In just a matter of months Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe begins with Captain America: Civil War. A few months later the first new origin story of Phase 3 takes place, introducing Doctor Stephen Vincent Strange, an important character of the franchise’s future.
Doctor Strange is already weeks into production and over the last few days the first official images of star Benedict Cumberbatch in costume were released alongside details of the film’s supporting characters and magical elements. The most intriguing of which is the Eye of Agamotto – the source of Doctor Strange’s many powers.
Marvel Studios and director Scott Derrickson are faithfully adapting the outlandish design of Doctor Strange’s costume and visual elements. Just take a close look at the EW cover reveal below and pay special attention to the amulet on Strange’s chest.
This item is the Eye of Agamotto, a central part of the Doctor Strange character in Marvel Comics that has mysterious origins tied to powerful mystical beings. In the MCU, it will be equally as powerful but from what Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige says about it, we have a feeling it’ll be a bit different.
“In this film, the Eye [of Agamotto] is a very important relic that can be quite dangerous if used in the wrong hands, because it has the ability to do any number of things, the most dangerous of which is, it can sort of manipulate probabilities. Which is also another way of saying, ‘screw around with time’ — which is part of our story.”
By “screw around with time,” Feige is hinting that the Doctor Strange movie may deal with some form of time-travel. We reported previously that Doctor Strange may feature a prologue set in 1968 so perhaps that has something to do with it. Of course, for Marvel fans, this immediately raises speculation that Feige could be hinting that the Eye of Agamotto is housing the Time Stone, one of the remaining two Infinity Stones yet to be introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Note the green color of the gem-like object in the center of the Eye. We’ll return to that later.
There are six Infinity Stones in total and so far, they’ve served as the primary all-powerful MacGuffins used as the connective thread between all of Marvel’s films and stories. The Collector’s description of the Infinity Stones from Guardians of the Galaxy:
“Before creation itself, there were six singularities, then the universe exploded into existence and the remnants of this system were forged into concentrated ingots… Infinity Stones.”
Is it really that obvious though, that this is the fifth Infinity Stone? And how does the Eye of Agamotto connect to what we’ve seen before?
First, let’s recap some of the notable special artifacts introduced so far in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and where they are currently located:
- Space Stone – Blue in color, the Tesseract (Cosmic Cube) is currently located on Asgard where it was returned for safekeeping after the events of The Avengers.
- Mind Stone – Yellow in color, the Mind Stone was weaponized into a sceptre and given to Loki by Thanos to aid in his failed attack on Earth. It is later acquired by Hydra during the fall of S.H.I.E.L.D. and used by Ultron in the creation of of the new Avenger known as Vision where it currently sits attached to his forehead.
- Reality Stone – Red in color, the Reality Stone is actually a liquid that Malekith sought out to attack Asgard and Earth in Thor: The Dark World. It was recovered and given to The Collector to protect on the space station Knowhere.
- Power Stone – Purple in color, this stone was housed inside the Orb recovered by Peter Quill in Guardians of the Galaxy. After the Guardians recovered the Stone from Ronan they let the Nova Corps on the planet Xandar keep it in their vault.
The two remaining stones are the Time Stone and Soul Stone and it’s the latter that was carried by Doctor Strange in the Marvel Comics which makes the idea of the Time Stone possibly being in that movie different. If anything, the time-travel nature of Guardians of the Galaxy stories from the comics make its sequel the logical place to utilize the Time Stone. Of course, given the time-travel nature of the stone itself, there are creative ways to have it appear in more than one movie.
We do know that these last two Stones will be introduced within the next three years before Avengers: Infinity War begins in summer 2018. When it does, big bad villain Thanos will retrieve and assemble them all into the Infinity Gauntlet. And unlike the comics, there are two of magical gloves in the MCU.
- Left Gauntlet – on Thanos’ ship, equipped during the post-credits button scene of Avengers: Age of Ultron
- Right Gauntlet – in Odin’s vault on Asgard as seen in Thor
From the teaser footage of Phase 3 (image up top), it’s the left gauntlet that Thanos will use with all six gems inside them – the one he inexplicably already has. If we go by the image up top, there’s the green stone and the larger, heavenly looking one that goes on the back of the glove. The green one could very well be the stone inside the Eye of Agamotto. It’s either that or this is all just a big coincidence and Kevin Feige is intentionally throwing fans for a spin before the film releases.
As for the other Infinity Gauntlet, the one introduced in 2011’s original Thor, that could just ignored (we hope not) or it could be used by the heroes. Perhaps Thanos does acquire that one too. There’s another relevant object in that vault that could connect to Doctor Strange as well though: The Orb of Agamotto – an object that can be used to locate where magic is being used.
The Time Stone, as we know it in the comics, could be different in the films although it’d be strange for Marvel to toss aside the ultimate plot device of time travel which they can use to retcon any story and even bring back dead characters in the future (looking at you, Quicksilver).
Should The Eye of Agamotto Be An Infinity Stone?
While making the Eye of Agamotto an Infinity Stone provides an already established explanation for the origins of the relic’s powers, it diminishes the idea that there really is magic in the MCU. It also makes the larger universe feel smaller since everything special seems to stem only from the six Infinity Stones when in Marvel Comics, there’s so much more out there.
It may be the simplest and most obvious way for Marvel to connect the Sorcerer Supreme lineage to everything built in the MCU so far, but it would also potentially limit what other things can be explored long-term, beyond Phase 3 of the MCU. Also, how useful is Doctor Strange without his source of magic? Then again, the Eye of Agamotto may be entirely separate from the Infinity Stones. We’ll have to wait and see.
Doctor Strange, starring Benedict Cumberbatch (Black Mass, The Imitation Game), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave, The Martian), Rachel McAdams (Southpaw, Sherlock Holmes) and Michael Stuhlbarg (Steve Jobs, A Serious Man) with Mads Mikkelsen (Clash of the Titans, Casino Royale) and Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton, The Grand Budapest Hotel). The film is directed by Scott Derrickson (Sinister, The Exorcism of Emily Rose) and produced by Kevin Feige with Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Charles Newirth, Stephen Broussard and Stan Lee serving as executive producers.
Captain America: Civil War will release on May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man – July 28, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.