Marvel's Doctor Strange is a 2016 live-action superhero film produced by 20th Century Fox and Marvel Studios based on the comic book character by the same name. It is the overall nineteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe released worldwide on November 4th 2016.
Development for a Doctor Strange film began when 20th Century Fox had ordered a script be written in the mid 1990s. Fox executives had entered talks with Nightmare on Elm Street director Wes Craven to possibly helm the film but he politely rejected the offer. With the success of the Blade franchise which covered many of Doctor Strange's iconic supernatural and gothic themes, development for the project lost traction and was eventually forgotten about.
Over a decade later, Kevin Feige requested Marvel Studios be given the distribution rights to the Doctor Strange franchise to potentially use in the Marvel Cinematic Universe somewhere down the line. Despite being given what he asked for plans for Doctor Strange continued to stagnate until Phase 3 when he was announced as part of the schedule introduced at Comic Con Summer 2015 for a November 2016 release date. Horror director Scott Derricksen had been attached to the project beforehand and Benedict Cumberbatch was cast for the lead role sometime later in the year. Derricksen revealed in interviews that the film would heavily explore the concept of magic, which until that point had only been loosely hinted at existing. With alternate dimensions and the Lovecraftian monsters of Marvel's classic mythology making appearances as well. The biggest of which being Dormammu.
Filming began in mid 2015 slightly before the Comic Con it was officially confirmed as part of Phase 3 and was released November 4th 2016.
- Benedict Cumberbatch as Stephen Strange/Doctor Strange
- Mads Mikkelsen as Dormammu
- Chiwetel Ejiofor as Karl Mordo
- Padma Lakshmi as The Ancient One
- Rachel McAdams as Clea
- Benedict Wong as Kan Wong
- Michael Stuhlbarg as Nicholas West
- Isla Fisher as Christine Palmer
- Brittany Ishibashi as Tina Minoru
- Chris Hemsworth as Thor (Cameo)
The film starts with an establishing shot of complete darkness and a deep voice narrating to the audience that they know nothing. It then shows multiple galaxies and star clusters while zooming out until entering countless fantastical and mind bending dimensions. The voice claiming that the universe is more than what can be seen, reality is more than what can be felt. That Magic is the binding blocks that holds it together... isolating them. Rules designed for all to live and die believing they're alone. But all rules can be broken. It then shows an an ectoplasmic creature casting advanced spells to travel between dimensions. If a wall is scratched enough it will break down. It then shows a dimension inhabited by white haired humanoids being destroyed and overcame by purple darkness, the voice continuing to say that the very magic that maintains this prison be twisted to end it. Inside the purple dimension the white haired humanoids are seen joining countless other species as the voice begins screaming that he, the dread lord Dormammu will see to it! All will join the Dark Dimension! Together for all eternity! His visage never shown to the audience...
Roll title and credits DOCTOR STRANGE
On Earth at Metro-General Hospital in New York City, Doctor Stephen Strange prepares to perform advanced brain surgery along with Christine Palmer, where they have to remove a bullet that's lodged deep into the patient's cranium. Stephen attempts to find and remove the obstruction but accidentally damages brain tissue causing the patient to go into shock. Palmer calls in Metro-General's top rated surgeon Nicholas West to help Strange stabilize him, despite Stephen claiming he could fix it himself. West comes into the operating theater and has Strange stitch the damaged brain tissue while he removes the bullet, getting a round of applause from the nurses after successfully taking it out and saving the patient. Stephen and Christine walk out and he asks her if there are any other operations he could get in on today. Palmer says everything is covered and wonders why he wants to know. Strange asks if he can't just want to help, isn't that why they're all Doctors. She asks him when he ever "just wants to help" and he stammers for an excuse before they kiss.
Christine tells him she'll see him at the apartment later, and he responds sarcastically claiming only if he's not whittling soap with his scalpel instead of saving lives. She says "Stephen..." as he walks off. Later at his Condo, Strange is playing the piano while dressed into a nice tuxedo and Christine comes in adorned in fine clothes as well. Stephen asks her how he looks and she puts the pieces together why he wanted more work at the Hospital, he knows the Dean of Medicine is going to be at the Flushing Meadows charity they're heading to. Stephen says if they promote him to Chief Surgeon at Metro-General it would take his career to the next level. They'd be set for life, he'd get a spot on the medical board, be able to publish his work and theories to Doctors all over the country, it's his dream. Christine goes up to Strange and tells him he shouldn't have to brown nose anyone there, just let his work speak for itself. Stephen puts his bow tie on and claims she's right, he's a brilliant Surgeon and has nothing to worry about.
At the fundraiser, Nicholas West is talking to the Dean of Medicine about how after the Hammertech disaster there were so many wounded civilians he was working two nights in a row with no sleep. Stephen Strange notices and abruptly joins in on their conversation claiming it's a good thing they have fundraisers like this then to truly give Flushing Meadows the attention it deserves after that. West then asks Stephen if they can talk privately. They go to the side of the ballroom and Nicholas candidly says that Stephen is a great Doctor and a genius surgeon, but that he wants to let him know that he won't be getting that promotion. The board is looking for someone who's proven to have exceptional skill in everything they're looking, someone who's the best for the patients and Metro-General. Stephen argues that he's more than qualified until West gets frustrated bluntly telling Stephen his performance in the bullet wound surgery was embarrassing and that he doesn't have what it takes to get the position. West then returns to socializing afterwards.
Strange then quietly goes up to Christine and tells her that he was just rejected and it's all her fault for calling Doctor West into his surgery before, he then breaks up with her. Palmer is unable to respond as Stephen leaves the fundraiser and gets into his car. Driving on the highway back to the city, Stephen begins searching on his phone for more positions he can work at the hospital, not paying attention to the road. Eventually he crashes right off the side of a cliff. As Stephen wakes up, Christine is standing over him and explains that he was in an accident. He shattered most of his bones and damaged his organs but all Strange can focus on are what happened to his hands. Palmer explains they tried to put them back together as best they can, but he suffered a lot of nerve damage. Stephen mutters that this can't be happening. He has to be a Doctor, he has to be the best. Strange then begins to gently cry as it does a montage of him slowly recovering and spending millions of dollars on surgery along with medication to try and fix his hands, but nothing repairs the nerves and they continue to shake uncontrollably. Eventually, Strange loses his job at Metro-General Hospital for not being able to hold his equipment anymore. He goes to physical therapy and vents about how none of this is making him any better. The physical therapist warns him to manage his expectations and tries to say there are other things that can give his life meaning, but he doesn't listen.
Stephen is seen in his condo exploring alternative treatment options on his laptop until the landlord begins knocking on the door demanding him to pay his rent or he'll be evicted. Strange ignores them and continues his research finding information on a guild called Kamar-Taj in India that specializes in "alternative science" to those initiated. The landlord uses their spare key to get inside and tells Stephen he needs to give him the money or he'll call the police, he knows that Stephen has lost a lot, but he has enough for this. Strange responds telling him he doesn't, to take the condo he doesn't care, he's going going to spend the last of what he has to his name... on a plane ticket. In Varanasi India, Stephen Strange aimlessly wanders the city looking for Kamar-Taj's headquarters. After scouring the supposed location Strange finds nothing but an old empty temple. Disappointed, he leaves but gets assaulted by a group of thugs until a man in a green robe scares them off. He helps Stephen up and asks him if he's looking for Kamar-Taj, Strange nods and the man introduces himself as Karl Mordo, who walks over to the temple except when he opens the door it leads them both to a well furnished monastery. Mordo proceeds to give Strange a word of advice when he enters, telling him to forget everything he thinks he knows.
A woman in white robes then thanks Master Mordo for bringing another lost soul into their midst and he simply leaves. Strange thanks her but stammers not knowing the woman's name. She simply tells him that she is called The Ancient One. Stephen says to the Ancient One that many months ago he was Surgeon who got into a car accident and lost the full use of his hands. That he travelled across the world to join Kamar-Taj so they can help him the way mainstream medicine never could. The Ancient One informs Stephen that within this Sanctum Sanctorum they do indeed offer what he seeks. Helping broken individuals such as himself by elevating their minds and deepening their spirits. Stephen tells her that's good and everything but he's only interested in the healing process. Ancient One responds if he's come to her expecting physical medication and therapies, he is mistaken. Strange starts to panic claiming he spent the last of his money coming here and they're some holistic healing scam. The Ancient One asks Stephen how wounds even heal in the first place. Strange responds it's the cell and Ancient One clarifies who programs them to heal... Stephen tells her the mind, subconsciously. It has nothing to do with Chakras, the power of belief or whatever lies she's trying to sell here. The Ancient One bluntly tells him that she offers the solution to his turmoil yet he rejects it, Stephen claims he does so because he went to eighteen years of medical school and knows how the body works. She says he's simply a man looking at the world through a keyhole. He understands much less than he thinks.
Strange finally says she's doesn't know anything about, but he on the other hand sees through her! Suddenly, Strange notices an energy emulating around his hands that makes them stop shaking. Amazed, the Ancient One says the mystic arts have been lost to many in the world over the many generations she has held the title of Sorcerer Supreme. But that it is just as real as the machines he used to save lives in his hospital everyday. She then stops and his hands shake again, Stephen falls to his knees, now a believer and begs the Ancient One to teach him. She tells him the road won't be easy. Strange insists that he doesn't care, he just has to learn how to get from "here to there". The Ancient One asks how he learned to become a Doctor, and Stephen claims years of study and practice. Ancient One escorts him deeper inside the Sanctum and tells Strange to make himself at home, he will undergo training to become a Master of the Mystic Arts soon. Stephen begins exploring while the Ancient One walks away into a private chamber.
Inside, Karl Mordo is speaking to his pupil, Franz Kaecilius, while looking at the Orb of Cagliostro. The Ancient One walks forward and notices the Vishanti Gates are functioning improperly. Mordo mentions that he was investigating the very same phenomenon, as if the walls between Dimensions themselves are crumbling. Ancient One says they will monitor it closely, the Gates are designed to handle such pressures and can stop anything that slips through the cracks. Kaecilius tells her they used to be, but that now they are old. The Ancient One responds asking him what's wrong with being old. It then does a montage of Stephen Strange learning magic at the Sanctum Sanctorum for over five years. Being taught personally by Karl Mordo how to transcend into the Astral and Mirror dimensions in addition how to make portals between two places. He is also forced to take a vow to never use what is taught for personal gain and only for the betterment of himself or Kamar-Taj. Later, Strange is in his quarters and has learned to make his hands stop shaking with magic. He proceeds to shave his face with a razor into a goatee, smiling about how he just got his life back.
Stephen then walks into the courtyard and approaches Mordo informing him that it's done, he's learned what he came here to do. Karl is surprised by this and tells Strange to put it to the test, show he's truly become a sorcerer. They begin sparing with Mordo discussing how magic requires a certain strength of the human spirit to fully harness, but even then, their limited bodies can only channel a microscopic amount of what flows through the universe. Karl puts Stephen into a headlock and he responds that Mordo might not know this, but he's a quick learner and proceeds to use magic to break himself out of it and bash Karl onto the ground. Mordo gets up, impressed by his creativity and tells Stephen that he is by all accounts passed his training and he now deems him to be a Master of the Mystic Arts. Stephen then goes behind the courtyard and stretches against an urn but a man behind him claims that an accomplished sorcerer should know better than to simply lean on the Caldron of the Cosmos. Stephen asks who the hell he thinks he is and the man introduces himself as Kan Wong. Claiming he's been at the Sanctum Sanctorum for ten years now. Only earned his status as Sorcerer three months ago. Wong then goes on to say Stephen has a true gift for the Mystic Arts if he could reach the same status in half the time.
Strange claims now that he's healed, he's going to go back to the United States and focus on being a surgeon. Wong simply says he was a quadriplegic. Stephen asks what and Wong explains after a Construction Accident in Hong Kong he couldn't move his arms or legs before joining Kamar Taj. Strange claims he knows what quadriplegic means but wants to know why he's telling him this. Wong says that he could return home any time he wants, his limbs work better than they did his whole life. But that he chooses to stay and serve Kamar-Taj and the Ancient One with his magic. Stephen has a gift, one that he shouldn't ignore. Strange responds that all his life he's wanted to be a Doctor. He was never the best, didn't graduate the top of his class, rise up in the ranks effortlessly. But that with this "Sorcery" he finally has the edge he needs. To help save lives, maybe even make a buck out of it and earn a name for himself. Why would he want to give that up to be an overglorified steward like him. Wong sighs and claims he supposes that he shouldn't.
In the library, Tina Minoru is doing her job as book keeper until Kaecilius comes in. She asks him what he needs and he claims knowledge on interdimensional anomalies as per an experiment he is performing with Master Mordo. Minoru unlocks the The Book of Worms from its casing and hands it to Kaecilius, telling him to be careful. He nods and then goes to the other side of the room skimming through the pages until finding what he needs. He casts the spells as instructed and once the ritual is finished he closes his eyes and dark energy flows into his body, Kaecilius keeping his facial expression somber and focused. Suddenly, Franz starts to look uncomfortable and then begins to panic telling something to stay back! He then begins to scream in agony as the skin around his eyes becomes singed and he instantly goes silent, opening his eyes once again in the calm state he started in. Tina Minoru runs in holding the Staff of One and demands to know what he's done. Kaecilius turns around revealing his disfigured eyes and Tina asks "what are you?" The creature responds that he is death and pain, the conqueror of worlds, he is Dormammu! She tries to restrain him with her Staff but Dormammu in Kaecilius' flesh uses magic powered by the Dark Dimension to stop it and attack Minoru. Groups of sorcerers come in to try and fight him but Dormammu is able to kill them all and transfer aspects of his consciousness into them. He and his Mindless Ones cause chaos throughout the Sanctum Sanctorum until The Ancient One uses her own magic to stand in his way.
All the Mindless Ones fall easily and Dormammu claims he can always make more, so long as he has a foothold in this Dimension his power is limitless. He then asks the Ancient One how she did it, how she kept him out for so long. The woman simply responds that he claims to have unlimited power but still knows nothing of the Mystic Arts! Dormammu responds then perhaps her long reign as Sorcerer Supreme must come to an end. The two fight in the Mirror Dimension as it is revealed one of the Mindless Ones survived and runs back into the Sanctum. Inside, Karl Mordo is trying to help all the sorcerers escape until the Mindless One begins terrorizing them. Mordo uses magic to fight him off but for some reason, he's unaffected by it. Stephen Strange though stands up and begins using everything he learned to fight. Stephen begins getting beaten badly and quickly picks up the Cloak of Levitation to defend himself. Fortunately and much to Strange's surprise, the cloak is sentient and helps him eventually kill the Mindless One, saving the sorcerers and Mordo. Outside, The Ancient One is hurting Dormammu's host and after realizing his last Mindless One had been defeated escapes through a portal.
The Ancient One comes in and asks what happened. Master Minoru tells her that Kaecilius looked into the Book of Worms, he must've been using it to increase his strength by absorbing magic from the Dark Dimension, but veered off course and accidentally summoned Dormammu, Mordo then says giving him a means to influence their dimensional plane. He nervously paces and says how horrible this is. Stephen says he has to agree, he took an oath to never do harm and just had to kill a man because of this! The Ancient One tells him she's sorry it had to come to this. Strange asks her what even happened, why would their friends attack them. She claims that the Mystic Arts are a source of great healing for many, but for others they can be used as the ultimate weapon. Not all dimensions are empty, some have their own sorcerers, who use magic to further agendas, ones that contradict the philosophies of Kamar-Taj. If he only knew what lied beyond the walls of reality, he would tear his eyes out. Stephen walks away telling the Ancient One and Mordo that he'll be taking his leave tomorrow. She tells Strange that he'll have to return the Cloak then, but it's a shame, since it seems to have taken a liking to him. He takes it off and hands it to her before leaving.
Dormammu walks into a temple in Indonesia. The monks inside wish blessings upon him but he demands they save their prayers, for all they know has abandoned them. This world is changing and they will be the first to witness it. The monks remain quiet until one simply states "attachment to the material is detachment from the spiritual". He searches for Nirvana, but he can only find it inside of himself. Dormammu tells him that he is correct, and proceeds to cast advanced magic spells that physically bend the very structures within temple, creating an incursion into the Dark Dimension. The camera then shows from Dormammu's true perspective staring back at himself in Kaecilius' flesh. He tries to bring the Dark Dimension through the incursion, but something stops him. He simply stands there thinking for a couple seconds before shutting the incursion and then suddenly attacking the Monks turning them into Mindless Ones. At the Sanctum Sanctorum, Stephen Strange in the Library tells Tina Minoru that he wants to read the Book of Worms. Minoru tells him no Sorcerer at Kamar-Taj shall read that Book again after what happened to Kaecilius. Stephen argues but Tina is firm in her stance. Wong is then seen sweeping the floors and Strange approaches him, bluntly asking if he'll help him steal a book from a library.
Wong asks why he would want to do such a thing. Stephen explains that he needed to use his magic to do something horrible this morning, and he has to know it was for the right reasons. Since Wong is the only other sorcerer here that might understand, he's the only one who can help him. Kan responds saying that he was determined to leave mere hours ago, Strange claims he still wants to, but he has to put his conscience to rest first. Wong looks at him admiring his candor and the next scene shows Master Minoru reading in the library as mini portals open and Stephen's hand emerges taking certain tomes before finally snatching the Book of Worms. In another room with their new collection, Wong says to remember not to go too deep into the scripture. Forbidden knowledge can lead to unforeseen consequences. Stephen says as long as both of them look out for each other their eye lids should stay room temperature. He then opens the first page and both men start reading it. Wong says that these are some of the most advanced spells he's ever seen, Stephen claims he actually understands a few parts of it.
He and Wong work together to recreate it, both impressed when they're able to do it until Stephen is plunged at high speeds into the sky and begins flying into the many alternate dimensions. He starts screaming for Wong to help him while terrified and in awe at all the mind bending visuals he comes across. In the middle of his trip something pulls him out of it, and Stephen gets up inside of the Dark Dimension with a white haired woman standing over him. She wants to know who he is and Stephen claims he could ask her the same thing. She says that her name is Clea, daughter of King Orini and Queen Umar. He responds that he is Stephen Strange... son of Eugene and Beverly Strange. Not royalty, unless you count a retirement home in Florida as a castle. Clea asks what "Florida" is and he claims it's a horrible place in his dimension. He's a sorcerer, accidentally came here trying to study the Dread Lord Dormammu.
Clea becomes terrified when she hears that name. Saying that his dimension is in grave danger. Stephen asks what she means and Clea specifies to look around, they are in Dormammu's Dark Dimension as they speak. Stephen notices the purple sky above them as he and Clea walk through a desolate Kingdom populated by a small and impoverished people trying to make a living. Clea explains it used to be her home, Mhuruuk. Dormammu conquered it, forcing them all to spend eternity in the Dark Dimension alongside him. Stephen clarifies that Dormammu just came to his home and this is what he plans to do to it!? He asks her how to stop it and Clea tells him he can't, Dormammu is unstoppable and all powerful. Stephen tells her it can't be, there has to be a way. Clea responds her people can bend magic just like he can and their efforts were futile. Strange snaps back he solves puzzles for a living and this is just another one, Clea claims that he won't this time, "you don't have what it takes". Those words noticeably hurt Stephen, but he pulls himself together saying he has to try. The Doctor begins trying to open a portal back to Earth and Clea watches feeling pity before telling him to wait. Saying that she'll accompany him, claiming he'll need her knowledge on the Dread Lord to have any hope in this. Stephen asks what about her Kingdom and Clea claims they're a shadow of what they used to be, there's no future for them anymore. She might believe he's on a fool errand, but wants to see the light again.
Clea touches his head and Stephen begins to super quickly travel backwards the way he came eventually falling down into the Sanctum Sanctorum. Wong asks if he's alright, and Stephen claims he just travelled to another Dimension. Kan responds he knew this book was evil, they made a mistake reading it without Master Minoru's consent. Clea then gets up having appeared alongside Strange and takes a deep breathe, insisting how much she missed having air inside of her lungs. Wong demands to know how she has entered the Sanctum. Clea is prepared to defend herself but Stephen insists she's a friend, her name is Clea and is going to help them stop Dormammu. Wong claims that she is a Faltine, they are natives of the Dark Dimension and servants of the Dread lord himself! Clea tells him not willingly, her Kingdom was forced into slavery by Dormammu just as he wishes to do to them. Mordo then enters the quarters and sees the stash of books in addition to the commotion demanding to know the meaning behind all of this. Despite Strange's excuses that he can explain Wong quickly tells him about the Faltine and he traps Clea in the Mirror Dimension before taking Stephen to the Ancient One.
Inside the Orb chamber, Mordo tells her that Strange has been caught reading the Book of Worms unsupervised attempting to summon Dormammu. Likely working alongside Kaecilius before his possession. The Ancient One tells Karl she'll handle this and requests that he leave. Stephen tries to tell her that this is a mistake, he wasn't trying to summon Dormammu. The Ancient One though claims that she knows, but that she thought Stephen was done with the Mystic Arts. He claims that he is, but that he can't just do nothing with that demon running around. This magic, can seriously hurt people. The Ancient One says that she knows it can, but it can also help them. Strange insists this isn't going to be his full time job, he's a Doctor, and once this is done he'll go back to saving lives, the Ancient One responds the only thing he truly wants to save is his ego. Strange changes the topic saying he investigated himself by looking into the Book of Worms with Wong, and that's how they found Clea.
The Ancient One claims it's an admirable goal, but he doesn't have to do this alone. The Avengers came together to fight physical threats, Kamar-Taj came together to confront more Supernatural ones. She then powers up the Orb of Cagliostro explaining they were founded by three heroic sorcerers across the dimensions called the Vishanti. Before leaving this world each one built a mystical gate. Acting as seals for their Dimension against any threats from outside of it, which is why Clea could not enter without being accompanied by Strange and Dormammu without possessing Kaecilius. The globe then begins highlighting the Gates and their locations.
The Gate of Oshtur in Riyadh, the Gate of Hoggoth in Taipei, and the Gate of Agamotto in London. The Ancient One then reveals three portal-like doors in the chamber leading to a beach, desert, and forest as the locations of the Gates respectively. Stephen clarifies that as long as the Gates stand Dormammu only has one body he can interact with. The Ancient One claims he will learn of them soon enough and use his Mindless Ones to disable them. She wants Stephen to use his knowledge and defend it. Stephen asks why him and the Ancient One claims she thinks it will be a good lesson, that magic can be used for protection, not destruction. Strange claims if that's what he can do to help, alright. The Ancient One says he'll need something to accompany him though, showing Stephen back to the Cloak of Levitation. Doctor Strange smirks and grabs it throwing the cape over his shoulder back onto him in an epic shot.
Clea walks outside into the courtyard and looks up into the sky at dawn, in awe over its beauty and at peace in its warm embrace. Mordo follows her outside and speaks up breaking her out of the trance. Karl tells her that she might have the trust of the Ancient One, but to know he will never accept her as part of Kamar-Taj. Clea responds that he despises her yet does not even know her, asking what could possibly be the reason behind such bigotry. Mordo claims she should watch her tongue, her only reason for coming here is due to Strange dabbling in affairs he knows nothing about. When the threat of Dormammu has passed, the other Sorcerers too will come to agree with him. She only has to wait. In Riyadh at the Gate of Oshtur, a group of Mindless Ones create a portal and break into the Gate's watchtower. As they attempt to cast a spell that disables it Doctor Strange elegantly rises up to the top of the Watchtower and fights them off.
After they're all defeated Dormammu himself enters and claims it takes truly adept sorcery to be able to battle a legion of his afflicted. Strange recognizes him and becomes noticeably unnerved, but tells him he will not let him open this gate. Dormammu claims "those are bold words coming from you, Mister..." Stephen corrects him claiming Doctor, but Dormammu misinterprets it as Strange proclaiming his name is Mister Doctor. He then tries to correct him again insisting "it's strange" but Dormammu responds saying perhaps, but he will not judge him for it. The two of them then engage in a battle where the Dread Lord is able to quickly gain the upper hand. Back at the Sanctum Sanctorum Wong, Mordo, the Ancient One and Clea finish casting advanced spells to create a burning vortex of energy. The Ancient One clarifying this was used as an old weapon from Mhuruuk, Clea they were called the Flames of the Faltine. Candles that reveal Dormammu's astral form wherever it remains. The Ancient One is about to wield the flames but Mordo claims Clea should do it, prove that this spell works and isn't simply a trap! Wong agrees with him insisting that performing the dark magic themselves would be incredibly unwise. Clea says she will do as asked if it quiets them. The Faltine then grabs the flames and sees flashes of the Mindless Ones and Dormammu attacking Doctor Strange as well as the Gate of Oshtur.
In Riyadh, Doctor Strange manages to trap Dormammu in the Chains of Krakkan. While in bondage, the Dread Lord tells "Mister Doctor" he is about to witness the beginning of something beautiful. Stephen finally corrects him that his name is Doctor Stephen Strange and Dormammu realizing he is a Doctor asks him if he is familiar with the laws of biology. That every living creature is born alone and dies alone. Himself included, in his Dark Dimension he is the only one that is or ever will be. The loneliness he has felt in that timeless void is something no one could understand. He simply wishes for this dimension, all dimensions in the universe to join him and become one. All together in unity defying the cruel fate nature has forced upon them, to be separate when all any of them long for is to be together. He knows that Doctor Strange feels the same which is why he came to Kamar-Taj, he was a broken man who wanted to be fixed so he could live among others like him in harmony. Dormammu claims he simply wants the same for himself. Strange responds that what he offered Clea and her people isn't unity, it's imprisonment, he's hurting everyone else just to make his miserable life more bearable. Dormammu responds he is correct, and neither he nor Mhuruuk can stop it.
Dormammu then breaks out of the chains and is able to mortally wound Doctor Strange. Clea and Wong teleport there to help Stephen but as they show up the Dread Lord is already in the process of opening the gate. When he makes eye contact with Clea he forcefully breaks the doors down and blows up the entire Watchtower. In the rubble, Wong finds Strange who's still deeply hurt and offers to take him to the Sanctum for treatment but he claims Magic can only be used for harm and demands they take him to a hospital. Clea doesn't know what he's talking about but Wong does and creates a portal to Metro-General in New York City. The two sorcerers call for help and Christine Palmer sees them with Stephen, whom she hasn't seen in ages and rushes him into the Emergency Room. While she's wheeling him in and about to call other Doctors for help Stephen enters the Astral Dimension and communicates with Christine, telling her she has to help him by herself, he'll explain everything in the operating theater. Meanwhile, in the waiting room Clea and Wong are sitting together.
Kan Wong reluctantly thanks her for what she did, claiming Stephen might've died if not for it. Clea responds about how she appreciates his humility, that Mordo refuses to offer the same gesture. Wong tells her his cruel behavior as of late is unusual, he was trained by him in the Mystic Arts and knowns Karl Mordo as a stern, but respectable man. Clea insists that all she senses around him is darkness, and guilt. Wong asks her why she thinks that is and Clea sighs. In the operating theater, Doctor Strange in the Astral Dimension is explaining to Christine everything that happened with Kamar-Taj and how he's been there the last five years trying to fix his hands. He suddenly begins to flat line and disappears, she then is able to bring him back and he reappears as an Astral spirit, Christine yelling out she's a Nurse and doesn't have surgical training. Strange then proceeds to walk her through how to fix his own wounds until it works, entering his body once again and waking up. Palmer says how living in New York she's seen some crazy stuff, but what she just saw now was a first. Strange responds he isn't even supposed to show magic to the uninitiated and claims he'll be back soon as a normal Surgeon again.
Christine points out having powers like his and just using them to stop his hands from shaking is a waste. She's not going to lie, he was never that good of a Doctor. Stephen scoffs claiming he just walked he through surgery, realizing in that moment he did while using magic. Christine goes on about how she's not trying to insult him, but if he wants to come back to Metro-General just to get a position on the board, it's probably not going to work out. Strange gets up and apologizes for what he said to her the night of the crash, she's such a kind and compassionate woman. Palmer tells Stephen that she forgives him and he goes outside introducing her to his friends, Wong and Clea (Wong surprised they're "friends" now). He claims they have to go to their headquarters in India to save their dimension and they all go into a janitor's closet. The sorcerers then open a portal to the Sanctum Sanctorum. Christine stares in amazement and they all walk through, as it closes she looks around and a broom falls startling her.
In the Sanctum Sanctorum, Clea tells Stephen that she and Wong were talking in the Hospital about Mordo. Doctor Strange asks what about him and before she can answer it cuts to Karl and the Ancient One discussing strategy until Stephen storms into the room. They're both happy to see he's alive until Strange attempts to punch Mordo but misses due his fast reflexes. Karl asks what the meaning of that was and Stephen yells that he knows what he did! Kaecilius was working with him to take power from the Dark Dimension. He tried to pin it all on him! Clea claims she knew from the beginning, and that's why he hated her. The Ancient One asks if this is true and Mordo stammers claiming when he came to her all those years ago, wanting to learn the Mystic Arts for revenge against those who wronged him, he wasn't learning fast enough he had to get an advantage somehow, something to make him worthy to be under her tutelage and Kamar-Taj. The Ancient One claimed he vowed to never use magic for personal gain, and his actions are not those of a sorcerer, but of a villain. Mordo expresses outrage all over his face and telling Strange he taught him everything he knows, brought him into the Sanctum when no one else would take him, and this is how he is repaid. Doctor Strange stands by it claiming he did this to himself.
Mordo shamefully walks away and exits via portal and the Ancient One apologizes, for not being the one to see this sooner. She expresses gratitude to Clea for extinguishing a dark presence even when they all distrusted her, the Faltine responds she is honored to rid of Dormammu's presence from just one sacred place. The Ancient One then goes to Doctor Strange and says he too is to be congratulated, he asks why insisting he failed to protect the Gate. She tells him not for that, for channeling magic to protect himself and others, using the Mystic Arts to do no harm. She then leads Stephen to her personal armory explaining that certain spells are too powerful for their physical bodies to yield and for that reason sorcerers are forced to imbue it into relics. His Cloak of Levitation for example. She then takes a necklace off of an ornamental holster explaining that it is the Eye of the Living Tribunal. Stephen sarcastically quips that name just rolls off the tongue. The Ancient One claims it is named after a Multiversal deity, harvesting a fraction of its power. When used, the Eye allows its wearer to project themselves within any dimension of the universe without even having to move where they stand. Stephen claims that doesn't make sense but the Ancient One replies that not everything does, not everything has to. She gives him the necklace saying it's now his to enjoy however he sees fit.
Curious, Strange begins using the eye. Successfully opening it to reveal a bright white light glowing from the inside. He casts a spell with the light from the Eye and realizes that he's standing in the Astral Dimension, Mirror Dimension, and on Earth at the exact same time, the three aspects of Doctor Strange all walking forward together in unison together. Meanwhile at a shack in the Himalayas, Karl Mordo is drinking liquor and begins to aggressively absorbing energy from the Dark Dimension in rage over everything that's happened. He collapses onto the ground stopping the spell, until hearing a voice behind him claim that he has no reason to take that which he gives for free. Mordo looks behind him to see Dormammu had opened a portal to his location.
He tries to conjure a weapon to attack him, but the Dread Lord grabs it mid air and says he is not here to harm him. Karl says his sorcery at Kamar-Taj was the only reason he had inner peace in this world. It's gone now and it's all his fault. Dormammu tells him he is right. Mordo is a talentless savage. Never meant to walk alongside the giants. Mordo gets offended by those words and once again tries to engage in battle, but Dormammu grabs him by his shirt and tells Karl magic was brought into this universe as a means to change fate. He was the star of Kamar-Taj with magic from the Dark Dimension. The Dread Lord begins to inject Dark Dimension energy into Mordo letting him go as Karl feels his strength increasing ten fold. Mordo tells Dormammu he will be the most powerful sorcerer, have the means to strike down his enemies, if he allows this plane into the Dark Dimension. Dormammu bends down and says he could be Earth's Sorcerer Supreme when all is done, and rule all that remains. Mordo swears loyalty to the Dread Lord and the Dark Dimension, his harbinger and true allegiance.
In London, Doctor Strange opens a portal letting himself, Wong, and Clea through. Wong says that he hopes this plan will work, and Doctor Strange responds he hopes it does too. At the Gate of Agamotto, Dormammu along with his Mindless Ones have slain all the guardians and are prepared to open its door until he suddenly finds himself trapped in the Mirror Dimension. Revealed to have been done by Doctor Strange, Wong, and Clea working together on a spell powerful enough to trap him. Strange then opens the Eye of the Living Tribunal which allows him to help Clea and Wong fight the Mindless Ones on Earth while at the same time confront Dormammu in the Mirror Dimension. The Dread Lord comments that he envies Strange's relic, that it allows him to be everywhere unlike Dormammu's true form, which is firmly planted in the soil. Doctor Strange responds his playpen isn't going to get any bigger. Before he can attack though, a spell is able to block Strange's assault. Mordo then reveals himself to have been behind the defense and to now be working as an acolyte of Dormammu. Stephen tells him he's better than this but Mordo insists he isn't. He took away his place in the world, and now he has found another one!
The Mirror Dimension starts to contort causing the nearby London landmarks and Skyscrapers to start folding in on themselves. Doctor Strange battles Dormammu and Mordo through the surreal visuals until The Ancient One herself arrives to help him. Claiming that she knew Karl Mordo was committing immoral acts to increase his own power, but she let it happen. Feeling pity he wouldn't be able to reach that level any other way. She has failed him. Karl responds that with this revelation she should also know what he is about to do! The four of them all fight with Mordo proceeding to kill Strange in the Mirror Dimension causing him to solely be conscious on Earth at the Gate of Agamotto fighting Mindless Ones alongside Clea and Wong, until using the Eye to resurrect himself in the Mirror Dimension once again to continue battling Mordo. The Ancient One holds her own as well but is taunted by Dormammu about how the reason she's lasted so long was due to being such a powerful Sorcerer Supreme, but that her biggest mistake was choosing to stay on Earth instead of reaching for the stars like her own masters did! For he has grown adapted to this body and with a full blast of power from the Dark Dimension strikes the Ancient One out of the Mirror Dimension severely damaging her. On Earth, Strange is in the middle of telling Wong and Clea what's happening until the Ancient One falls through the sky and onto the ground near dead. They all go to help her as Strange stops using the Eye with Dormammu alongside Mordo exiting the Mirror Dimension and breaking the Gate doors open.
Wong and Clea mourn the Ancient One while Stephen uses the Eye of the Living Tribunal to enter the Astral Dimension where he sees her Soul there as well. He tells her that she needs to get back into her body, they all think she's dying. The Ancient One says he should let them. She has been alive for so long, lived through so many years at Kamar-Taj, shielded off countless threats, but this is the only time one of her own has truly been lead astray by her judgement. Doctor Strange insists Mordo wasn't her fault but the Ancient One responds it was, she's getting old, her methods of leadership are outdated. It's time for change and a new Sorcerer Supreme. Stephen asks if she's talking about him, claiming he can't do that. She tells him he can, he just doesn't want to. All of his life he's craved validation and personal wealth. He excels in the Mystic Arts but being the Sorcerer Supreme will grant him none of that, she's always known. Strange asks what's wrong with that, with looking after yourself, wanting to be someone in the world. The Ancient One responds with the most basic lesson of them all, It's not about you. He should not be a Surgeon because it will lead to glory, he should do it because he has a passion to heal others, Mordo should never have been a sorcerer when all he desired was power, Dormammu can not remedy his loneliness by forcing others to accompany him in his Dimension. In life, not everyone is fortunate enough to have what they desire most, and sometimes, they must give it up for a greater good. To achieve their true calling, which is what she now must follow through.
Strange says it's too much too soon, and the Ancient One responds his soul is so rigid and immovable, but his mind is so creative and vibrant. That strength and flexibility is all it takes. The Ancient One then returns to her body and passes away. Strange along with Wong and Clea return to the Sanctum Sanctorum Orb chamber. Doctor Strange professes himself to be the new Sorcerer Supreme of Kamar-Taj as per the Ancient One's final request, Wong tries to proclaim they will all need to decide. Clea though comes to Stephen's defense insisting he's come closer than anyone she's seen against Dormammu. If they are to save their dimension from succumbing to a similar fate as hers, Stephen is their only hope. Wong is convinced and asks the new Sorcerer Supreme what they shall do next. He says that they fight. There's still the Gate of Hoggoth in Taipei but that every Sorcerer needs to defend it, together. It then shows a montage of all the Sorcerers getting ready including Tina Minoru who claims once this is done they'll need to have a greater discussion about who should permanently mantle the Ancient One's role in their guild. But that until then, Kamar-Taj can count on her Staff.
Doctor Strange opens a portal to the Gate of Hoggoth where he sees the Watchtower already raided by Mindless Ones while Dormammu and Karl Mordo proceed to break the doors down allowing an incursion to form from the Dark Dimension that begins taking over the entire planet and nearby space around it, spreading rapidly. Clea tells them she saw this sight in Mhuuruk, and then all light disappeared after it. Tina Minoru steps forward and uses her Staff of One demanding it to freeze time which causes all of the chaos in the city to come to a screeching halt. Dormammu asks what she has done and Doctor Strange reminds him that this is still there world, and he has to play by there rules. When Tina's spell makes time freeze, everything does, including the incursion. Mordo comments that the Staff of One's magic has no power on sorcerers and the large scale battle begins. Doctor Strange confronts Karl Mordo, Clea confronts Dormammu, and Wong along with Minoru and the other sorcerers fight the hordes of Mindless Ones. Strange creates a portal that he and Mordo battle into that teleports them both across the world into Metro-General Hospital until going into another portal in the air where they both fall and crash into the Eiffel Tower.
In Taipei, Dormammu and Clea battle maneuvering around the pieces of frozen debris around them and the Dread Lord taunting that her people were nothing before him! Clea yells that he's a liar. He goes on to say no matter what happens to this place, Mhuruuk will always be a part of the Dark Dimension. The King and Queen will die under his rule and her children will be born under it! After that, Wong comes to Clea's aid and begins using his magic skills against him. Mordo and Strange teleport to Knowhere and startle the nearby residents with their fighting (some even cheering them on) until they teleport again to Jotunheim where a beast starts going after both of them. Strange makes a portal teleporting away but the Beast makes it through along with them and is let loose on Taipei. Dormammu overpowers Clea and Wong until the Beast finds and brutally eats the body he was possessing. As the beast runs off Clea shouts out thanking the creature for its aid before Wong teleports it back to Jotunheim. Doctor Strange uses his spells and the environment to overcome Karl Mordo. Stephen even uses his weak hands to punch him multiple times until he's on the ground bleeding. Karl asks what he hopes to accomplish, Dormammu gets what he wants. That is the truth he spent so long denying.
Strange tells him he is the Sorcerer Supreme and will fight until his dying breathe to keep him out. Mordo asks by keeping the Earth frozen, the Dark Dimension perceives time and space on a level beings like them cannot comprehend, he will wait him out. That gives Strange an idea as he mutters "of course" before it shows him inside the Incrusion where Doctor Strange is walking through the Dark Dimension. Strange then sees a giant face appear in front of him, Dormammu's true form revealed to both Strange and the audience for the first time! Stephen yells out to Dormammu that he's come to bargain but the Dread Lord insists he has come to die. That Strange was a fool to enter his domain. He has no limitations here and even as a sorcerer, he is but an ant making demands to a mountain! Dormammu uses his limitless magical abilities to effortlessly kill Doctor Strange until suddenly, he returns proclaiming once again to Dormammu that he wishes to bargain. The Dread Lord is confused by his return but kills Strange again, only for him to return in the same fashion.
Dormammu asks how this is happening and Doctor Strange points to the Eye claiming that he can exist anywhere he wants, even the Dark Dimension. If he kills him here he'll just recreate himself. The Dread Lord kills Strange once again and he returns finishing the thought proclaiming this is the way things are now, the two of them trapped here together. Dormammu insists that he will not stop his conquest for companionship because of a minor annoyance. He kills Strange and he returns per usual saying he'll be his company then. Earth will be free and he'll never have to spend another second alone, because he's not going anywhere. Dormammu keeps killing him a countless amount of times insisting that he will never win. Strange responds but he can keep losing over, and over, and over again and everyone will get what they want. Dormammu insists he won't but Strange says that's a price he's willing to pay. The Dread Lord continues to kill him before screaming in agony that he has been taken prisoner. His home, his very being has been violated, Dormammu begs to be set free insisting that he longs for the peace and tranquility of the natural order. Doctor Strange insists that he is here to bargain, Dormammu needs to take his Mindless Ones from the Earth, close all Incursions to his dimension and never come back! Dormammu accepts the bargain and Strange closes the Eye's spell. Dormammu claims that he will take solitude for granted no longer. Strange offers him a word of wisdom, that he was created to be the sole native of the Dark Dimension, that he needs to find a way to make peace with that in himself. Break the spell on his own, as Strange begins leaving Dormammu actually thanks him for the wise words. Strange then finally exits the Dark Dimension and Wong asks what has happened only for all the Mindless Ones and Dark Dimensional energy to get sucked through the Incursion as it completely closes.
Tina unfreezes time as Taipei functions as normal again and the Sorcerers clean up the Gate of Hoggoth. Wong commenting that with the Gates of Vishanti destroyed word will spread to all Dimensions that they're vulnerable once again. Tina responds Strange will make a fine Sorcerer Supreme. But that she only joined Kamar-Taj temporarily to increase her knowledge on the Mystic Arts. Perhaps now is a good time to take a note from the Ancient One and go home to America and be with her family. Clea looks around and notices that Karl Mordo is gone, escaped during the closing of the incursion. He could be anywhere in the universe by now. Doctor Strange comments that his power source to the Dark Dimension is closed off, he won't be a threat. But still, Stephen claims he has a hunch Mordo and him will cross paths again. Clea proclaims she's happy his world was saved from Dormammu, perhaps she'll stay here or bring more Faltine so they can see the sun just like she did. Strange informs her that might not be an issue anymore. He then makes a portal to Mhuruuk where Clea is amazed to see it is its own dimension again and showered by a beautiful light pink sky. Strange claims he and Dormammu had a little chat after their bargain, he explained to him forcing people to stay in his dimension, not the best way to make friends. Clea looks to Stephen and tells him thank you, he is welcome in this Kingdom whenever he pleases, she will never forget this. Clea kisses him on the cheek and he makes a portal back to the Sanctum Sanctorum. Stephen walks up the stairs and stops at the top of the staircase, looking down at his hands, still shaking.
First End Credits
Teasing Thor: Ragnarok
It shows Doctor Strange inside the Sanctum Sanctorum speaking to Thor. Stephen tells him he usually doesn't take personal requests. Thor though insists that if his hunch is correct Earth will be in danger, Doctor Strange nods for him to go on and Thor proclaims that he believes his father, Odin, has gone Mad and that he needs advanced sorcery to find out why. Doctor Strange quickly stands up claiming he'd be happy to help.
Second End Credits
Teasing Doctor Strange: Dreamscape
In a small town on the English countryside, Vincent Krowler is cooking himself dinner until Karl Mordo appears inside his home via portal. Vincent drops his porridge and asks what he's doing here, Mordo claims that he left for India because he was afraid of him. Afraid of the things he would do to himself and his mother, but that he has had a revelation. Vincent grabs a knife off the table and tries to go after Mordo with it but the Sorcerer dodges all of his slashes before creating a weapon to slit the elderly man's throat. As he bleeds out on the ground Mordo says he cannot simply ignore his Nightmares, he has to make them his own.
- Metro-General Hospital, where Stephen Strange works is the same Hospital that is frequented by Matt Murdock during the events of Daredevil.
- The Flushing Meadows charity event was founded as a direct response to the Hammertech fiasco that occurred at the end of Iron Man 2 where the Crimson Dynamo, Iron Man, and War-Machine battled and caused significant property damage.
- Kamar-Taj in the comics was located in Tibet and inhabited by a Chinese male Ancient One named Yao. This was changed in the film by placing Kamar-Taj in Varanasi and by extension having the Ancient One changed to an Indian female. This was done to avoid political conflict that could occur by having a Tibetan national portrayed in a film expected to release in Chinese markets.
- The Sanctum Sanctorum in the film acts as both the home of the Ancient One and Doctor Strange's base of operations, with the name of the Sorcerer clan being Kamar-Taj. In the comics, Kamar-Taj is the name of the location Strange travels to to find the Ancient One and the Sanctum Sanctorum is his personal estate in New York City.
- In the comics, Karl Mordo is usually referred to as Baron Mordo. This adjective was dropped in the film and never referenced in order to avoid similarities with the previous MCU Villain Baron Zemo.
- Wong in the 616 continuity has no surname. This is changed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe by having his given name be his surname and his new first name be Kan the name of his ancestor in the comics.
- Mads Mikkelsen is one of the few actors to have portrayed multiple characters within the Marvel Cinematic Universe continuity. Not only portraying the motion capture and voice of Dormammu's true form, but also the likeness of the human sorcerer he possesses during the film, Franz Kaecilius.
- Tina Minoru in the comics is a supervillain and the mother of Nico Minoru, a member of the teenage Marvel Comics team called the Runaways. Who were confirmed to be getting a Marvel Cinematic Universe TV series on Freeform mere months before Doctor Strange's release date.
- The Orb of Cagliostro in the comics is called the Orb of Agamotto. This was changed in the film for unknown reasons.
- In the comics, Dormammu is a Faltine as Clea is in the movie. As a matter of fact, her mother, Umar the Unrelenting, is actually his biological sister. Clea nor Umar have any canon familial connection to Dormammu in the MCU however.
- In the Sanctum library, while Tina Minoru is unlocking the Book of Worms, a certain tome is missing from its casing. In the Director's Commentary for the movie, Scott Derricksen revealed that was indeed the former location of the Darkhold, a book of advanced magic that appears in Agents of S.H.I.I.E.L.D. Season 4 on FOX.
- The Eye of the Living Tribunal is said to be named after a Multiversal entity by the same name. This is based on the Marvel Comics character The Living Tribunal who, as the Ancient One describes, exists in all Dimensions simultaneously and is the personification of the One Above All's will throughout the Multiverse.
- While fighting Karl Mordo during the climax he and Strange accidentally teleport to Knowhere the same location that appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy and Jotunheim which appeared in Thor. The same monstrous species from Jotunheim that the God of Thunder battled during the events of the film lattr appears once again to terrorize Strange and Mordo.
- Due to the timeless nature of the Dark Dimension and Doctor Strange having access to versions of himself from an unlimited number of realities, it is implied he was killed by Dormammu for what could literally be hundreds if not thousands of years. This is further implied by the fact Strange and Dormammu almost appear to have developed a bond or mutual respect for one another after coming to a bargain.
- In the first end credits scene, Thor asks Doctor Strange to use his magic to see if Odin has gone mad. This suspicion is highly implied to be brought on by the fact "Odin" was revealed in Thor: The Dark World to actually be Loki shapeshifted into the All-Father, and Thor is finally catching on.
- In the second end credits scene, When Mordo kills his abusive grandfather, Vincent Krowler, he insists that he cannot own his Nightmares. A reference to the Doctor Strange villain of the same name who Mordo is likely now serving after losing his connection to the Dark Dimension.