Doctor Strange opened in theaters this past weekend and opened up a whole new world to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We’ve dabbled with magic before (Thor, Scarlet Witch, etc) but now we’re venturing into parallel universes and magic proper that is beyond all scientific explanation. Though just how far does this film take us?
Which Infinity Stone was that? Were they talking about Rhodey post-Civil War? What was up with those post credit scenes? These questions and more will be answered in this Top 5 article detailing the top 5 items/ Easter Eggs that might need some explaining. So let’s count them down shall we!
*Spoiler Warning – If you haven’t seen the film yet, check out my Spoiler Free Review, see the movie and then come back later. I’ll wait*
- Experimental Suit Injury Victim – Rhodey, Hammer Tech Or Spider-Man Villain?
Before Strange’s fated crash, he heard about several potential new patients. One of which cited a 35 year old Marine Colonel who “crushed his lower spine in some kind of experimental armor.” Now immediately, you mind – and many articles – jumped to label this case as James Rhodes who had his back severely injured at the end of Civil War. There are however several problems with this:
- Rhodes is supposed to be in his 40s, not mid 30s
- The armor Rhodes was using was NOT experimental but the MkIII of the original War Machine suit.
- The timing most likely doesn’t line up since Doctor Strange did a very poor job in explaining time.
Though even if the victim isn’t Rhodes, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have importance. We saw in Ironman 2 how various other superpowers were trying to create their own ironman suits. We even saw video of a suit twisting a man’s back completely. Now to be fair, I doubt that man is the one mentioned here though this is certainly pointing to others making their own ironman suit. Perhaps this is the set up for a Spider-Man villain – after all Vulture is supposed to have a pretty cybernetic suit not unlike Falcon’s. There’s tons of super suit characters in the Marvel universe so for now all we can do is just keep an eye out to see if this quick aside leads to something more.
- Schizophrenic Lightning Strike Victim – Captain Marvel
During the same scene – where Strange is selecting between potential patients – we also hear about a 20 something year old girl with schizophrenia who was struck by lightning. Now if you know Carol Danver’s/ Miss Marvel’s origin story, this might seem a little familiar. In the comics, Miss Marvel received her powers after falling into a Kree magnitron machine and getting spliced with Kree DNA. The results of this accident caused her to not only gain powers but also develop a dual personality so that her body and mind could adjust to the drastic change her body just underwent.
Now the details of this mystery victim might seem the reverse of Carol Danver’s, but Feige has previously spoken about how his Miss Marvel would have a slightly different origin story. Could this be that slight difference? Instead of turning into a half human/ half Kree could she have been born one and dealt with those split personality from birth – the lightning then jump starting her powers and help merge her personalities? Who knows, but considering Captain America: Winter Solider first hinted at Doctor Strange 2 years ago it’s entirely possible Doctor Strange would return the favor and set up another future hero.
- Mordo’s Post Credit Betrayal – Too Many Damn Sorcerers:
One of the biggest surprises for comic fans was how Mordo started off as a mentor for Strange. In the comics and other lore, Mordo is indeed a student of the Ancient One but is instead ‘overlooked’ for Strange. This goes on to reveal that Strange was always destined for his role as Sorcerer Supreme and thus Mordo turns bad out of jealousy. Even though there are subtle hints at Strange’s innate ability with magic (like in the operating/ astral battle scene), it is never shown that Strange is destined to be this. The Ancient One fears his potential and thinks he can lose his way as well. Sure it’s strange that Hydra saw his potential for good more than the Ancient One; but regardless this all leads to a different story for Mordo since he’s the one supporting Strange from the start. So then how do we end up with Post Credit showing Mordo stealing magic from other sorcerers.
Unlike the power hungry Mordo of the comics, this Mordo doesn’t want the power for himself but rather sees himself as a purging fire to rid the world of sorcerers. So how did we get here? Well they don’t get to flush it out as well as they should, but there’s several moments during the film where we hear of Mordo’s traumatic past. We never exactly hear what happens, but we know something bad happened and he came to the Ancient One as a broken man – and most likely wanting revenge considering how he spoke of killing. Though despite the gain in power, she also gave him a sense of understanding that ‘things happen according to the natural order’. She is the one who put this shattered man back together and so when it’s revealed that even she wasn’t as straightforward as he thought, he breaks.
Mordo is very black and white, and that’s the kind of detached teachings the Ancient One gave him. It’s not until Strange that there is questioning and curiosity. Before that, it was either follow these orders or don’t. Protect the natural order of things or don’t. Even though Strange saved reality, he perverted the natural order of things to do it. With his belief in his former master shattered – and no chance for her to make it right – he begins to question everything he learned the last few years and now he sees that even the fundamental laws have gray areas is more than he can stand.
Strange broke the laws of nature to preserve the laws of nature, and the complexity of that blows Mordo’s mind. He now feels he wasted his life and sees the two closest to him act selfishly and pervert the laws for a cause. The way he sees it, all sorcerers are selfish. Whether they use magic on themselves or use magic to save ‘their’ reality, he sees this as a waste and perversion, and he alone will rid the earth of these selfish heathens. Again, the film could have explained this a bit better and who knows, perhaps the sequel will give more backstory for Mordo and we can see what happened in the past that mad him so broken. Maybe Strange and Mordo can fix their relationship, and considering the item in our #1 Spot… they might have to!
- A Mid Credits Drink With Thor – A Glimpse Of Thor Ragnarok:
At first glance, seeing Doctor Strange meeting with Thor is a hilarious and nostalgic moment. Remember, we haven’t seen Thor since Avenger: Age of Ultron even though almost everyone else showed up in Civil War. Though this scene gives us much more than a reminder to a character’s presence. In fact, this Mid Credits actually continues a trend set by Ant-Man.
You see, in Ant-Man’s credits we saw Cap and Falcon discussing what to do with Bucky, to which Falcon says ‘he knows a guy’ (Ant-Man). At that time, we figured this was a scene straight from Civil War and we were right! And if you pay particular attention to this scene and what’s said – and what’s changed – you see that this film follows suit. Just as Ant-Man’s Mid Credits hinted at Ant-Man’s role in the upcoming third installment of a Marvel stapled (Captain America), Doctor Strange’s Mid-Credits hints at Doctor Strange’s role in the upcoming third installment of Thor (Thor Ragnaroke). So how do we know this is a scene from Thor: Ragnaroke and what can we learn from it?
For one, we see a much more studied Doctor Strange. By the end of this film, Strange was not the Sorcerer Supreme and still had much to learn. Here we see Strange much more confident in his knowledge and role as he’s compiled a list of numerous otherworldly threats to this world. Furthermore, he’s drinking tea, which might not seem like much but shows that he’s accepted this lifestyle even more than before. Time has certainly passed and seeing Doctor Strange run around New York with Thor to find Odin is a hilarious opportunity that Marvel had better put in a film. You don’t just pass over gold like that.
So like Civil War, Thor Ragnarok should have a scene midway through the film where Doctor Strange makes a cameo and helps out for a short bit. Who know. By then he might have trained enough to possess the Eye of Agamotto fully and that is how he’s refilling Thor’s giant mug of beer (which is itself a throwback to his first film where he drank Erik Selvig under the table). Though the final thing we must note here is that Thor and Loki are looking for Odin. This means before this scene happens 2 things must transpire: Thor learns that the Odin sitting on the throne is not Odin, and Thor learns that Loki is still alive. Additionally, this shows us that Loki did not kill Odin and maybe Odin just left after being in mourning for the loss of his wife. This could be the moment that we’ve waited for and learn that Loki is no longer the villain – long form theory for another time. Whatever the case may be, much needs to happen before this scene as well as after, so having this be a scene of Thor: Ragnarok just makes sense and continues an interesting new trend that I hope Marvel keeps up.
- The Mindless Ones – Kaecilius’s Somber Fate & Dormamu’s Future Set Up:
During the final act of the film, Doctor Strange made a bargain with Dormamu that would lead him away from Earth and take his minions with him. This was a great play because it was Strange doing things his way and NOT succumbing to Mordo’s ‘kill’ mentality. He gave Kaecilius what he wanted, even if he knew that to come at a terrible price… he didn’t kill him. Though sadly, perhaps he should have as Kaecilius and his followers are now “Mindless Ones”.
If you have no idea what that is, then I’ll explain. The Mindless Ones are the servants of Dormamu. They feel nothing. They want nothing. The know nothing. They are simply extensions and vessels of his will and that is exactly what Kaecilius and them become in the end. The film set this up/ hinted at it by saying that they wanted to become “one with Dormamu”. With Dormamu there is no time or anything, just being a part of his eternal being. And that is precisely what a Mindless One can be seen as: an eternal part of him and that’s it. No individuality, desires or thoughts remain. Think of them as Ultron drones…. but with even less individuality.
All that’s left is a black mass with a purpleish eye. And oh wait, what did Kaecilius and his followers get turned into? That’s right, black shadows of their former selves with a single glowing purple light in their heads. This certainly isn’t the last we’ll see of them or Dormamu; and the biggest kicker is that even if we do see Kaecilius again, we’d never know it was him for all Mindless Ones are exactly the same.
Bonus. What Happened When? – Poor Timing/ Pacing:
Sadly, this is one item I can’t explain and only the writers can; but I can explain WHY it is something that needs explaining. As I said in my Spoiler Free Review, this film had a pacing problem. It’s uncertain when Strange lost the use of his hands – pre Winter Soldier or post – and what makes it more complicated is that it’s never mentioned how long he tried recovering. We see how he burned through his fortune and rehabilitation phases so this can be seen as at least a few months to a year. Additionally, when he sees Christine again it’s mentioned that he’s been gone a while. We have no idea how long a time span this film takes place in but considering an award over his watch draw seemed to say 2016, it’s a safe guess that this all took place in under a year.
Yes, this means Strange blew through his money and rehabilitated VERY fast and he was an even faster study. But there is still a problem when we consider Kaecilius and his henchmen. Even if this film took place in just under a year, we still have the awkward question of WHY it took Kaecilius so long to act. Did it take such a skilled sorcerer almost a year to decipher the spell or was he and his cult just sitting on their hands this whole time? Something here needs explaining and sadly, it’s a mystery even this panda can’t solve.