15In the first Dr. Strange movie, Stephen Strange’s magical tutor was Merlin
Remember all the debate about Doctor Strange (2016) having a white hero learn Eastern mysticism from a white woman? The 1978 TV movie Dr. Strange avoided all that by making Strange's mentor Arthurian. The wizard is "Lindmer" (did they think adding the D would make the switched
syllables less obvious?) and the villain is the Arthurian sorceress Morgan Le Fay.
The issue for director/writer Philip DeGuere in making the change wasn’t cultural appropriation. He simply thought the groovy Eastern mysticism of the Stan Lee/Steve Ditko comics was a sixties kind of thing, something that would date the story. He also eliminated Strange’s selfish streak — this Sorceror Supreme is a compassionate psychiatric resident who genuinely cares about his patients. That, plus an innate talent for magic, is what makes him the right person to become Lindmer’s successor in the fight against Morgan and her dark masters.
What did carry over from the comics was Ditko’s psychedelic visuals, or as close as the f/x budget could come to it. The movie stood head and shoulders above Marvel’s other 1970s pilot films, but airing against the blockbuster miniseries Roots, it inevitably tanked in the ratings. Too bad.