‘Doctor Strange’: The Meaning of the Post-Credit Scenes
Doctor Strange was a groundbreaking movie for Marvel. Scoring over $600 million at the global box office, it now sits as the highest grossing debut solo movie in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film was also a thematic win for the franchise. A bold visual style and a deep dive into the occult side of the MCU made it a unique offering in the saturated world of superhero cinema. More than any of that, Doctor Strange ushered in a new era for Marvel’s films, buoyed by a telling pair of post-credits scenes.
Both scenes teased at what’s to come for a couple upcoming MCU movies, setting the stage in a massive way for both. So what exactly went down, and what does it all mean? We have a few ideas.
1. Kicking off Thor: Ragnarok
Much of what we’ve heard about the third film in the Thor saga paints it as anything but typical. What We Do in the Shadows mastermind Taika Waititi brings an excitingly offbeat sensibility to the table as director, especially for a movie he himself billed as a Thor/Hulk interstellar road trip. The beginning stages of Ragnarok kicked off in the first post-credits scene of Doctor Strange, carrying some significant implications. In the scene, Thor meets with Strange, informing the Sorcerer Supreme that he’s brought his brother, Loki, to Earth, to help search for their father.
This means a couple things. First, it indicates that Thor quickly saw through Loki posing as Odin at the end of Thor: The Dark World. Second, that Odin is lost somewhere on our Earthly plane, and that Thor will likely need to track him down in order to prevent Ragnarok, the Norse end-of-days.
2. Mordo’s transformation into a full-blown villain
In the comics, Baron Mordo has traditionally been cast as the primary adversary for Doctor Strange (think Red Skull/Captain America or Loki/Thor). It made it that much stranger to see him act as an ally to Stephen Strange in Marvel’s movie adaptation. Throughout the film, Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) acted as a mentor and friend, helping the sorcerer-in-training learn to harness his considerable abilities. The revelation that the Ancient One was pulling her powers from the Dark Dimension though disillusioned him, as he ends the film walking away from Strange and the rest of the sorcerers tasked with protecting our world.
The second cutscene expands on Mordo’s departure, as he tracks down Jonathan Pangborn (Benjamin Bratt), the man that originally led Strange to the Ancient One. In the exchange, Mordo comes to the conclusion that those who use magic don’t deserve their power, and that he’s discovered the world’s greatest problem: “Too many sorcerers.” He proceeds to drain Pangborn’s own magic, leaving him paralyzed.
3. What this means for the future of the MCU
For Thor: Ragnarok, it seems entirely possible that Doctor Strange will play a significant role in retrieving Odin. The cutscene featuring Thor had Strange volunteering to assist the god of thunder in his quest, hinting at a major role for Benedict Cumberbatch. It would make a lot of sense to bring Cumberbatch back into the fold quickly too, especially with his solo movie establishing him as the newest big player in the MCU.
Mordo’s cutscene seems to be more a move for the distant future. It seems to indicate he’ll be the main villain in a yet-to-be-confirmed Doctor Strange sequel, although with Marvel’s calendar already filled for the next few years, it’s unclear when that will be. Regardless, it sets him up to assume the role he was always meant to have, as the primary baddie for the Sorcerer Supreme.
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