Marvel Studios movies are noted for their sometimes very obscure references, usually aimed at fans of the comics. All of the films have the usual post-credits gag or cameo, but some lend themselves to more obscure Easter eggs. The first Thor had a number of references in Odin’s treasure vault, including a nod to the Infinity Gauntlet, while Guardians of the Galaxy had the Collector’s menagerie.
Doctor Strange is likely to be another MCU film that lends itself to a lot of references and cameos. In the comics Strange’s secret lair is the Sanctum Sanctorum, and a recent movie tie-in comic revealed that, in the movie, the Sanctum is specifically a storage facility for dangerous magical artifacts. This location, along with the temple of the Ancient One, are perfect places for winking nods to the fans. Travel to other realities and the manipulation of time are also supposed to be big parts of the movie as well, which means Doctor Strange could potentially visit almost anywhere or bump into anyone. Over the next few days we here at MCU Exchange will be going over some of the places, items, and people you may want to keep your eyes peeled for in the background, come this November.
The G’uranthic Guardian
It’s been confirmed for a while now that the Doctor Strange movie will take us to the Dark Dimension, home to Strange’s nemesis the Dread Lord Dormammu. How much of the movie will take place there is up in the air, but one of the dimension’s most notable landmarks is the G’uranthic Guardian, a massive stone statue with six limbs and one eye. The Guardian was created by an ancient king of the Dark Dimension as a way to keep out trouble makers. Its exact location varies from story to story; sometimes it’s said to guard the entrance to Dormammu’s palace, sometimes his throne, and in some cases just the borders of the Dark Dimension itself. Regardless, whenever a traveler passes by, it comes to life and emits a beam of light from its eye, testing their will. If their will is strong enough, they may proceed, if not their strength will be sapped until they can no longer go forward. In some cases the statue actively attacks the unworthy with its stone limbs. If the movie spends any significant time in the Dark Dimension, there’s a 50/50 chance this thing will pop up somewhere in the background or even as part of an action sequence.
Wings of Needless Sorrow
One of the nastier magical items in Doctor Strange’s possession is a small metal amulet, shaped like a pair of barbed wings. Called the Wings of Needless Sorrow, this amulet can drain magical energy and feed it into the sorcerer who wears it. The Wings can even drain this energy from the bodies of magical beings and other sorcerers, killing them in the process. Traditionally used by evil sorcerers, the amulet also radiates an aura of despair and misery. Prolonged exposure can drive the weak willed to suicide.
The Aged Genghis is the oldest living sorcerer in the world, so old that his true name has been forgotten. Unfortunately for the Genghis, a lot has been forgotten. Despite his bottomless knowledge of all things magical he’s quite senile, barely remembering who and where he is half the time and relying on servants to care for him. Many a mystic has travelled to his mountain lair seeking important information, only to receive a lengthy diatribe on the spiritual nature of one’s feet or just a series of gibbering giggles. Only fools completely disregard the Genghis, though, for important secrets can often be discerned in his ramblings, if you have the patience to look for them. The Aged Genghis can be a very entertaining character but his similarity to Strange’s mentor The Ancient One make his inclusion in the movie a little less likely. Still, if at any point an ancient, half-dressed wizard babbling nonsense shows up in a group scene, you’ll know who it was.
The Purple Gem
Not to be confused with the purple Infinity Gem from the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, the Purple Gem is a magical artifact in Doctor Strange’s keeping. The gem looks unassuming enough, but anyone who touches it or even gets too close to it risks being sucked inside the gem, transported to the dreaded Purple Dimension. This reality is an endless prison, ruled over by a warlord who uses those captured by the gem as slave labor. The gem is a one way trip, and escape from the Purple Dimension is all but impossible. Keep an eye a small purple gem in which tiny shadow forms move, and listen for the dim screams of those trapped within. One special note about the Purple Gem: in the comics, the gem was the final resting place of and enemy of Doctor Strange called Kaecilius. In the comics he was a minor foe but in the movie Kaecilius has been elevated to the main villain, played by Mads Mikkelsen. There’s no guarantee he’ll suffer the same fate as his comic counterpart, but there’s at least a chance.
The Vishanti are a trio of benevolent god-like beings from beyond our dimension. They are phenomenally powerful and often lend that power to noble sorcerers who they deem worthy: Doctor Strange, The Ancient One, and The Aged Genghis are all servants of theirs. In fact, it was the Vishanti who first created the office of the Sorcerer Supreme, and the original Sorcerer Supreme, Agamotto, eventually ascended to godhood and became the third member of the Vishanti. Though there has yet to be any indication that they will appear in person in the movie, their influence has shown up all over it. Doctor Strange wears the Eye of Agamotto in the film, the Seal of the Vishanti has been seen in a number of places, including on the Eye itself, as well as in the window of Strange’s lair, the Sanctum Sanctorum, and decorating the set of the Ancient One’s Temple. Expect the Vishanti to be namedropped at least once in the movie, both as a group and possibly as individuals (the other two being named Oshtur and Hoggoth). Who knows, they may even make a personal appearance to bestow their approval on Strange as the new Sorcerer Supreme.
The Wand of Watoomb
The Wand of Watoomb isn’t the most interesting of magical artifacts, though its potential isn’t anything to scoff at. Appearing as a short metal or crystal wand with two stylized demon-heads at either end, the wand can open portals and windows to other dimensions and project magical energies of great magnitude. They’re simple abilities, but using them you could easily spy on your enemy from worlds away, then open a portal and disintegrate him with a magical bolt. The wand is more fondly remembered for being the Macguffin of the very first Doctor Strange/Spider-Man crossover. Though they’re very different the two characters have had a number of adventures together. The self-serious Strange and the joke-cracking Spider-Man make excellent comedic foils for one another, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they get some scenes together in Infinity War. If the Wand appears in this movie, it’s probably just a nod to some well-regarded stories.
That’s all for today, but come back on Wednesday for a look at other hidden treasures that may materialize from the ether on the set of Doctor Strange.