So the Doctor Strange movie will be upon us in just a few months and we here at MCU Exchange have been wondering what sort of Easter Eggs and cameos might crop up in the film. After all, a magician’s lair wouldn’t be complete without a bevy of cursed tomes and eldritch talismans. Check out Part One of our ongoing series on potential hidden gems from the comics in Doctor Strange here. For now, let’s explore what other mysteries might be lurking in the Sanctum Sanctorum.
Doctor Strange has had a lot of companions and apprentices over the years but few have been as weird as Rintrah. An eight foot tall, lime-green minotaur, Rintrah’s fearsome appearance is rather deceiving. He’s actually a novice sorcerer from another dimension, naïve and innocent as many young students are. Originally sent by his own extra-dimensional master to deliver a package to Strange, he got caught up in one of the Sorcerer Supreme’s adventures, staying on at the end as Strange’s new apprentice. Rintrah has a rather striking visual design, so if at any point the movie needs some oddball background characters he’s an easy go-to. Plus, there’s just something enjoyable about a giant green monster with the personality of an unsure and bookish nerd.
Of all the dangerous magical artifacts in the Marvel Universe, the Darkhold is possibly the worst. Written by the Elder God Cthon, the book is a repository of every dark magical spell imaginable incantations for the creation and control of werewolves, vampires and various other forms of undead. Over the centuries it has been used to cause a great deal of trouble for the world, both intentional and unintentional. Anyone who uses or reads the book risks being possessed by Cthon, or being attacked by his loyal cultists, the Darkholders, and the cursed book always tries to twist those who use it towards evil ends, regardless of their intentions. Every now and then a strong-willed sorcerer can bend the book towards good. Doctor Strange pulled this off in a notable story, using a passage in the book (the so called “Montesi formula”) to perform a ritual that disintegrated every vampire on Earth instantaneously. Of course, they eventually came back, as vampires are wont to do.
The Book of the Vishanti
The antithesis to the Darkhold is the Book of the Vishanti. Originally written by Agamotto, the first Sorcerer Supreme, it details the correct counters to almost all known spells. Other sorcerers and mystics had added to it over the centuries, but it remains primarily a book of counterspells, useful for defense but not offense, though it has an aura of light and goodness that wards off entities of dark magic. In the comics the book was owned by The Ancient One and it was passed to Doctor Strange upon his mentor’s death. It wouldn’t be surprising if The Ancient One is seen reading from it in the movie.
Kevin Feige has stated that visiting other dimensions and alternate realities will be a big part of the Doctor Strange movie, so odds are good we’ll be seeing more than one. The Dark Dimension is confirmed for sure, but there are a number of other planes Strange and his allies might pass through over the course of the movie, each with their own distinctive scenery. One such dimension is Nightmare’s Realm, noted for its dreary Gothic atmosphere and squiggly cobweb designs. Formed by mankind’s unconscious thoughts and dreams, this small dimension is ruled over by Nightmare, one of Doctor Strange’s oldest foes. Nightmare is a parasite, a supernatural being who feeds off of the fear of sleeping humans, attempting to drag their spirits into his realm as they dream. Within this dimension Nightmare is effectively a living god, and Doctor Strange usually only ventures there if he needs to rescue someone whose spirit has been kidnapped. Since he’s just starting out as a sorcerer in the movie, he might make a wrong turn into a bad corner of the multiverse.
Orb of Agamotto
While the Eye of Agamotto is one of Doctor Strange’s most iconic magical possessions, he owns one other powerful artifact that once belonged to the original Sorcerer Supreme. The Orb of Agamotto is a crystal sphere kept inside a casket on a metal stand. Powered by the necromantic energies of the spirit world, the Orb can be used like a traditional crystal ball, albeit one with incredible range. Strange and his predecessors have used it to look at locations on distant planets or other dimensions, to peer into thoughts and across time. Often the casket opens itself and the sphere floats out whenever there’s a great magical disruption, alerting Strange to the danger. Since so many of Strange’s enemies are beings from outside our reality the Orb is one of the most essential items in his toolkit; he can keep tabs on his enemies even while they’re in distant places and foreign planes, as well as making sure some giant dimensional cross-rip hasn’t happened out in the Andromeda galaxy. After all, if some tentacle horror wants to eat the universe it doesn’t have to start on Earth, does it? The Orb probably won’t figure into the plot of the first movie, despite its importance to Strange, simply because the filmmakers know the audience won’t want to have to keep track of multiple “___ of Agamotto” plot devices that each do different things, but it might be standing in a corner of Strange or the Ancient One’s study.
Of all the bizarre and fantastical background characters who might appear in the Doctor Strange movie, I would say one of the most likely is Eternity. Eternity is the living personification of the universe itself, an enormously powerful cosmic entity. Though he first appeared in a Doctor Strange story, and Strange is probably the Marvel character he’s had the most history with, Eternity has been a major player in a great many stories, including Infinity Gauntlet, which the two-part Infinity War movies coming out soon are based on. Technically Eternity has had at least one cameo in the MCU already: he appears on the bottom left of a mural in Guardians of the Galaxy, along with some of his other cosmic kin. It’s on the wall when Star Lord finds the Infinity Stone at the beginning of the movie, and pops up again in the Collector’s slideshow. Considering his importance in Infinity Gauntlet and the fact that Marvel has teased him in one movie already, it seems likely that he’s going to show up in the MCU proper at some point. He’s a weird character though, and it would make sense to establish him in a movie prior to Infinity War. The Doctor Strange movie would be an excellent place to do it.
That’s all for now, but join us Friday for the final installment of this series, and see what other wonders might be lurking behind the scenes of Doctor Strange.