Several of the magic spells cast by Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) in the MCU come directly from the source material. The Sorcerer Supreme's arsenal of spells is one of the Avengers' greatest weapons against Thanos (Josh Brolin) and the Black Order in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
Doctor Strange is becoming one of the MCU's most important heroes. The Master of the Mystic Arts was introduced in the 2016 origin story movie, Doctor Strange, directed by Scott Derrickson. The character returned for a brief role in Thor: Ragnarok, and was featured more prominently in Avengers: Infinity War as the one hero who knows the secret to defeating Thanos. As one of the victims of the snap, Doctor Strange sits out most of Avengers: Endgame but returns in the movie's final act to lend his magical talents to the army of superheroes fighting Thanos. The character will be back for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which will see him paired up with Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch.
Benedict Cumberbatch's take on the Sorcerer Supreme is arguably one of the MCU's most comic book accurate portrayals of a Marvel Comics superhero. This applies to Strange's backstory, personality, costume and color scheme, and of course, his abilities. Many of his magic spells are rooted in the comics, even if they're not all blatantly obvious. In the comics, Strange usually blurts out the name of the spell when casting it, but in the movies, the connections to the comics are sometimes a bit more ambiguous and open to interpretation. Here are the spells Doctor Strange casts in the movies, and how they connect to the comics.
Astral Projection is the ability that introduces Dr. Stephen Strange to the world of magic in his first movie. Strange gets his first taste of magic when the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) knocks his astral form out of his body. After becoming a sorcerer, Strange mastered this ability, and can now leave his physical form at will. This renders his body immobile, but not dead. In the source material, Strange uses his astral form to contact other heroes and warn them of danger. In doing so, Strange doesn't have to leave the Sanctum Sanctorum.
Images Of Ikonn
Doctor Strange's Images of Ikonn is a classic spell that draws power from the demon, Ikonn. It lets him create duplicates of himself which he can use to confuse his enemies. It's a useful technique capable of providing a distraction long enough for Strange to prepare a different spell, or stall for time. He employs this method in Infinity War to hide the Time Stone from him. Strange's power is on display when he creates hundreds of duplicates of himself. When Strange attacks, it looks as if all of them are attacking at once.
Crimson Bands of Cyttorak
The Crimson Bands of Cyttorak is a powerful binding spell in Marvel Comics. It was originally a spell in Doctor Strange, but this was retconned in Infinity War when it was confirmed by writer Christopher Markus that the red tendrils of energy Strange uses to hold Thanos down are in fact the real Crimson Bands. This spell is so strong that even Thanos faced great difficulty resisting it. The Crimson Bands succeeded in subduing one of Thanos' arms. Interestingly, the spell's power source is the otherworldly being known as Cyttorak, who has connections to the X-Men villain, Juggernaut.
Winds of Watoomb
The Winds of Watoomb, a powerful gust of wind capable of blowing Dormammu back into the Dark Dimension, is a favorite of the comic book hero, and the same seems to be true for his MCU counterpart, since Strange has now used it in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. In the beginning of Infinity War, Strange summons the Winds of Watoomb to stop the destruction caused by Ebony Maw's ship. The Winds of Watoomb are employed again in Endgame when he generates a water tornado. It was confirmed by VFX supervisor Russell Earl (via ComicBook) that this is a representation of the Winds of Watoomb.
Bolts of Bolthakk
One of Doctor Strange's strongest offensive spells is a lightning attack called the Bolts of Balthakk. This may very well be Doctor Strange's most frequently used spells when in combat. Strange has cast Bolts of Balthakk through many of his adventures. This is one of the spells confirmed by Avengers: Infinity War professional movement designer Julian Daniels (via Twitter). Where it was used in the movie isn't made clear, but it's most likely the red energy blast that Doctor Strange conjures while fighting Thanos one-on-one. In the movie, it resembles a combination of fire and lighting that obliterates whatever it hits.
Shield of the Seraphim
The Shield of the Seraphim is a magical blockade of energy summoned by Strange in the comics. The Shield is effective when it comes to protecting Strange from physical harm. Wong (Benedict Wong) casts the spell early in Infinity War when Ebony Maw throws a tree at the heroes. It looks like a large, circular barrier that forms between the sorcerer and whatever danger is facing him. Later, when Strange, Spider-Man (Tom Holland), and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) are about to crash land on Titan, Strange throws up the Shield of Seraphim to protect them from the impact.
Rings of Raggadorr
Rings of Raggadorr is a commonly used spell in the pages of Doctor Strange. The ability appears to be the same spell cast by Strange when trying to remove the Infinity Gauntlet. Since the spell is used to contain enemies and stop them from using their powers, this could be how Strange prevents Thanos from unleashing the full power of the Infinity Stones and overwhelming the heroes. If Thanos used all of their powers, it's doubtful that Strange and the others would have come so close to removing the Infinity Gauntlet from Thanos' hand.
Icy Tendrils of Ikthalon
At the end of Avengers: Endgame, Doctor Strange arrives and casts a spell that conjures blue tendrils of energy that yank several of Thanos' minions to the ground at once. This could be the MCU's version of Icy Tendrils of Ikthalon, a spell that unleashes extremely cold temperatures on his enemies and ensnares them with cold energy. If necessary, Strange can use the Icy Tendrils to trap his opponents in blocks of ice. The spell comes from the ice demon, Ikthalon.
- Black Widow (2020) release date: May 01, 2020
- Eternals (2020) release date: Nov 06, 2020
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) release date: Feb 12, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021) release date: May 07, 2021
- Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 (2021) release date: Jul 16, 2021
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2021) release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Black Panther 2 (2022) release date: May 06, 2022