Okay, so it hasn't been officially announced yet, but considering that Doctor Strange, the 14th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has already racked up nearly $350 million at the global box office (and that it's sitting atop a 90% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes), it's all but guaranteed that a sequel will be in the works soon. Audiences have made it clear that they want to see more of Benedict Cumberbatch's surreal sorcerer, and while he's already been confirmed for an appearance in Avengers: Infinity War, it's now a surefire bet that a Doctor Strange 2 can't be far behind.
But after the wild, wacky, extradimensional exploits that we saw in Doctor Strange, where could the sorcerer's next chapter take us that could possibly top his first solo adventure? The truth is, Stephen Strange's origin only begins to crack open the can of worms that is the Marvel multiverse. Things are only going to get, well... stranger, from here on out. For a preview on what direction Doctor Strange might fly off to next, here are 15 Things We Want To See In Doctor Strange 2.
15 Bring Back The Same Creative Team
Many entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe have a very similar tone, with all of the movies fitting into a cohesive whole; they're all just small parts of a bigger picture. While the same is true of Doctor Strange to an extent, this film had a task more similar to that of Guardians of the Galaxy, and Thor before it, though it was arguably even more ambitious than either. The team of Doctor Strange had to create an entire multiverse, come up with a believable depiction of magic, and somehow integrate this mystical new viewpoint into the science-and-realism-heavy Marvel Cinematic Universe that we knew before.
That's no easy feat. But despite the odds, the team of director Scott Derrickson, writers Jon Spaihts and C. Robert Cargill, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tilda Swinton, and everyone else involved managed to score an A+. Doctor Strange has changed Marvel's picture in a huge way. Moving forward, as Strange's story will certainly get increasingly weird, what's going to be important is consistency. There's a certain look, feel, and tone to the world that Derrickson and company created, and in order for the viewers to stay anchored, it's important to keep the core consistent. This way, we don't end up with a generic sequel like Thor: The Dark World, which never really delivered on the promises of its more ambitious predecessor.
14 A More Mature, Experienced Stephen Strange
It's fun watching an inexperienced Stephen Strange struggle to get a grip on the mystical world suddenly surrounding him. It's also important for thematic reasons: to connect to Stephen, and to believe in his transformation from brilliant surgeon (and diehard believer in the medical model) to a figure that embraces more Eastern spirituality and magic that he can't quite grasp, it was necessary to see him fall on his face over and over. Strange's awkward attempts at humor also humanized him, keeping the arrogant and self-centered neurosurgeon from being unlikable.
But when Doctor Strange returns, ideally with far more training in the mystical arts, the overall picture should be different. By this point, Strange will have progressed quite a bit from the egotistical neurosurgeon that he once was, and as he submerges himself deeper and deeper into the magical world, it is only natural that he'll exhibit the more serious, studious temperament of his comic book counterpart. Though they may be superficially similar, Strange isn't Iron Man; unlike Tony, whose progression into Iron Man is only a furtherance of the technological skills he was already good at, Strange's rise to becoming a sorcerer required a complete shift of belief systems, a new temperament, and a new sense of mindfulness.
So while it makes sense that Tony started out as a dick -- and still is one to some extent -- Strange should be a very different man the next time we see him.
13 New Magic Spells
For a movie that's all about magic, Doctor Strange showed surprisingly few magic spells. This makes sense, in context, since this movie had the difficult task of introducing real magic into a universe that, after 13 movies, had previously portrayed all magic concepts as little more than advanced alien technology. Now that the rabbit has jumped out of the magician's hat, it's time to get wild.
The general audience has now been introduced to astral forms, mystical shields, sling rings, levitation, and more. We also saw the Eye of Agomotto/Time Stone, but that's probably going to end up in Thanos's hands in Infinity War. So in a sequel, with a more experienced Stephen Strange, the next step is having him wield spells like the Images of Ikonn to create duplicate images of himself, the Mists of Morpheus — which puts a combatant (or a friend) to sleep — and the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak, to bind his enemy. Many of these spells empower the user by invoking the mystical entity named in its title. For example, Ikonn is the so-called "Lord of Illusions," who normally presents himself as a sort of insectoid creature.
The mid-credits teaser, which shows Strange somehow refilling Thor's beer over and over, is a good clue that by the next time we see the good doctor, he'll have some new tricks up his sleeve.
12 Bring Mordo to the Forefront, and Develop Him Further
Of course, this same necessity for more magic also applies to Mordo, the Ancient One's top disciple. We've definitely seen that Mordo is a proficient hand-to-hand combatant, and we've seen his talent at wielding weaponry, taking down foes, and adjusting to bizarre new environments. But so far, we haven't seen a lot of his spellcasting ability. In the sequel, they'll need to show a true display of Mordo's power.
While we're at it, this sequel will also be the right time to develop Mordo's back story. The first movie showed the Ancient One give vague hints about how Mordo's brutal past made him into the rigid, doctrinal figure that he is today, and it would be wise to explore that. Marvel struck gold in casting Chiwetel Ejiofor, and an actor of his caliber deserves a storyline to match. The movie universe has already developed Mordo into a more interesting, multifaceted character than his comic book counterpart, so we're excited to see what come next.
11 A Strong Antagonist
The reason that all this Mordo stuff is important is because, as everyone who saw the post-credits teaser knows, Mordo is being set up as the primary antagonist for Doctor Strange 2. Considering that his motive so far seems to be restoring the balance of nature by eliminating sorcerers, it seems unlikely that he'll become the devoted acolyte of Dormammu that his comic book counterpart was. That's okay, though. This new spin on the character has the potential to be fascinating.
Marvel has received endless criticism about its villains being unmemorable. If they're smart, Mordo could reverse the tide. Between a great actor, careful character development, and a strong sense of purpose, Mordo could easily become a villain on the level of Loki and Wilson Fisk.
Going into this sequel, having a great villain is going to be important. Kaecilius was... okay -- mainly because Mads Mikkelsen took the few character-developing scenes he had and knocked them out of the park -- but he's not a character that many are going to walk out of the theater and remember the name of. In Doctor Strange 2, having Mordo as a substantial, deeply personal bad guy is going to make all the difference. He is, after all, one of the Socerer Supreme's greatest enemies.
10 More Dormammu...and Introduce the Mindless Ones
While most comic fans expected there'd be at least a few mentions of Dormammu in the movie, it was a terrific surprise that he actually proved to be central to the film's climax. Mordo is generally regarded as Strange's human archenemy, but Dormammu is certainly his greatest menace, and the biggest threat that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has faced to date.
That said, now that Dormammu has been introduced to audiences, future movies can further intertwine him with Doctor Strange's world. In the comics, Dormammu was forced to agree to a similar bargain, and he didn't take it well, continually finding workarounds in order to either get back into the Earthly dimension or empower an acolyte on Earth in an effort to kill Doctor Strange. We can no doubt expect the cinematic Dormammu to be similarly chafed at being forced to negotiate with a mere mortal. While we might not see Mordo knowingly ally himself with Dormammu, since the two now possess contradictory goals, it is possible that Dormammu may unwittingly use Mordo as a pawn in some greater scheme.
On the other hand, if Marvel wants to frame Doctor Strange as a trilogy, it may hold off on giving us too much more Dormammu until a theoretical Doctor Strange 3 — or perhaps they'll save him for usage as a Phase Four enemy for the post-Thanos Avengers. If and when Dormammu comes back, the Mindless Ones — his personal army of savage rock creatures that possess no free will — probably won't be far behind.
9 More Crazy Visuals, and More New Dimensions
The big talking point that everyone coming out of Doctor Strange is raving about are the visuals. True to the trippy, otherworldly Steve Ditko artwork that played a huge role in making the original comic book such an underground hit, the feast of bizarre and constantly-shifting scenery that permeates Doctor Strange is unlike anything that has ever been in a superhero movie before. It'll be a crime if the movie doesn't get some love from the Academy for it.
But now is no time for the screenwriters and visual effects crew to sit on their laurels. For a sequel, the visuals shouldn't simply work off of what came before; they should use what we know as a jumping off point, and then dive headfirst into even wilder visual delights.
Needless to say, we all want to see more dimensions. The Dark Dimension and the Mirror Dimension were a great start. But what comes next? Well, here's one likely candidate...
8 The Dream Dimension
One of the most interesting concepts in the comics is the Dream Dimension. This dimension is actually created by the entirety of mankind's collective psyche. It's an astral realm where human beings go when they asleep, and their subconscious thus escapes from the physical plane that they normally exist on.
Yes, this means what you think it means: when we fall asleep, we go to the Dream Dimension. Sounds great, right? One uncomfortable truth about it, though, is that this dimension is ruled by a malevolent figure named Nightmare. Nightmare, who is pretty far from the friendliest extradimensional demon around, is furiously protective of his realm. He's also eager to expand his control to the conscious world, if he gets an opportunity.
As crazy as it sounds, there's actually a good chance that Nightmare and his Dream Dimension will make it into the next movie. Director Scott Derrickson has mentioned an interest in pursuing the character, feeling that he was probably too abstract for the first movie, but perfectly suited for a sequel. Fingers crossed that he doesn't change his mind.
7 The Vishanti
As you've probably gathered, the Doctor Strange mythos is packed full of weird extradimensional critters, deities, tyrants, and benefactors of various forms, shapes, and sizes. Many of these beings possess powers that are invoked by the spells of sorcerers — as the Ancient One said, drawing energy from other dimensions into ours — and thus drawing upon the unfathomable powers of these entities.
One particular trio of magical beings that has been tremendously influential on Earth's history are the Vishanti. These three beings are Agamotto (the entity whose "eye", AKA the Eye of Agamotto, was so instrumental to defeating Dormammu in the first movie), as well as Oshtur the Omnipotent (who is the lady of the skies and Agamotto's mother), and finally Hoggoth, whom Doctor Strange has at times invoked in order to conjure a spell called the "Fist of Hoggoth," which generates an armored, disembodied hand. Cool beans.
Together, these benevolent creatures are the writers of the Book of the Vishanti, a mystical tome of white magic that acts as the counterpart to the Darkhold, its evil twin. To get a better idea about both books, Strange — and that photographic memory of his — will have some more reading to do in the Ancient One's library.
6 More Tilda Swinton - But Also, Please Don't Resurrect Her
Tilda Swinton is an amazing actress, and though the decision to cast her as the Ancient One was and will probably remain a controversial one, her performance itself is one for the ages. A huge part of what makes Doctor Strange work, despite its offbeat concept, is due to Swinton's grace, elegance, and sincerity. As the viewers are ripped from the world they know, and cast out into a multiverse more bizarre than they could possibly imagine, the Ancient One serves as an anchor point. Calm yet impulsive, gentle yet firm, Swinton's Ancient One is a fresh new take on a tired concept.
But, true to the comics, she doesn't make it out of the first movie alive — and her death scene turns out to be one of the most poignant scenes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date. So yes, we definitely want to see more of the Ancient One, but we also definitely do NOT want a resurrection that would cheapen her character, legacy, or the Marvel Cinematic Universe itself. Marvel has already done too many resurrections, and people are getting tired of it. For the stakes of this universe to matter, beloved characters have to die, and they have to stay dead.
But since we're dealing with Doctor Strange here, there is some wiggle room. Not for an actual resurrection of the character, but perhaps her astral form could make some kind of appearance, ala Obi-Wan Kenobi, or we could get some sort of magical flashbacks. There are options.
Hey, did we mention how many freaky, outlandish supernatural entities Doctor Strange tends to run across in his adventures? Okay, well get a load of this guy. As the picture above makes clear, Shuma-Gorath is another power-mad tyrant from a different dimension. When he's not busy demanding human sacrifices at his altar, this creepy one-eyed monster tries to dig his tentacles into our dimension and make it his own. Once, he and four similarly depraved creatures joined together in an effort to end "Death," which didn't go so well for them.
Shuma-Gorath isn't as powerful as Dormammu, but he seems like a character tailor-made for the big screen. His unnerving, enormous, and green-skinned form would lend an interesting Cthulhu-like element to the proceedings. Especially if he starts spouting some of the crazy dialogue seen above.
Interesting side note about Shuma-Gorath: he was actually invented by Robert E. Howard, the writer who later created Conan the Barbarian.
In the end, when it comes to enormous extradimensional figures that Doctor Strange has interacted with, there's absolutely nothing and no one that tops Eternity.
Eternity is the king of Marvel's cosmic pantheon, and with good reason: he's existed since the Big Bang of our universe, because he is the physical embodiment of our universe. Eternity is omniscient, omnipresent, and seemingly immortal. He's capable of seeing anything that occurs in the universe at any time, reshaping any part of the universe into anything he imagines, and basically being in all places simultaneously.
Basically, Eternity is about as close as you get to a traditional "God" figure in the Marvel Universe. So, while Doctor Strange showing down against Dormammu was one thing, the sorcerer coming face to face with the physical manifestation of the universe itself would be truly mind-blowing on the big screen, and something far beyond anything that we've ever experienced in a superhero movie.
3 A Better Role for Rachel McAdams
Okay, so we all know that Rachel McAdams is a terrific actress. The role of Christine Palmer in the movie is... serviceable, at least as far as it helps Stephen Strange's storyline along. Christine herself is relegated to being little more than the standard superhero girlfriend, though McAdams gives it her all in the few scenes that she's got. This "window dressing" role is one trope that we're all tired of, and there's no reason that a sequel can't give Christine a meatier part.
So what's next? It seems unlikely that Christine will become "Night Nurse," since the movie made her a surgeon instead, and Rosario Dawson is busy knocking it out of the park as the Night Nurse of the Netflix shows. However, there's plenty of room to experiment with the dynamic between Strange and Christine. For one, Christine is a figure from Strange's past — a living remnant of the medical model that Strange left behind when he pursued Eastern mysticism instead — which would likely create a strained dynamic between the two. Alternatively, she could become an apprentice to Strange, though in the comics, that role belongs to another character...
2 Or, Bring in Clea
In the movie universe, Christine Palmer is, so far, the only love interest we've seen Stephen Strange interact with. But in the comics, there's another character whom many fans are clamoring to see on the big screen: the silver-haired, purple-clad sorceress known as Clea.
The two characters first meet when Strange rescues Clea from the Dark Dimension. Later, she becomes his apprentice, then his lover, and eventually, his wife. The relationship between Strange and Clea is a long and complicated one, fraught with tension due to Clea's family background. Believe it or not, despite her human appearance, she's the niece of Dormammu. Yes, that Dormammu. Needless to say, this adds an extra layer of resentment to the conflict between the good doctor and his greatest enemy.
But Clea is a terrific character in her own right. She's noble, dignified, almost as powerful as Strange, and at one point, she even succeeds in wresting control of the Dark Dimension away from Dormammu himself.
1 More Fun Scenes with the Cape!
Mordo? Stephen Strange? The Ancient One? Pfft, the truth is, everyone's actual favorite character in the movie is the Cloak of Levitation, and we want to see more of it.
The Cloak saved Doctor Strange from certain death on several occasions in the movie, and in other scenes tried to comfort him, work with him, and generally be a terrific all-around pal to the guy. Besides all that, the sight of the Cloak fluttering behind him offers some awesome visuals, with the Cloak's sentience giving a good enough excuse for why it always flaps around in such a cool way. We've seen superheroes in crimson red capes before, from Superman to Thor, but never before has a cape had so much personality.
Needless to say, we're glad that Marvel stuck with the classic design, and didn't chicken out and go with its wannabe imitator, the so-called Overcoat of Levitation. So hooray for the cape, and come on Marvel, let's see more of it!
What do you want to see in the Sorcerer Supreme's follow-up adventure? Which characters do you want to see more of? Let us know in the comments!
Doctor Strange is in theaters now.