17/05/2022

Doctor Strange Movie Scene Teased Doctor Strange 2 Ending Back in 2016

Just how connected is the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Sometimes it truly seems like Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios are playing a chess game where moves are being planned out to the littlest detail, years in advance. Case in point: Marvel fans are… er, marveling at a scene from the first Doctor Strange movie (2016) in which Stephen Strange seems to get a foreshadow about his fate as a sorcerer long before it actually happened in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness! Take a look for yourself!

(Photo: Marvel Studios)(Photo: Marvel Studios)

When Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) first travels to Kamar-Taj after his crippling hand injury, he gets a crash course in magic and mysticism courtesy of The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton). The arrogant Strange doesn’t believe in any of the mysticism and cult-like trapping of Kamar-Taj – until The Ancient One gives him one piece of advice and presses a thumb to Stephen’s forehead, blasting him on an astral ride through the fabric of reality. It was a cool sequence that helped Marvel and director Scott Derrickson establish the visual language of Marvel mysticism (and the larger cosmic planes it touches) – but now, looking back, it seems like even more than that.

The “Third Eye” is a staple of many Eastern cultures and religions – so it’s definitely arguable whether Doctor Strange (2016) included that line by The Ancient One as a specific foreshadow or just a general piece of advice for Stephen Strange about opening his mind and vision to wider possibilities and concepts than he’d allowed for before.

WARNING: Doctor Strange 2 SPOILERS Follow!

Then again, by now we know enough about the Marvel Studios process to know that the studio does tend to plan at least loose frameworks of trajectory for character arcs and franchise projects. And, given what happens during the ending of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, as well as in the post-credits scene, it’s also just as believable to think that Feige and co. did plan things out from the start. Pulling off casting like Charlize Theron as Clea, and setting up Doctor Strange 3 to follow her and Third Eye Strange into The Dark Dimension definitely seems like chess that was being played three moves in advance, no?

There are also just a lot of correlations that make this seem more than coincidental. The Ancient One has been shown to have wisdom and vision that extends across both time periods and timelines – especially where Stephen Strange is concerned (see: Avengers: Endgame). The Ancient One also had a “Third Eye” of sorts – a demonic marking between her eyes as a result of drawing her power from the Dark Dimension. Strange’s Third Eye from the Darkhold influence seems too full-circle with its setup of having Strange be forced to echo The Ancient One in trying to do good with dark power – and all the potential compromise that brings.

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It would also just be cool if we got to see The Ancient One’s first piece of advice to Stephen Strange being the thing that finally saves him at the climax of his solo film trilogy.

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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now in theaters.