Who can challenge Doctor Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme, Master of the Mystic Arts? In 1964, Marvel legends Stan Lee and Steve Ditko came up with the answer; the powerful, extra-dimensional entity known as the dread #Dormammu. Now, with strong hints that Dormammu is destined to enter the #MCU in November's Doctor Strange movie, it's time to get the lowdown on this major Marvel villain!
The Origin of Dormammu
The writers and artists of Doctor Strange comics had always been fascinated by the idea of other dimensions. I'm not talking alternate realities, but rather whole new planes of existence, overlapping on our own four-dimensional reality. Some of Doctor Strange's greatest enemies are extra-dimensional entities of tremendous power, who seek to extend their rule. Dormammu is the classic example.
An exile from a race known as the Faltane, Dormammu and his sister Umar conspired against their people, and were banished. Dormammu found his home in a psychedelic realm known as the Dark Dimension, which he swiftly conquered. Learning how to break down the barriers between the dimensions, he began to conquer other realities, absorbing them into the Dark Dimension.
On Earth, Agamotto — the first Sorcerer Supreme — clashed with Dormammu many times, striving to protect our dimension from Dormammu's greed. There will always be a Sorcerer Supreme to stand in defence of our reality, and that's in large part because of the threat of Dormammu. The Ancient One — Doctor Strange's mentor — battled Dormammu in 1666, burning London to the ground during their conflict. With Dormammu's threat driven back, the Ancient One began using his sorcery to strengthen the natural mystic boundaries between the dimensions.
Dormammu's Vendetta Against Doctor Strange
Although Dormammu couldn't penetrate the barriers protecting the Earth, he could still approach people on our plane of existence. He tempted Baron Mordo — a gifted sorcererand the Ancient One's disciple — and persuaded him to begin weakening his master. Unfortunately for Dormammu, his plans were exposed by the Ancient One's newest student, one Doctor Stephen Strange.
Doctor Strange ultimately entered the Dark Dimension, and confronted Dormammu in battle. Dormammu was confident of his power, but had seriously underestimated Doctor Strange; the battle was so fierce that the boundaries between the Dark Dimension and the realm of monstrous beings known as the Mindless Ones were broken. Doctor Strange couldn't abandon the creatures who lived in the Dark Dimension, and was forced to work with Dormammu to repair the damage. In return, much to Dormammu's frustration, the Faltine was forced to swear not to attack Earth directly while Doctor Strange lived.
From this moment on, Dormammu has carried a burning hatred for Doctor Strange. He's made successive attempts to exploit loopholes in his vow (most notably, acting through other agents such as Baron Mordo), and has become one of the most dangerous threats facing the Marvel Universe.
How Powerful is Agamotto?
An ancient being of immeasurable age, Dormammu predates life on Earth. He is a being literally composed of mystic energy, able to consume matter and energy alike and convert it into eldritch power. There seem to be no limits to Dormammu's magic, and time and again he's come close to consuming our very reality!
That said, Dormammu does have two weaknesses. First, his power seems to be greatest in the Dark Dimension, where he seems to draw sustenance from the worship of his followers. Secondly, he seems dependent on his mystical Faltine flames — the fires that always burn in his presence, consuming matter and transforming it into his dark power. Some sorcerers have defeated Dormammu by quenching those flames, depleting Dormammu's power as a result.
Is He Likely to Appear in Doctor Strange?
We know that Doctor Strange will feature two bands of sorcerers who can penetrate the barriers between dimensions. The Masters of the Mystic Arts are sworn to defend our world, but the Zealots have been seduced by a power from another dimension. Captivated by the forces they have seen, the Zealots strive to break down the boundaries between the realities, and seem to be serving a powerful cosmic force. Because their eyes have glimpsed planes of existence that no mortal man should see, they take on a strange, hollowed-out and cracked appearance.
In January this year, Kevin Feige confirmed that the film would give us a 'glimpse' of the Dark Dimension.
"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."
More recently, Community co-writer Dan Harmon was brought in to do final re-shoots on Doctor Strange. During an episode of his podcast, Harmon unwittingly showed a number of files on his computer - one of which was titled 'Strange Confronts Dormammu'. Harmon swiftly edited the video, but never before sharp-eyed fans spotted it.
It seems almost certain that the Zealots are servants of Dormammu, striving to extend his rule to our plane of existence. There are strong rumors that the Zealots are based in a Temple of Nepal, one that rivals the Ancient One's. My suspicion is that, as part of his final battle with Kaecilius, Doctor Strange will journey to the Temple and unwittingly catch a glimpse of the Dark Dimension, and its master, Dormammu.
I'm not expecting Dormammu to play a major role in this film. In my view, Marvel is playing the long game with Doctor Strange; the first film will set up the threat of Dormammu, with the Masters of the Mystic Arts successfully opposing him. I then suspect Dormammu to change tack, seducing Mordo and causing the fall of the Masters in the inevitable sequel. Admittedly, these last observations are theories, but they fit everything we know of the film rather well.
- The 'Doctor Strange' Featurette Reveals the Villains' Plans - and the Threat of Dormammu!
- Who are the Zealots of 'Doctor Strange'?
- Everything We Know About the Villains of 'Doctor Strange'!
This much is certain: Dormammu is one of the most dangerous and powerful characters in Marvel Comics, and he's about to make his debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The worlds themselves should tremble with fear...
Are you excited to see Dormammu in Doctor Strange? Let me know in the comments! In the meantime, check out this cool video spotlighting Dormammu's animated appearances to date!