Phase 3 will welcome Marvel’s entry into the mystical world when it introduces Doctor Strange into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Doctor Strange is the Sorceror Supreme, or primary protector of Earth against magical and mystical threats. He’s worked with both the Avengers and the Defenders and could likely serve as a bridge between the two teams. In some of the biggest Marvel events, Strange plays some role in helping to save the world, so it seems fitting that we will see him introduced prior to the Infinity Wars.
On the introduction note, Benedict Cumberbatch is officially confirmed as being cast as Dr. Strange, which as you’ll see below the resemblance is quite striking.
Kevin Feige has stated that Dr. Strange’s origin is one of the most fascinating. More recent reports however have indicated that as he already exists in the MCU due to a statement by Agent Sitwell, we may not see an origin story on the big screen. In either case, here is how Doctor Strange came to be.
At a young age Stephen Strange was haunted by demons controlled by an apprentice sorceror Karl Mordo, but was rescued by the Ancient One, Mordo’s mentor, millenia-old Sorceror Supreme. This introduction to the mystical realm was not a pivotal stage in Strange’s youth. It would, however, not be the last encounter with the Ancient One.
The rest of Stephen’s youth was fairly common. He had two siblings, and his sister Donna seemed to be prone to injury or health issues. It was helping aid her after injury that sparked an interest in a medical career. He finished high school and began pre-med at a college in New York. While on a break he and Donna were swimming when she got a cramp and drowned. Not being able to save her took a toll on him, but also helped drive him to finish medical school quickly. During his residency his mother passed away, which distanced him further from patient care, but turned him into a highly skilled and prominent neurosurgeon. His early career just as his education was plagued with more death, including the loss of his father and brother. An engagement with a United Nations translator was called off due to his materialism, which only made it worse.
The bad luck that had hit everyone else in his family finally caught up with Strange when he was in a car accident. The wreck damaged the nerves in his hands, which lead to the end of his surgical career. Realizing his career might be over Strange sought out any possible cure for his issue, quickly depleting his fortune. At his lowest point, he heard rumors of the Ancient One’s powers, and sold everything he had to go and seek help. The Ancient One refused to cure him, but Strange offered to be a disciple to the Ancient One after learning that the Ancient One was Earth’s magical defender, and that Mordo, also a disciple of the Ancient One, was behind recent mystic attacks. The Ancient One spent years teaching Stephen sorcery, and how to invoke powers of Principalities ADD, like the Vishanti. The Ancient One’s willingness to take Strange in so quickly leads Mordo to take off and seek greater powers elsewhere, often clashing with Strange.
Early into sorcery Strange developed friendships with other sorcerers around the world, immortal adventurers, and heroes. After around 10 years had passed Dr. Strange made his way back to New York with Wong, his servant and friend who comes from a long line of service to the Ancient One. Strange would serve as a consultant to law enforcement on cases that couldn’t be explained, and quickly starting battling local mystical elements, including the demonic Nightmare. A brief encounter with Loki allowed Strange to team up with his first Avenger, Thor.
When Dormammu, ruler of the Dark Dimension began planning an invasion of the Earth dimension, Strange traveled to the Dark Dimension to battle Dormammu. The mystic duel between them was heavily weighted towards Dormammu, but Doctor Strange was able to weaken Dormammu enough to wane the Dark Dimension’s barrier. Seeing the danger this posed to the denizen’s of the Dark Dimension, including Clea, daughter of Dormammu’s sister; Strange restored just enough power back to Dormammu to restore the barrier and save the parents. This allowed him to bargain with Dormammu to save the Earth dimension and Clea, though Dormammu would seek vengance many times after this.
Next, the Nameless One lead the Undying Ones, a demonic race, against Strange in battles so big that he manipulated the help of Namor the Sub-Mariner and the Hulk to defeat them. The guilt of manipulating them resulted in him giving up his mystical duties for a brief time before being brought back into mysticism when Baron Mordo tried to kill him. After defeating Mordo, the Nameless One resurfaced and Strange asked Namor and the Hulk for their help again. This lead to the three teaming up with the Silver Surfer to forming the Defenders.
After numerous battles with the Defenders, servants of Shuma-Gorath attacked Strange while Shuma-Gorath tried to return to the dimension through the Ancient One’s mind. The Ancient One asked Strange to kill him so that Shuma-Gorath could not return, and Strange abliged. This lead to the Ancient One becoming part of Eternity, and also cemented Doctor Strange as the new Sorceror Supreme.
After this Strange becomes the defacto leader of the Defenders, offering his santuary as the Defenders headquarters. A run-in with the Creators via the Ancient One’s spirit leads to Strange’s first cosmic battle with the In-Betweener. During this storyline Strange briefly has his title of Sorceror Supreme removed, though at the end it is restored. In the event that the Defenders is not the tie in of Strange to the MCU, it is likely his cosmic battles that may tie him in.
Strange possesses martial arts skills almost as strong as his magical abilities, and wears the Eye of Agamotto which offers abilities such as radiating light, probing minds, and opening portals to other dimensions. His ability to fly comes from his wearing a Cloak of Leviatation. He often refers to the Book of the Vishanti and the Darkhold to cast spells, and often utilizes his wide collection of mystical artifacts, most commonly the Orb of the Agamotto which allows him to view the state of various dimensions.
Strange offers an impressive amount of range and freedom to the MCU. As Marvel has noted multiple times, he will bring the MCU into the mystical world. His title of Sorceror Supreme makes him the primary protector and defender of the entire universe, a role that occassionally he finds overwhelming, but he always rises to the occasion, and also has some spells that have the capability effect or reverse the effect of events on a massive scale. Some of Marvel’s greatest events have been effected in a big way by Doctor Strange, and you can expect him to play a big role in the Infinity Wars, likely as part of the Illuminati, or keepers of the Infinity Stones.
So will we see a battle with Baron Mordo? Strange grow into his role of Sorceror Supreme by defeating Shuma-Gorath? Or could this provide another change to bring Loki back for a battle with some Thor cross-over? The most recent report on the script says that Strange will already be established as Sorceror Supreme. The In-Betweener storyline seems the most likely as it could serve as a bridge to the Guardians of the Galaxy as it is his first cosmic battle. This could bring Earth into contact with either the Inhumans or Guardians of the Galaxy, and as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. introducing the Inhumans it could be how we see the Guardians team up with the Avengers leading into the Infinity Wars.
Strange continues to have some great battles after the Infinity Wars as well, and we will cover more of what you may see when a second Dr. Strange is announced.