This month, Doctor Stephen Strange made his big-screen debut in Marvel’s latest origin story, Doctor Strange, and one more Infinity Stone was revealed for the MCU. This brings us to five stones in total, with only one more (the Soul Stone) left to make its Marvel Cinematic Universe debut.
The Time Stone appeared as part of Doctor Strange’s trademark amulet, also known as the Eye of Agamotto. Long-time Marvel fans are very familiar with the comic version of this relic, but newcomers to the psychedelic world of the Sorcerer Supreme are just getting to grips with this latest inclusion. Although the film version and the comic version appear to be quite different (from the little we saw in the film), we’ve rounded up some of our favorite facts about Doctor Strange’s mystical amulet.
Here are 15 Things You Didn’t Know About The Eye Of Agamotto.
Like many other comic book titles, Sorcerer Supreme is a legacy title (one which is passed down through generations of characters). Doctor Strange is not the first to hold that office, nor is he the first to wield the Eye of Agamotto. The Eye was created (or discovered, according to some accounts) by the first Sorcerer Supreme: Agamotto himself.
Agamotto is one of the Vishanti – a trio of phenomenally powerful and benevolent beings who seek to create order and protect the Earth Dimension. Agamotto lived for a time as a mortal on Earth, when he became the first Sorcerer Supreme, and created several artifacts which have been left on our world. When mortal, Agamotto appeared as a man, but he has also appeared to later students of the mystic arts in animal form. To Strange, he has appeared as a caterpillar, as well as a big cat. In addition to creating the eyes, he also discovered and practiced the three forms of magic laid out in the Book of the Vishanti, a tome of magical knowledge.
Agamotto created three primary mystical objects during his time on Earth, all of which are occasionally referred to as ‘Eyes of Agamotto’. In addition to the object most commonly known as the Eye of Agamotto, he also created the Orb of Agamotto and the Spine of Agamotto. The three eyes are each associated with one key concept: power, truth, or prescience.
The Orb of Agamotto has also been used by Doctor Strange in the comics. It is a device used to scry, often appearing as a globe where magical dangers are revealed. (This is probably the globe seen in Doctor Strange, although it has also been suggested that the Orb resides in Odin’s treasure room on Asgard.) Agamotto also created various other mystical artifacts, including the Oracle of Agamotto and the Mobius Stone – a stone that can be used to manipulate time. The Mobius Stone, however, has not survived. It was destroyed by Doctor Druid, who was afraid of its power falling into the wrong hands.
The Eye, like many of the other artifacts of Agamotto, remains linked to the Vishanti’s power, and is more than your run of the mill magical tool. In many ways, the Eye appears to have a kind of sentience, including the ability to choose or to reject the one who attempts to wield it.
Doctor Strange, having been deemed worthy by Eternity, is the most famous user of the Eye, and he keeps it within his amulet. However, the Eye can be used by others (and is currently in the possession of Doctor Voodoo), and has even abandoned Doctor Strange on occasion. It is all seeing, and grants the user the ability to access its sight, should it choose to do so. This may be a unique sentience, or it may be a result of a lasting connection to Agamotto in his non-corporeal form. (The Orb of Agamotto has a similar connection to its first master).
The Eye of Agamotto is inspired by both the All Seeing Eye of Buddah and the spiritual tradition of the third eye (also known as the inner eye). As a result of this, the Eye Of Agamotto has sometimes actually risen out of the amulet where Doctor Strange houses it, and come to rest on his forehead as a third eye. The eye also ‘opens’ within the amulet (rather than being the amulet itself), which we saw in the movie.
In the MCU, however, Doctor Strange opens the amulet intentionally, to reveal the Eye. In the comics, this is something that can happen with the power of the user's thought and intention, rather than a physical hand gesture. Doctor Strange is also capable of commanding the eye to implant itself on the foreheads of others, even if those others are not mystical beings or even students of the mystical arts. In this case, Strange still controls the eye.
One of Doctor Strange’s learned mystical abilities is astral projection – the ability to separate his astral body from his physical body, and control this projection. When he does this, his physical body is left helpless and vulnerable to attack, as he is unable to control both at the same time. We saw this in the movie as well, when Doctor Strange did battle with one of Kaecilius' henchmen on the astral plane while his body was injured.
Most magical artifacts and objects from the physical plane do not cross over into the astral one (although the film does show an astral battle having some impact on the physical world). However, the Eye of Agamotto has been shown to work on both planes, and to travel with Doctor Strange when he is a projection. Despite being usable in either state, it is not as powerful on the astral plane as it is on the physical one.
Although Doctor Strange is the best known user of the Eye of Agamotto, he is far from the only one. In recent years, the Eye has passed on to Doctor Voodoo (the new Sorcerer Supreme), who passed it on to Luke Cage for safekeeping in the Heroic Age. In this storyline, Doctor Strange has been possessed by otherworldly beings trying to get their hands on the Eye for nefarious purposes. Luke Cage, now living in the Avengers Tower with his own team of Earth's Mightiest Heroes, was sent the eye by mystical means in an attempt to keep it safe from the possessed Doctor Strange.
This plan sadly failed, and after we eventually discover that it is Agamotto himself who has returned for his eye, an epic battle ensues. With Doctor Voodoo as an anchor and Wolverine fighting Agamotto in his many forms, the New Avengers attempt to keep the Eye safe. But in the end, to save the world, Doctor Voodoo sacrifices both himself and the Eye.
This particular property of the Eye is connected to its mystic sentience – it will only work for magic users who are worthy of its powers. Should someone attempt to use the Eye who does not have a pure heart, clean soul, and good intentions, the eye will simply refuse to help them. This means that the Eye can only be used to perform ‘white’ magic.
Doctor Strange himself was proven to be worthy in an early encounter with Eternity, when he turned to the omnipotent being for help and had his soul searched. Later, the Eye turned away from Strange after he used too much of the dark magic of the demon Zom. This ‘white magic’ property may also be connected to the Eye’s connection to Agamotto himself; as a Vishanti who seeks light and order, the Eye itself is also benevolent and unable to be used to do harm.
Although the Eye is theoretically unable to be used to work dark magic, it has happened in the comics once or twice. The evil Baron Mordo managed to use the Eye at one point, and deceived it with a simple costume. Wearing an old pair of threads once sported by Doctor Strange that included a full face mask, Mordo was able to wear the Cape of Levitation as well as the amulet containing the Eye of Agamotto.
When Doctor Strange battled Mordo, he attempted to cover the Eye in order to break its gaze – which would suggest that the Eye was functional while being worn by Mordo. It may even have been possible for Mordo to use it, as well as willing it to implant on his forehead as a third eye. This would suggest that the Eye’s sentience can also be its weakness, and that it can be fooled into working for dark magic if a suitably powerful magician or magic worker was able to convince it that they were a previous wearer of the Eye.
In Doctor Strange, we see Doctor Strange activate the Eye of Agamotto with a series of hand gestures (hand gestures being integral to spell casting in the MCU). However, in the comics, this is completely unnecessary. In the original source material, Doctor Strange is able to activate the Eye with pure force of will, or with a form of telepathy. Given the sentient nature of the Eye and the mystical, all-seeing abilities that it possesses, it is highly likely that this activation is a combination of willpower, magical ability, and telepathy used to communicate directly with the eye. The Eye of Agamotto can also be commanded using hand gestures, or by speaking incantations (which is Doctor Strange’s usual method of working magic). The ability to open it without needing to do these things is one that comes in particularly handy on the rare occasions when Doctor Strange is prevented from moving or speaking.
The Eye of Agamotto can also be commanded using hand gestures, or by speaking incantations (which is Doctor Strange’s usual method of working magic). The ability to open it without needing to do these things is one that comes in particularly handy on the rare occasions when Doctor Strange is prevented from moving or speaking.
The Eye’s powers can be used for a wide range of different magical applications, although its primary function is to discover and reveal the truth. For this purpose, the eye is often used to allow the wearer to see into another’s soul (and thus, learn the truth about them), to reveal visions of recent events, and to emit an “all revealing light” that can see through other magics and enchantments. This is also used to see through disguises and illusions, and is one of the most common uses of the Eye.
In addition, the Eye has several other primary powers that Doctor Strange often calls upon in his adventures. It can be used to track other beings by their psychic or magic emanations, and is therefore used as a tracking device. It can be used to probe minds, as well as to show other's visions. Doctor Strange once used this ability to give Nebulon an insight into the heart and history of humankind, by using the Eye to project the history of humanity into his mind.
As well as those powers connected to revealing truth, the Eye has several other abilities which Doctor Strange has used over the years. The Eye can create portals to other dimensions, and is dimensionally linked to the Orb of Agamotto, allowing the Eye to send travelers directly to the Orb (and vice versa). The Eye can create mystical barriers, and has even been used to shoot a focused bolt of pure mystic energy.
On top of that, the light that the Eye emits doesn’t just reveal the truth, but can also be used to illuminate dark spaces, and it weakens the powers of evil beings and dark magic users (if they are sufficiently powerful). The Eye can also be used to levitate objects, including extremely heavy objects, as well as to move and even throw them if need be. Finally, it can transport beings to another location, or place them in suspended animation if necessary (which, as you might imagine, is a pretty useful trick in battle).
One of the biggest (although not totally unexpected) reveals of Doctor Strange was that the Eye of Agamotto is actually one of the Infinity Gems. We learn that in the MCU, Doctor Strange’s amulet (or the Eye within it) is the Time Gem. We have now seen the Space Stone (the blue Tesseract from Captain America: The First Avenger), the Mind Stone (the yellow stone that originated in Loki's sceptor that now resides in Vision's forehead), the Reality Stone (the red Aether from Thor: The Dark World), and the Power Stone (the purple stone from Guardians of the Galaxy). Re-writing the Eye of Agamotto as the Time Stone makes perfect sense within the interconnected world of the MCU – especially as Marvel is in the final run-up to the massive
Re-writing the Eye of Agamotto as the Time Stone makes perfect sense within the interconnected world of the MCU – especially as Marvel is in the final run-up to the massive Infinity War storyline. However, in the comics, the Eye’s power comes only from Agamotto and from magic, and is not in any way connected to the Time Stone. It has been used to manipulate time in the past, but this is definitely not one of the primary powers associated with the Eye in the books.
Although the Eye is incredibly powerful in both the comic book universe and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the addition of the Time Stone in the MCU makes the film version far more dangerous than the original. For one thing, the original Eye of Agamotto can only be used for white magic (as we’ve already seen). This means that although it is an incredibly powerful artifact capable of working formidable magic, it’s not particularly threatening (except to those on the side of darkness).
The Time Stone, on the other hand, doesn’t have the same range or scope of power as the Eye of Agamotto (it grants visions of possible futures, allows time travel and the creation of time loops, and allows the user to control ageing), but it can be used by anyone who knows how to control it. Obviously, it can also be combined with the other Infinity Stones, granting the one who combines them nigh-unlimited power over the universe.
As the other Infinity Stones have appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they have usually been the primary weapon or object of interest in a movie, and the Time Stone is only the second that hasn’t been used to destroy a main antagonist. The Space Stone destroyed Red Skull in Captain America: The First Avenger, when Red Skull handled the Tesseract directly and disappeared in a burst of light. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Vision uses the Mind Stone to first cut Ultron off from the internet, and then in their final confrontation, Vision destroys Ultron’s physical form with a blast of golden light from the Stone. Finally, in Guardians of the Galaxy, Star-Lord and the other Guardians joined together to control the Power Stone in order to blast Ronan the Accuser out of existence.
Although the Aether and the Eye of Agamotto do not directly destroy the primary villain in their respective stories, they each play significant roles in that antagonist’s defeat. The Time Stone allowed Doctor Strange to trap Dormammu in a time loop, infuriating him until the entity was willing to leave Earth just to get out of it.
Each of the Infinity Stones has the potential to leave lasting mark on the MCU, purely because they are such incredibly powerful objects. We also know that Thanos is going to be collecting the stones in an attempt to take over (or potentially destroy) the universe in Avengers: Infinity War, and the Time Stone is going to be a big part of that. But the Eye of Agamotto adds a new element to the MCU that the other Stones don’t: time travel.
As any fan of sci-fi (or The Flash, or Fox’s X-Men universe) can attest to, time travel is a very tricky element to include in a storyline, and one that means all bets are off. Once time travel is a possibility, character deaths can be undone, entire storylines can be deleted, and while some continuity errors or issues can be addressed using time travel, more often than not, it simply adds to the number of plot holes and problems. It’s possible that the Time Stone could even be used to reverse the damage done by Thanos on his destructive quest, or bring back a character killed in Part One of the Infinity War movies. Whatever happens, the MCU will never be the same again.
What else should fans know about the Eye of Agamotto? Let us know in the comments.
Doctor Strange is in theaters now.