Spoilers ahead for Marvel’s Doctor Strange!
With each installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), we see the hero bring something different to the table. Sometimes, it’s a small course alteration (Ant-Man, Thor: The Dark World), while others will flip the table and reset the series entirely (Captain America: Civil War, The Winter Soldier). Doctor Strange resides somewhere in the middle of that scale, introducing never-before-seen elements that drive the overarching story, as it still remains consistent with the universe as it stands now. That being so, there are a handful of plot points that set up a whole lot for the remainder of Marvel’s Phase 3. Here’s what we were able to catch.
1. The introduction of magic and mysticism into the MCU
The MCU has traditionally been firmly rooted in science and reason. Run through the Avengers’ original roster, and we have: a man who built his own super-suit, another who became a giant green rage monster following a lab accident, a soldier enhanced by a genetic serum, and two trained assassins. Then there’s Thor, who even as the Norse God of Thunder, passes his own “magic” off as science we simply don’t understand yet. That all changed with Doctor Strange, and it set the stage for more heroes to follow suit.
In Doctor Strange, the Ancient One describes sorcery as beings harnessing and manipulating the fabric of reality through sheer force of will. As she states matter-of-factly, “not everything makes sense; not everything has to.” Across the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we see this proliferating. Ghost Rider’s recent arc on Agents of SHIELD teases at a decidedly supernatural origin for the anti-hero. In 2017, Netflix’s Iron Fist will feature a hero whose traditional origin story revolves around Danny Rand defeating a dragon and harnessing the power of its melted-down heart. Suffice it to say, magic and mysticism have officially become an integral part of the MCU, and we have Doctor Strange to thank.