With Doctor Strange due out in just under two months, there's still a lot we don't know. Although this film is going to be an origin story, #Marvel has kept details of the movie under wraps; it was only in July that we even got the name of Mads Mikkelsen's character, for example, while Rachel McAdams's role in the plot is still enigmatic. However, over the past few months, we've been given crumbs of information that have helped us build a picture of the villainous presences we'll encounter in this next #MCU blockbuster. Without further ado, then, here are the villains we know about - and the villains who've been hinted at...
1. Mads Mikkelsen is Kaecilius
A relatively minor character in the comics, #Kaecilius has usually been portrayed as a disciple of Baron Mordo (more on that character later). Mads Mikkelsen's role was kept secret until June, and it wasn't until the third trailer that we even got to see Kaecilius in action!
Kaecilius's backstory has been revealed in The Zealot, a Prelude comic published in digital format. Here, we learn that Kaecilius suffered a terrible loss - complications during pregnancy led to the deaths of both his wife and their unborn child. He was offered redemption by Baron Mordo, but in truth has only sought the secrets hidden by the Ancient One - including the power to break through the dimensions, and be reunited with his wife.
Kaecilius has been seduced by a being from one dimension, likely the dread Dormammu but possibly the avatar of Death herself, and has founded an order known as the Zealots who are dedicated to breaking down the boundaries between the dimensions.
2. Chiwetel Ejiofor is Baron Mordo
Traditionally Doctor Strange's greatest nemesis, Baron #Mordo was a fellow disciple of the Ancient One who betrayed his mentor. Mordo ultimately struck a deal with a demonic being known as Dormammu for power, and since then he and Strange have been arch-nemeses.
The Doctor Strange Prelude comics have shown Mordo as the Ancient One's deputy, working to protect the world from dark magic, and heavily involved in the instruction of new disciples. True to this, there have been hints that the relationship between Strange and Mordo will be one of pupil and teacher, and images have consistently portrayed Mordo and Strange as allies.
We don't know whether or not Doctor Strange will see Chiwetel Ejiofor's Mordo betray the Masters of the Mystic Arts, but it seems unlikely; Kaecilius is being constantly referenced as the main villain. More likely is that Doctor Strange will begin the story of Mordo's fall from grace, and that a sequel will see him do a deal with Dormammu for power, as he did in the comics.
3. Shuma-Goroth May Make an Appearance
An ancient force of chaos, Shuma-Goroth is an extra-dimensional entity that ruled Earth in ancient times, demanding human sacrifices to sate its appetite. In the comics, Shuma-Goroth actually possessed the Ancient One, leaving Doctor Strange no choice but to kill his master. This was how Strange earned the title of Sorcerer Supreme.
In June, LEGO released images of the "Sanctum Sanctorum" playset (the Sanctum Sanctorum is Doctor Strange's home in the comics, and seems to be a repository of mystic artifacts for the Masters of the Mystic Arts). This featured a monster emerging from a wall, one that looked very much like Shuma-Goroth. Now, this may seem like slim evidence, but remember that LEGO has a history of blowing the lid on Marvel movie secrets. For example, we learned about the Giant-Man twist in Captain America: Civil War because of a LEGO playset! What's more, LEGO has requested images of the playset be pulled from articles discussing this (as in the case of my previous article).
It seems certain that Shuma-Goroth is going to play some sort of role in Doctor Strange, although I'm expecting the plot to diverge from the comics. I wouldn't be surprised if Shuma-Goroth makes only a token appearance.
4. Dormammu Is Certain To Appear
It was a certainty that there'd be at least a nod to Doctor Strange's most powerful adversary, the other-dimensional being known as Dormammu. #Dormammu is the ruler of a realm known as the Dark Dimension, who seeks to extend his rule to Earth. In January this year, Kevin Feige told us:
"We see glimpses of something called the Dark Dimension. But if you were to open a Doctor Strange comic drawn by Steve Ditko, you would see the Dark Dimension is, in fact, very colorful in an extremely psychedelic way. Those are the things we're not shying away from."
Having made a vow not to attack Earth directly, Dormammu instead works through agents - most prominently, Mordo. Feige's comment that we will only see "glimpses" of the Dark Dimension suggests that Dormammu doesn't play a major role, though.
This has been accidentally confirmed by Dan Harmon, who was brought in to do the final reshoots on Doctor Strange. During an episode of his podcast, Harmon showed a list of files on his computer, and an eagle-eyed Reddit user spotted something:
The file name is "Strange Confronts Dormammu". Harmon's since edited the video, blurring out the file-names - making it pretty certain that this is a legitimate leak. Given that the reshoots have mostly seemed to be fine-tuning, I doubt that Dormammu is the main villain - after all, a reshoot of the main confrontation would hardly be fine-tuning! Instead, it seems that Dormammu is working through his agents, although Doctor Strange will enter Dormammu's realm and confront him. This is likely setting up an ongoing role, as Dormammu continues to attempt to conquer our dimension.
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So there you have it! Doctor Strange looks set to be a busy film, with some powerful extra-dimensional entities - and some very human villains. It seems pretty clear to me that Doctor Strange is setting up its sequels, preparing us to watch the fall of Baron Mordo - and the rise of Doctor Strange!
Are you excited for Doctor Strange? Let me know in the comments! Meanwhile, check out our video of Doctor Strange and Baron Mordo jumping for joy to be in the MCU...