Doctor Strange: Watched the Marvel film? Now, enter the world of the comic book

Siddhi Desai

Nov 06, 2016 08:58:35 IST

With terms like superhero and comic-book movie fatigue floating around on the internet, the stakes were high for Doctor Strange, which happens to be the 14th film of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and the second one from Phase three of the MCU. Hence, it would definitely set the expectations for the next Marvel movies to come.

So did it manage to live up to the weight of its expectations? For an average run-of-the-mill superhero and movie geek like me, it surely did. Was it the best Marvel movie of all time? No. But was it entertaining as hell? Absolutely!

The fact that the movie had a whole new world and source material to deal with made the movie stand up on its own as an entertaining blockbuster and not just another Marvel installment. So if the movie has left you intrigued and excited about what goes on in the life and times of the Sorcerer Supreme, then we have you covered!

Here’s a roundup of all the characters and artifacts mentioned in the Doctor Strange movie. Grab your cloaks of levitation to take flight into the world of Doctor Strange. A word of caution — diving into the movie’s source material will require discussing spoilers.

Sorcerer Supreme

The title of Sorcerer Supreme is almost synonymous to Doctor Strange. But as the movie makes it clear, Sorcerer Supreme is the title given to the “A practitioner of the mystic or magic arts who has greater skills than all others or commands a greater portion of the ambient magical energies than any other organism on a given world or dimension.” As the definition explains, there can be only one Sorcerer Supreme per world at a time.

Hence before Stephen Strange himself, the ancient one holds the title until her demise (told you there would be spoilers!) As Mordo explains in the gruesome end credits scene, there are “too many sorcerers”. So one can say that getting this title is a cake walk!

The ancient one

This leads us to the original Sorcerer Supreme, the elusive mentor to Dr Strange, the ancient one. The role, played by the talented Tilda Swinton, in no way resembles its Tibetan male comic book counterpart. Whitewashing issues aside, Swinton perfectly emulates the wise and enigmatic demeanor of the character. While the movie doesn’t reveal the ancient one’s age, the comic postulates the character’s origins up to five centuries ago! Similar to the movie, the comic book counterpart is deceased, but only in mortal form. The ancient one’s astral form still remains to guide Strange and continue his fight to protect the Earth’s dimension. Perhaps we may see her astral form again in the movies too?

(Baron) Mordo

The writers of Doctor Strange, Scott Derrickson, C. Robert Cargill and Jon Spaihts decided to take a spin on the “Deceptive disciple” writing trope that the comics were following and decided to make Mordo a more complicated character who gets disillusioned by the practice of the mystic arts.

In the comics, however, ‘Baron’ Karl Mordo plots to end the Ancient one’s life and Doctor Strange foils the incident which leads Strange towards his destiny as the Sorcerer Supreme. Mordo has many comic book interpretations, with the 2007 animated adaptation Doctor Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme* portraying Mordo siding with Dormammu and believing that the ancient one turned his back on him. But regardless of the timeline or interpretation, Mordo’s rigid thought process and his eventual downfall into evil and dark magic always remains.


One of the most formidable mystical entities in the whole MCU, Dormammu, ruler of the Dark Dimension, has been around in the Marvel comic landscape for more than 60 years since his 1964 debut. He does not hold the title of the ‘Lord of Chaos’ for no reason! The immortal entity has complete mastery over dark magic and is a constant name on the Doctor Strange villains’ roster. So despite ‘the bargain’, we could see a return of Dormammu or his presence through villains associated with him, like The Hood for example.


Kaecilius, played by Mads Mikkelsen, is the big baddie of this movie. Unlike the prominent role given to this antagonist in the movie, Kaecilius is actually quite a minor character in the Dr Strange universe. He happens to be a disciple of Baron Mordo and serves more as a henchman to Mordo’s schemes.

Christine Palmer

Speculations were rife that Rachel Mcadams would be playing the role of the Night Nurse, a charcter who helps injured superheroes. While Mcadams does share the name of one of the Night Nurses, the movie doesn’t make it clear whether she would be making a comeback to help other superheroes or Strange himself. She’s also a doctor so maybe the ‘Night Nurse’ may be a bit of a demotion! In the comics, the night nurse has helped out heroes like the X Men, Daredevil and others.


It wouldn’t be wrong to call Wong the Robin to Strange’s Batman. The monk from Kamar-Taj serves as a loyal sidekick to Strange so we’ll surely be seeing more of this endearing character. Fun Fact, the one-handed sorcerer who Strange misidentifies as the ancient one towards the beginning of the movie, Master Hamir, is actually Wong’s father in the comic!

Now that we’re done with the central characters from the movie, here are some other noteworthy references made in the movie:


When you go mystic, you have to go to the Himalayas! Similar to Sokovia and Wakanda, Kamar-Taj is a fictional location that serves as the ancient one’s palace and is the birthplace of the ancient one and Wong.

The Multiverse

When the ancient one reveals the scope of what the mystic arts has to offer, she mentions the multiverse that Strange travels through in a kaleidoscopic montage. But it isn’t just a convenient term to mention the other dimensions. The multiverses make time travel, alternate realities and Marvel’s popular What If? universes possible. Key decisions in the Marvel Universe lead to the formation of these alternate timelines. Hence, Strange’s time-bending antics could have major consequences.

Eye of Agamoto aka the time gem

Speaking of time bending, the handy Eye of Agamoto will certainly have huge consequences in the future comics, SINCE IT IS AN INFINITY STONE. The characters in the movie casually reference that the Eye of Agamoto is an infinity stone, the fifth in the MCU so far, and considering its powers and green colour, it is certainly the time gem. This means we are one step closer to seeing the infinity gauntlet in action!

The soul stone is the only missing puzzle that will lead up to Avengers: Infinity War. Considering the hype that has been building around Thor: Ragnarok and how the makers have made it clear that the movie is important to phase three, don’t be surprised if the final gem pops up in the movie!

President of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige hasn’t given any hints, but that won’t stop us from speculating! "Anything is possible. But knowledge of the comics can be both beneficial to fans anticipating things, and also misleading. So you’ll have to see," he said to /Film. Although, no one can deny that this theory of Heimdall being the owner of the soul gem is pretty convincing


A lot of relics were mentioned in the movie, be it the Staff of the Living Tribunal, the Wand of Watoomb or the Vaulting Boots of Valtorr. Many of these relics are in fact powerful weapons in the Marvel comic universe. But the cloak of levitation was definitely the fan favourite. The virtually indestructible coat helps the Sorcerer Supreme fly, fight and defends him. Talk about a great ally!

Last but not the least, Stan Lee’s cameo!

Stan Lee’s appearance was quite discreet this time around. I’ll admit that I almost missed it. During the visual extravaganza that was the fight scene between Kaecilius and Doctor Strange and Mordo, there’s a scene where Kaecilius conjures up an escher artwork-esque shift of perception, only to reveal Stan Lee reading Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception. Quite an apt book to read, don’t you think?

Any other easter eggs, revelations and cameos? Did you catch the Avengers Tower, Thor’s cameo and Benedict Cumberbatch’s voice as Dormamu? Do you think one of Strange’s patients before his accident, ‘an air force colonel who hurt his spine in a suit of experimental armour ’ is the War Machine? Only time, and the next Doctor Strange movie, will tell!

Updated Date: Nov 06, 2016 08:58:35 IST

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