The latest offering from the #MarvelCinematicUniverse, Doctor Strange, was undoubtedly the most mind-bending yet. Doctor Strange didn't just introduce Hollywood darling Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Stephen Strange, it also properly exposed the psychedelic MCU Multiverse for the first time, and started to lay down a more solidified concept of magic itself.
Though it was primarily another origin story, #DoctorStrange will have a pretty big effect on the MCU as a whole. Not only has it widened the limits of the narrative genre a little bit further now, it also set up several incredibly powerful characters who you can expect to see becoming pretty important as we move forward into Phase 4.
How Powerful Is Doctor Strange?
The first and foremost of these character is, for course, Doctor Strange himself. Though he was merely a novice for most of the movie, through a combination of tactical thinking, sheer luck and a handy Infinity Stone, he managed to outsmart the dread Dormammu, a villain far more powerful than any we've seen before (Thanos notwithstanding).
But Doctor Strange was just the beginning for the titular character. He may have earned himself the title of Master of the Mystic Arts, as he stood beside Wong (Benedict Wong) as the new protector of the New York Sanctum Sanctorum, but there's another important accolade yet to be claimed. While there are many Masters of the Mystic Arts in the #MCU, there can only be one Sorcerer Supreme.
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When the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) passed on in a dramatic scene toward the climax of the movie, she left the title of Sorcerer Supreme without a successor. And — at that point — Strange isn't really skilled enough to claim that title for himself. But throughout the movie there are a few markers that indicate that he's on his way to becoming the Sorcerer Supreme — the Eye of Agamotto, and the Cloak of Levitation.
The Cloak Of Levitation
The Cloak of Levitation comes to Strange during the battle with Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) in the New York Sanctum. A floating cloak that appears to have its own consciousness, it takes a quick liking to Strange, as Wong comments. It saves his life more than once during the fight with the Zealots, and provides plenty of comic relief.
In the comics the red cloak was gifted to Strange by the Ancient One himself, after Strange first defeated #Dormammu. Before then Strange wore a blue cloak, which was less powerful than the red. He was given the red cloak once he proved he was worthy to wear it, so it's no surprise that the MCU version of the cloak also appears to have its own judgements about the worth of the one who wears it.
The Eye Of Agamotto
The Eye of Agamotto, the amulet worn on his chest, is also an indicator of the status of the Sorcerer Supreme. When Strange relinquishes the title after the events of World War Hulk and New Avengers Annual 2, he passes both the title of Sorcerer Supreme and the Eye itself onto Brother Voodoo (or Doctor Voodoo as he then became known), who becomes the mystical protector of Earth in Strange's absence. Indeed he uses the Eye to find Brother Voodoo in the first place, it itself seems to choose the next Supreme.
But though Doctor Strange has wielded the Eye of Agamotto — revealed in the movie to be an #InfinityStone — he has not yet mastered it. At the conclusion of the movie he returns it to its pedestal in the Sanctum, rather than taking it with him. And the Cloak of Levitation too returns to its glass case to rest. This is indicative of the fact that, though the items lent him their power for the battle, he is not yet ready to control them fully as the Sorcerer Supreme.
When Will He Become Sorcerer Supreme?
So, how does one become the Sorcerer Supreme then? By having the title passed on from the predecessor. The reason that the Ancient One didn't bequeath the title upon Strange during their deathbed talk is because he wasn't yet ready, and she knew that.
So, she died without naming a successor. But this doesn't mean she can't still be the one to pass the title on. In the comics the Ancient One has appeared many, many times from beyond the grave. Most recently he showed up at the end of New Avengers Vol. 2 to re-bestow the title of Sorcerer Supreme on Doctor Strange again, following the death of Doctor Voodoo and Strange's defeat of Daniel Drumm.
At this time, Strange gets both the Cloak of Levitation and the Eye of Agamotto returned to him, along with his title. So basically you should keep an eye on how he handles these items as the MCU moves forward, as they are the marks of the Sorcerer Supreme. This also means that we may see Tilda Swinton appearing again in the MCU, coming back from beyond the grave in order to pass on her title to him. It's been a while since we've seen a good old ghostie showing up.
But with that title could come even bigger responsibilities, as the Ancient One of the MCU has a whole school to run at Kamar-Taj, something that they didn't really have to deal with in the comics. With Doctor Strange juggling the New York Sanctum, The Avengers, Thor, Loki, and Thanos, it's going to be a wild ride for his character regardless of where he goes next.
When do you think Doctor Strange will receive the title of Sorcerer Supreme? Sound off in the comments, and check out our run-down of all the Doctor Strange Easter Eggs below!