Spoilers ahead for Doctor Strange!
Director Scott Derrickson is leading the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) down an exciting new path with the studio’s 14th theatrical release, Doctor Strange. With Oscar-nominated actor Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role, the film is undoubtedly a pointed effort to keep the franchise fresh and a long way from turning to tired ideas like endlessly sequelizing its most popular heroes. So far, that endeavor appears to be paying off, as the film is receiving largely positive reviews ahead of its massive theatrical debut.
Of course, fans already can’t wait to see what Derrickson and his team have up their sleeves for the Sorcerer Supreme, with many theorizing that Doctor Strange could emerge as the heir apparent to Tony Stark/Iron Man’s status as the de facto leader of the Avengers and, by extension, the MCU as a whole. Even long before the camera started rolling, the fervent fanbase has been speculating about what might happen in Doctor Strange and how those developments will play into upcoming releases. Now that the film is about to be released, we have a far better idea of what to expect from the latest Marvel Studios effort.
1. Introducing the next Infinity Stone
Ever since Thanos (Josh Brolin) appeared at the end of The Avengers, fans knew that the foundation for an Infinity Gauntlet storyline was being laid down. Since then, four of the six Infinity Stones necessary to activate the powerful weapon have been identified in the films. Doctor Strange brings a fifth rumored Infinity Stone, the Eye of Agamotto.
Bearing the ability to alter time, the Eye of Agamotto is heavily expected to be the Time Stone, leaving only one remaining Infinity Stone that needs to make its way to the big-screen before Avengers: Infinity War heats up.
2. Meet Dormammu
Throughout much of the marketing for Doctor Strange, the details surrounding the film’s villain have remained largely under wraps. We knew that Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale) was on board to play the antagonist Kaecilius, but more recent word has indicated that one of Strange’s most fearsome enemies, Dormammu, will make his live-action debut in the new film. Ruler of the Dark Dimension, the character was actually performed using motion capture by Cumberbatch himself, who also played the dragon Smaug in The Hobbit trilogy.
3. An Avenger will make an appearance
Those keeping track of the ongoing MCU saga may remember that Thor is the only of the original Avengers to not complete his trilogy of solo films. We last saw him heading back to Asgard after Avengers: Age of Ultron to investigate a troubling vision he had involving the Infinity Gauntlet. Presumably, he will discover that his father is missing, and Loki has taken over the throne. However, we won’t have to wait until Thor: Ragnarok to get a hint of what’s to come for the God of Thunder, as he’ll be briefly popping up in Stephen Strange’s debut appearance.
4. Baron Mordo could be the sequel’s villain
Moviegoers familiar with the comic book mythos of Doctor Strange may be surprised to see Baron Mordo — played by 12 Years a Slave star Chiwetel Ejiofor — fighting on the side of good in Derrickson’s film, but don’t get too comfortable. The longtime Marvel villain may be poised to turn to the dark side, after all. Reports are pouring in that Doctor Strange sets Mordo up for a villainous turn, likely to take the center stage as the big bad of the expected sequel. Bring it on.
5. Doctor Strange will unite the Avengers
After the events of Captain America: Civil War, it’s safe to say that the Avengers are in a serious state of disrepair. However, someone with the mind-expanding abilities of Doctor Strange could bring exactly the right outside perspective to help Team Cap and Team Iron Man reunite against the far greater evil posed by Thanos and his magic glove.
While fans shouldn’t expect to see Steve and Tony hug it out in Doctor Strange, don’t be surprised if the pathway to reconciliation begins with the Sorcerer Supreme himself. Much like how Black Panther served as a third-party observer to the internal Avengers conflict in the end, Strange can similarly teach the marquee Marvel heroes that there are far greater things at stake than simply the ghosts of the past.
Follow Robert Yaniz Jr. on Twitter @CrookedTable
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