When Doctor Strange was released last year, it marked the Sorcerer Supreme’s first appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The film was an unmitigated success. With upcoming appearances in both Thor: Ragnarok and Avengers: Infinity War, there’s also increasing noise about a sequel.
While we’re not likely to see this before 2020, it has got people talking about what we could see in the film earmarked for Marvel’s Phase 4, in whatever guise that takes. ICYMI, Kevin Feige has cast doubt on the expected evolution of the MCU since an interview with Collider in which he said that after Phase 3 concludes with Avengers 4, the MCU is going to be “very, very different”.
Anyway, as Phase 3 gathers pace with the imminent release of Spider-Man: Homecoming, we’ve been looking back at the Doctor Strange Easter Eggs laid in the first film and taking cues from interview nuggets and Doctor Strange comics for clues as to what storylines we might see in Doctor Strange 2.
As we get more news about the Doctor Strange sequel, we’ll post it here.
What? Dracula in a superhero movie? Aren’t they two entirely separate entities? Well, no as it happens, something fans of the comics will already know. And this means Dracula popping up in the sequel is very feasible.
Not only did the Doctor Strange of the comics go through a supernatural horror phase in which Dracula featured, but there’s an Easter Egg in the 2016 film that links to the Prince of Darkness.
The book featured in Doctor Strange that is instrumental to the plot is the Book of Cagliostro – a dark and dangerous book stuffed with mystical knowledge. This and the Darkhold, or Book of Sins, pages of which were copied into the Book of Cagliostro, are connected in comic lore to Dracula. How’s that for a way to bring him into the sequel?
Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson, who looks to be the frontrunner to take the reins for the sequel, has spoken of wanting the follow up to be more visceral. He’s a director known for horror films, including Sinister and The Exorcism of Emily Rose.
He did tell Coming Soon that he sees that era of the comics as being the weakest. However, his general comments about wanting to focus on the alternate dimensions and the multiverse they introduced in the first film do leave things very open.
The character of Nightmare and the concept of the Nightmare Realm as a dimension also fit in with Derrickson’s comments.
It would be an opportunity to bring the first Doctor Strange tale to the screen – Nightmare shared Strange’s comic book debut. And Derrickson confessed in an interview with IGN that he likes the character and would like to explore his Nightmare Realm.
Nightmare rules the dark realm, a splinter realm of the dreamscape which also includes the Dream Dimension. He loves to torment people while they sleep, and once even turned his attentions to the Hulk.
The story in the comic involves Doctor Strange taking on Nightmare by astrally projecting himself into a man’s dream. The man in question comes to Strange for help with his nightmares. Strange confronts a supernatural being within the Nightmare Realm and asks him why he’s tormenting the man. The being says he’s the symbol of evil and the evil the man has done.
At this point, Nightmare appears. We learn that he’s Strange’s ancient foe. Nightmare tells him off for entering a hostile dimension and says that he must die. Them’s the rules, apparently.
Meanwhile, the sleeping man awakens and decides Strange needs to die because he now knows about his own evil deeds. Nightmare seems to be controlling the man’s actions… but we won’t spoil how the whole thing pans out. Suffice to say this seems one of the more likely premises for a Doctor Strange sequel.
Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Karl Mordo fights alongside Stephen Strange in the first Doctor Strange film. But when he discovers that he has been betrayed by the Ancient One, who had been abusing the Dark Dimension’s powers to strengthen her own formidable abilities, he feels immensely let down and turns against his former allies.
The Doctor Strange sequel could well explore Mordo’s position as an antagonist to Strange. The post-credits scene of the first movie certainly teases this.
In it, we see Mordo pay a visit to Benjamin Bratt’s Jonathan Pangborn – you know, the guy who had visited the Kamar-Taj to fix up his spine. Mordo tells Pangborn of his realisation that the sorcerers had been stealing power and using magic for selfish reasons. He promptly goes on to suck the magic out of Pangborn, rendering him paralysed once again. There are too many sorcerers, says Mordo. He then makes it his mission to kill all rogue sorcerers.
Here’s another neat idea, introduced as an Easter Egg in the first film by would-be antagonist Mordo. If you remember, Mordo hands Stephen Strange a document with the word ‘shamballa’ on it. This is a reference to the Doctor Strange graphic novel ‘Into Shamballa’ by J.M. DeMatteis and Dan Green.
The story sees Doctor Strange travelling to this mystical location – an alternate dimension – and presented with a choice. He is asked to bring about the Golden Age by sacrificing most of humanity. He does actually begin the process before thinking better of it, deciding that there’s another way the Golden Age can be ushered in.
Shamballa is also the wi-fi password in the Kamar-Taj. Naturally. But with a couple of references in Doctor Strange, could it be an indicator that Shamballa is about to become a whole lot more significant in the MCU?
Bringing in the Living Tribunal
There are a bunch of relics laying around in the Kamar-Taj, and when Benedict Wong – who plays Wong in Doctor Strange – spoke to FANDOM, he told us in so many words that he wouldn’t be surprised if those relics and more cropped up again in the MCU. And at least one could be representative of a compelling potential storyline for a sequel.
Mordo uses the Staff of the Living Tribunal in the film. This relic is a reference to the Living Tribunal, an all-powerful cosmic entity. He takes on a humanoid form and exists as the guardian of the Multiverse.
Perhaps we could see the character introduced in the next film, as an ally to Strange – if he doesn’t pop up in Avengers: Infinity War first that is. After all, he’s a key figure in this narrative.
The character’s first appearance in the comics was in a Doctor Strange story where Strange was trying to convince him that Earth shouldn’t be destroyed just because it has a propensity for evil. Sounds like a winning plot element to us.
Plus, he’s got a floating head and three faces. Imagine that on the big screen.