and the Sorcerer Supreme, they won’t be able to escape the mirror dimension without a sling ring and the knowledge necessary to use it. Translation: the mirror dimension is awesome.
7. the astral plane makes doctor strange omnipotent
Though the mirror dimension is quite impressive, it pales in comparison to the astral plane, which appears to give those who enter it near-omnipotence. The full potential of the astral plane is first glimpsed during Doctor Strange’s stay at Kamar-Taj when he is seen in his astral form reading a book at the foot of the bed where his physical body sleeps. The implications of this shot are staggering. Doctor Strange has found a way to sharpen his mind while his body rests. This combined with the fact that he can interact with the physical world while in his astral form (as illustrated in the hospital fight scene in the film), means Doctor Strange can literally save the world in his sleep.
The Ancient One and Strange do one better just before the former’s death when they leave the emergency room to engage in a chat while overlooking the city. Time slows to a near-stop (a flash of lightning slowly crawling across the sky in the background indicating the passage of time) while the two discuss Strange’s fate and the concept of death. The Ancient One even states that their entire conversation takes place before Strange’s physical body can hit the floor in the other room. If Strange and the Avengers ever find themselves overwhelmed in a certain conflict, the Sorcerer Supreme can easily enter the astral plane to buy himself some time and figure out the best solution.
6. marvel can up the ante in future action sequences
As much as the MCU is known for its humor, its true bread and butter is its breathtaking action sequences, of which there have been many. The battle of New York in The Avengers, the final face off between the Avengers and Ultron’s army during the climax in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and the airport battle in Captain America: Civil War are just a few of the countless action sequences that have left audiences in awe. With the introductions of portals, the mirror dimension, and the astral plane in Doctor Strange, Marvel can push its action sequences to new and exciting heights.
Just imagine the possibilities if the Avengers someday find themselves locked in a battle in the mirror realm along with a team of villains while Doctor Strange and Baron Mordo bend the reality around them. Iron Man flying and Spider-Man swinging through a city folding in on itself is just one of the many dazzling visuals that await. An astral plane fight between Doctor Strange and Baron Mordo taking place within an Avengers confrontation would be equally amazing. There’s simply no telling what other kinds of action sequences Marvel will concoct now that Doctor Strange has entered the fold.
5. time travel exists
While the astral realm may give Doctor Strange near-omnipotence, the Eye of Agamotto makes him a straight-up god. The fact that Strange can reverse time around himself (and whomever else he chooses) will have astonishing effects on the MCU. He can literally go back and change events of the past, and while the film does suggest there are consequences to breaking natural laws, Strange does it anyway and there don’t seem to be any lasting effects.
Even if Strange chooses not to go back in time and change the past, the Eye of Agamotto gives him unlimited mulligans in the future. If Strange and the Avengers somehow find themselves on the losing end of a fight, he can simply turn back time and start things all over again. In fact, he could even reverse time around himself and the Avengers and then have everyone place themselves in key positions for victory. If a resurrected Red Skull (it could happen) is getting the better of Captain America, then Strange can just reverse time around Cap and have him stand behind Red Skull with a punch at the ready once time resumes. It’s really an unfair fight to be honest.
4. multiple universes exist
When Doctor Strange first arrives at Kamar-Taj, he is admittedly skeptical of the mystic arts, believing the Ancient One must have deduced a scientific way of healing Jonathan Pangborn’s back. In return, the Ancient One knocks Strange out of his physical body before sending him on an inter-dimensional journey during which he glimpses the multiverse. Despite it being present in the comics for quite some time, this is the first time the multiverse has been mentioned within the MCU, and that’s a big deal.
The existence of multiple universes allows Marvel to take the MCU (or should we call it the MCM?) in exciting new directions. In addition to sending characters to different realms and dimensions, they can now visit different universes entirely. This also allows for beings from other universes to visit Earth-199999 (the Earth in the MCU), creating the opportunity for fights between heroes and their doppelgangers, the addition of new characters not yet introduced, and countless other conflicts. Since Marvel plans to keep the MCU going for many more years to come, it only makes sense that they add other universes to the mix.
3. immortality exists
The Ancient One’s age is the source of much confusion in Doctor Strange. Baron Mordo tells Strange that she is several hundred years old, though he does not specify that number at all. Kaecilius then tells Strange that the Ancient One owes her long life to taking energy from the Dark Dimension. Having read the same text that Kaecilius stole, Strange believes him and confronts the Ancient One, who denies it. During the battle between Strange, Mordo, and Kaecilius in the mirror dimension, however, it’s revealed that the Ancient One has indeed been doing just that.
Considering Strange is the new Sorcerer Supreme by the film’s end, it stands to reason that he has access to all of the Ancient One’s books and, by extension, is capable of also taking energy from the dark dimension to extend his own life. Since Strange had no problem reversing time (to save the freaking world, mind you), we can assume he’ll have no problem becoming immortal if it means continuing to protect the planet. It’s also possible that he’ll choose to extend the lifetimes of those around him. That means Christine Palmer, Wong, the Avengers, and anyone else Strange chooses could be looking at long, long, long lives ahead of them.
2. anyone can be a sorcerer
The criteria for being a sorcerer is iffy at best. On the one hand, there is plenty of talk of Stephen Strange being naturally gifted and somehow destined to be the Sorcerer Supreme. On the other, Jonathan Pangborn was just a guy trying to fix his broken back. Were Pangborn and all of the other trainees at Kamar-Taj drawn to the mystic arts by some sort of divine intervention? Or are the tools for being a sorcerer simply strong motivation and acute study habits?
If the latter, then what’s to stop someone like Tony Stark or Bruce Banner from becoming sorcerers? Both are on par with Strange in terms of intelligence, and both would surely be motivated once exposed to the potential of the mystic arts. The self-obsessed Stark would most definitely be interested in extending his lifetime through energy from the dark dimension, and Bruce Banner would be equally interested in using the mystic arts to control the Hulk. And if for some reason the two of them have character issues that keep Strange from training them, then surely Captain America and Thor have the necessary moral fiber. Both of them armed with their current skills plus knowledge of the mystic arts would be quite the formidable opponents for anyone looking to attack Earth in the future.
1. dormammu is coming
Despite being bested by Doctor Strange at the end of the film, it is a near-certainty that Dormammu will be the big baddie in Marvel phase 4 and beyond. Firstly, the character is simply too interesting to not have him return in future Marvel films. Secondly, based on the MCU’s current path with Thanos trying to capture the infinity gauntlet and stones, a Dormammu return is all but guaranteed.
The fact of the matter is that at some point in Phase 3, Thanos will gain possession of the gauntlet and all six stones, including the Eye of Agamotto. When the Avengers defeat the Mad Titan, it’s possible they will be forced to destroy the gauntlet and stones in the process. With the Eye of Agamotto gone, it will only be a matter of time before Dormammu comes knocking. Considering the many ways he was able to kill Doctor Strange over and over again in the dark dimension during the film’s climax, there’s no telling just what he’ll do when he finally makes his way to Earth.
Are there any other ways Doctor Strange has completely changed the MCU? Let us know in the comments.