Spoiler warning! Don't read on unless you want to be exposed to some serious spoilers about Doctor Strange.
#DoctorStrange has barely been out in Europe three days, and doesn't open in the US until November 4, but already a few of the movie's finer plot points have opened up an inter-dimensional portal of speculation about how what we saw in Benedict Cumberbatch's debut outing will shape the events of #DoctorStrange2. Obviously, there will be spoilers if you read on.
Here are five ways Doctor Strange sets up its inevitable sequel.
1. Expansion of The Multiverse
Up until now, the MCU has more or less remained squarely rooted on Earth, in our dimension, a couple of trips to Asgard aside. Now though, the universe is beginning to expand to incorporate other realms. In Ant-Man we travelled briefly into the Quantum Realm, in that movie's most incredible sequence, a space which will almost definitely be explored further in Ant-Man and The Wasp (coming 2018), possibly with Strange assisting Scott and Hope in their search for Janet Van Dyne.
Doctor Strange introduced us to the Mirror Dimension, a visual twin in which anything that happens does not affect our own world. We also travelled to the Dark Dimension, where the Doctor battled with Dormammu via some clever use of the Time Stone. The #Multiverse, though, is vast, filled with alternate dimensions, some of which (as the #AncientOne observed) we can barely even begin to imagine.
The exciting thing about the new #MCU? All of those dimensions are fair game, and in Stephen Strange we have a character capable of opening portals to travel between them. You bet your ass we'll be seeing more of them in Doctor Strange 2.
2. Who Will Become Sorcerer Supreme?
The mystic arts don't teach themselves — the world (not to mention the students at Kamar-taj) needs a Sorcerer Supreme. In the comics, of course, Doctor Strange himself holds that title, but in the MCU it's far too early to consider Stephen Strange the greatest known practitioner of magic.
Will Wong take over the Ancient One's mantle, or will another sorcerer step up? That's something Doctor Strange 2 is almost certain to address — and seeing as we know how easy it is to corrupt a sorcerer (first Kaecilius, then Mordo), it would be naive to imagine that Stephen Strange will be a natural ally to the next Sorcerer Supreme.
3. Good Mordo Gone Bad
This feels like the most obvious of the ways in which Doctor Strange sets up its sequel, but also, paradoxically, the most disappointing — to spend two hours with a principled, moralistic Baron Mordo, only to have him reject the values of the Ancient One's teachings and strike out alone in the post-credits scene, felt like a rushed and unearned way to turn Mordo into a villain.
Nonetheless, that's clearly what he's becoming, and by the time Doctor Strange 2 rolls around, Stephen will unquestionably find himself coming face to face with a former ally now intent on putting everything Strange has worked for in jeopardy. That's an exciting prospect, even if we got there in a sucky way.
What Else Do We Know About Doctor Strange 2?
There's no solid information right now on #BenedictCumberbatch's contract and how many Marvel movies he's tied in for, but Doctor Strange is clearly setting him up as a major player in the MCU. Expect to see him again in Thor: Ragnarok — not confirmed, but that mid-credits scene makes it a probability — Avengers: Infinity War and Doctor Strange 2, at the very least.
As for when the sequel will hit theaters? Don't hold your breath until 2020, which is just about the next free slot for another MCU movie. Once Avengers 4 (due 2019) is out the way, expect Doctor Strange to strike out solo once again.
What else can we expect from Doctor Strange 2, and will Baron Mordo prove a more difficult nemesis than Kaecilius or Dormammu?