#DoctorStrange is finally here for those of us living in the US, with the awe-inspiring mystical movie set to hit theaters November 4, 2016. And — like any good movie in the #Marvel Cinematic Universe — it brings with it its fair share of comic book references, #EasterEggs, and tantalizing teases for what is still to come in the #MCU.
Here we break down our favorite Easter Eggs from the new movie, but be warned — this post contains some *MAJOR SPOILERS* for Doctor Strange. So if you want to go into the movie with a completely blank slate, then take heed from the Cloak of Levitation and go no further.
Still with us? Good, let's proceed.
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- Did Benedict Cumberbatch Just Reveal That The Illuminati Are Joining The MCU In Doctor Strange 2?
1. Avengers Tower Pops Up (Again)
This isn't exactly a surprise, as we saw #Avengers Tower (formerly Stark Tower) appearing in the second trailer, but we see it not once but twice in Doctor Strange. First towards the beginning whilst Strange suits up to give his fateful speech, and again when Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) battles Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Baron Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) in the mirror dimension of New York.
2. Watch Out For Nicodemus West
When we first meet Stephen Strange we learn that he has a rivalry of sorts with fellow colleague Nicodemus West (Michael Stuhlbarg), as he steps in to save a patient West was about to pronounce dead.
In the #comics Nicodemus West is the surgeon who failed to save Strange's hands from severe nerve damage following his car accident. A minor character, West does actually return to be a pain in Strange's ass, as he goes on to study under the Ancient One and becomes the main antagonist of famous Strange story The Oath. Does this mean we'll see him return later in the MCU?
3. Pink Floyd Sneaks In
Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson promised us that he'd managed to sneak some Pink Floyd in there, and he didn't disappoint. Moments before Strange's fateful car crash, Pink Floyd's "Interstellar Overdrive" can be heard playing on his car stereo.
The psychedelic band have long been associated with this particular Marvel character, as Pink Floyd's second album — "A Saucerful of Secrets" featured artwork from Marie Severin's Strange Tales #158.
4. A Sneaky Iron Man 2 Reference?
A blink-and-you'll miss it moment from just before Strange's car crash comes when he's speaking to Nurse Billy, who tells him of "a 35 year old Marine Colonel, [who] crushed his lower spine in some kind of experimental armor."
While this definitely sounds like a reference to Colonel James "Rhodey" Rhodes (Don Cheadle) — who is currently suffering paralysis in his lower body after crashing during the Leipzig Airport Battle of Captain America: Civil War — his age doesn't match up with that of the supposed victim. Likely it's a reference to Iron Man 2 and Justin Hammer's (Sam Rockwell) attempts to knock off an #IronMan suit of his own, as he used marines to test out the experimental suits of armor.
5. A Bleeding Edge
An interesting choice of words came from Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams) whilst discussing possible avenues of surgery with Doctor Strange. The term "bleeding edge" refers to any brand new form of technology that is not yet stable enough to be used for public consumption, a variation of "cutting edge."
But it's also perhaps a nod towards the aforementioned Bleeding Edge armor of the comics, one of Tony Stark's most famous suits of Iron Man armor. The next step in the evolution of the famous Extremis armor, the Bleeding Edge was an incredibly strong nanotech suit that Tony was able to store within his own body. The design of the Bleeding Edge was modeled after Tony's suit in the first Iron Man film, and the suit he wore in Captain America: Civil War closely resembled the design of the famous armor.
6. Into Shamballa
A nod to a famous Strange tale came soon after Strange checked into hotel le Ancient One, when Baron Mordo made a dry joke about the wifi password. Strange's "mantra" — a.k.a. the wifi password — is Shamballa, a modernization of "Shambhala," a mythical kingdom in Tibetan Buddhist and Hindu tradition.
It's also a nod to Into Shamballa, a very famous and highly rated Doctor Strange story from the mid 1980s, which sees the Sorcerer returning to Tibet twenty years after he finished his training, and upon the anniversary of the Ancient One's death, to find his Master has left him one last gift, and one last test.
7. Master Hamir
The one armed Master Hamir (Topo Wresniwiro) who is mistaken to be the Ancient One by strange, later pops up to help the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) teach Strange an important lesson about spell-casting, but he's not just a one-note character.
In the comics Hamir the Hermit was a long running supporting character of the Ancient One, his most loyal attendant who watched over him through the years. He's also later revealed to be Wong's father, but Derrickson has confirmed that this is not the case in the MCU. C'est la vie.
8. Tina Minoru
Tina Minoru made a surprising cameo in Doctor Strange as one of the Ancient One's pupils, portrayed by Linda Louise Duan. Tina Minoru hasn't traditionally been associated with Doctor Strange, instead she's an important figure in Marvel's Runaways, a series which recently got the green light for a TV series.
In Runaways, Tina is the mother of Nico Minoru — who is one of a group of children who go on the run after discovering that they have superpowers, and that their parents are part of a team of supervillains. Tina also popped up in the Doctor Strange Prelude comic as one of the Masters of Kamar-Taj.
9. The Book of Cagliostro
The Book of Cagliostro is a major plot point in Doctor Strange, the mysterious tome from which Kaecilius rips the spell to summon Dormammu and the Ancient One uses to channel Dark energy to extend her life.
In the comics the Book of Cagliostro is — surprise surprise — a book used by Strange to travel in time. Penned by the Marvel mystic Cagliostro, the book contains a multitude of mystical knowledge, some of it dark and dangerous. It was used by Baron Mordo against the Ancient One as part of a time-traveling scheme, but he was defeated by Strange and last we saw of the book in the comics it was safely in the possession of the good doctor in his Sanctum Sanctorum.
10. The Staff Of The Living Tribunal
During a training sequence with Strange and Mordo, Mordo wields a weapon which he calls The Staff Of The Living Tribunal. No such weapon exists in the Marvel Comic Universe, but it's likely another name for the Staff of Polar Power, which was used by the Living Tribunal to harness cosmic energy.
In the comics the Living Tribunal is a cosmic, ageless being, the guardian of gateways and protector of the Marvel multiverse itself. He hasn't been introduced to the MCU yet, but we did see that dead Celestial in Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Infinity War is not all that far off so, you never know. And more importantly, why does Mordo have it?
11. Who's This Valtorr Then?
In Doctor Strange Baron Mordo also wears an artifact called the Vaulting Boots of Valtorr, another mystical object which doesn't seem to exist in Marvel lore.
Like the Vishanti — who don't get so much as a mention in the movie — Valtorr is an mystical entity, from which sorcerers draw power for various spells, such as the Vapors, or Vipers, of Valtorr. When Strange first encounters the Ancient One and Baron Mordo in Strange Tales 115, Mordo attempts to use the Vapors of Valtorr to kill the Ancient One.
12. It's Avenging Time
The Avengers themselves get name-dropped by Wong (Benedict Wong) later on in the movie, just in case we forgot that yes, Doctor Strange is supposed to be part of the MCU.
When teaching Strange of the Three Sanctums, Wong describes the Avengers as the protectors of Earth against physical threats, whilst the Sorcerers of the Ancient One's order are the protectors against mystical threats. And we know soon enough those two worlds are going to come together, as Doctor Strange will be appearing in Infinity War.
13. Daniel Drumm's Short Lived Cameo
Before Doctor Strange landed, there was rumors swirling about the appearance of one Jericho Drumm — a.k.a Brother Voodoo — the Haitian sorcerer who briefly succeeded Doctor Strange as Sorcerer Supreme of Earth. One of Jericho's defining attributes is the spirit of his brother, Daniel Drumm, who is bound to his body by a voodoo spell.
Daniel Drumm appeared briefly in the Doctor Strange Prelude comics as another student of the Ancient One, and in Doctor Strange the guardian of the New York City sanctum is named to be that Daniel Drumm (portrayed by Mark Anthony Brighton). He did of of course get killed off, so will Jericho show up further down the line to avenge his brother's death?
14. Swearing An Oath
Last week Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson took part in an exciting Reddit AMA, where he mentioned a few particular comic book influences he took on board for the movie. One mentioned was famous tale The Oath, from which the writers almost directly lifted a scene for Doctor Strange.
The scene in question occurs when Strange is stabbed by Kaecilius and seeks help from Christine Palmer. He falls unconscious whilst she's trying to stop his bleeding, and appears in his astral form to assist her with the surgery, scaring the snot out of her in the process.
The only differences are that, in The Oath, Strange was shot by a thief in the Sanctum Sanctorum, not stabbed with a mystical glass pole by crazy-eyes Mads Mikkelsen. And it was a different Night Nurse — Linda Carter, not Christine Palmer — who appears in The Oath. Also later on in the comics Linda and Strange totally hook up. Win some, lose some.
15. Stan Lee Shows Up Totally Unexpectedly
Aaah, you all knew this one was coming. Stan Lee ticked another box with Doctor Strange, as he showed up very briefly in a cameo role during Strange, Mordo and Kaecilius's mirror dimension battle in New York.
He appears sitting in a bus reading Aldous Huxley's The Doors of Perception, which Huxley wrote about his experiences taking the psychedelic drug mescaline — a fun nod to Doctor Strange's psychedelic and suspected drug induced origins in Strange Tales.
16. The Wand of Watoomb
The Wand of Watoomb is mentioned by Baron Mordo, and wielded by Wong during the final battle in Hong Kong. In the comics the Wand of Watoomb is an item comprised of various pieces — an incredibly powerful, and dangerous, mystical object, designed to amplify the power of the one who holds it.
It's an enduring item in the history of Marvel Comics, having popped up as recently as last year in Invincible Iron Man, where Doctor Doom reveals he has one of the wands in his possession.
17. Cumberbatch Plays Dormammu
Remember the big floating purple face we saw in the Dark Dimension? The one which was later confirmed to be Dormammu? If you wondered why the man behind the motion capture wasn't listed in the credits, that's because it was actually Benedict Cumberbatch — Doctor Strange himself.
This was confirmed by Derrickson, who told IGN:
"We knew [Dormammu] was an all CG character, but as we were in production Benedict brought it up as an idea. He said, 'What would you think about me doing it?' I said, 'Let me think about it, you know.' It's an interesting idea, because I did fancy the idea that as this other-dimensional being he's not moving through the Dark Dimension, with a countenance, with eyes and a face, eyes and a mouth, and a human visage – why would he? He takes that form on to communicate with Strange.
The more I thought about it the more I liked the idea. Because no one understood Dormammu better than Benedict did. I also wrote that role to be a kind of ultra-inflated version of Strange. He is an ego run amok; he is this cosmic conqueror where everything, where literally everything in the multi-verse is about him. There's something interesting about this confrontation of this little, tiny guy who has this power of time and this monstrous conqueror who is trapped by a clever gambit. There's something about that worked well, and I didn't think anybody to interact with Benedict than he, himself."
This means that Cumberbatch is the only actor to have portrayed a Marvel superhero and a Marvel villain in the MCU, and in the same movie as well.
18. The Mindless Ones
When Kaecilius and the remaining Zealots are defeated by Strange striking a bargain with Dormammu, they float off and get absorbed into the Dark Dimension. The really weird thing about this moment was that, if you looked closely, you'd have noticed that they started to transform into something else, something... weird.
They seemed to transform into figureless shapes, with one big glowing eye. You might have recognized these as the Mindless Ones, savage mystical beings who date back to the early days of Doctor Strange's career. They exist in the Dark Dimension, outside the boundaries of Dormammu's domain, and have proved a challenge even for the ruler of the Dark Dimension himself.
19. The Time Stone Appears
Surprise! But not that much of a surprise, as the most popular theory of Doctor Strange was confirmed at the conclusion of the movie by Wong, who remarks that Strange probably shouldn't wear the Eye of Agamotto out on the streets due to the fact that it's an Infinity Stone.
It is, of course, the Time Stone. One of the final two stones needed by Thanos (Josh Brolin) to complete the Infinity Gauntlet and wreck havoc on the MCU. All that remains now is the Soul Stone, famously used by Adam Warlock before, during, and after the Infinity Gauntlet saga.
20. Say Hello To Ragnarok
And finally, the post-credits sequences. Ever since the above image of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) holding a piece of paper with the address of the Sanctum Sanctorum written on it hit the internet, we've been abuzz about the possibility of seeing the Sorcerer Supreme appearing in Thor: Ragnarok.
The mid-credits scene revealed a meeting between Thor and Strange, which presumably takes place during Ragnarok as Hemsworth appears in the same clothing as in the above image. Strange isn't too happy with Thor for bringing Loki (Tom Hiddleston) back to Earth, and Thor explains that they are looking for their father, Odin (Anthony Hopkins), who has gone AWOL after the events of The Dark World. And they probably have Loki to blame for that too.
Strange offers to help them find Odin, not because he's feeling altruistic or wants to join the gang, but because he wants Loki off Earth ASAP. And given the green-eyed god's track record with our planet, that's probably a good idea. Great, now we really can't wait for Thor: Ragnarok.
Did you spot a Doctor Strange Easter Egg that we missed? Shout out in the comments below!