This article was originally published by Charles Murphy at MCU Exchange on November 9, 2016.
The huge $85+ million dollar opening weekend domestic box office has made what was already a near certainty an inevitability: we will get a Doctor Strange sequel. Taking into account the global box office, the film has already recouped its production cost and the critics and fans alike have responded very well to the mind-bending action and Benedict Cumberbatch as the lead character. While it wouldn’t be surprising to see Marvel Studios announce a place-holder date for a sequel before the end of the year, we got a bit of jump start on our wishlist for future installments. Given the many years of comic back story and the richness of the character, there’s no way one sequel is enough for all this, so here’s to hoping Derrickson and company get the chance to put several more adventures together.
Fortunately for us, this one may be the most likely on this list as director Scott Derrickson has said he would like to use Nightmare as the villain for his sequel. Nightmare was Doctor Strange’s first challenge and Derrickson seems to love the idea of exploring the Nightmare Realm, in fact, it was revealed that Nightmare was the original villain in the film before giving way to Dormammu. Given Derrickson’s filmography, which features several horror films, and his detail-oriented approach, exploring the impact of nightmares on the human psyche could give Marvel the type of genre-bending film they seem to try to produce and seems like something that Derrickson would love. Such a film could also allow Marvel Studios to further expand their universe by potentially also exploring the Mindscape and introducing the Sleepwalkers, characters who act as defenders of the Mindscape. My God…this movie, Doctor Strange: The Final Curtain, sounds amazing.
The tag at the end of the film indicates that not only will we see more of Karl Mordo, but that it’s almost impossible for comic book fans to predict much of what he’ll do. This Mordo is a dangerous, damaged man who has now become disillusioned with the way of life that he thought had saved him. The revelation that the Ancient One had been using the very powers against which Mordo had been defending the world sent the Master on a different, darker path. Unlike the comic book Mordo who became jealous of Strange’s accelerated ascension, this Mordo feels he’s been duped to live a life in which only those who make the rules can bend them. When last we see him, he’s seemingly ripping the magic away from Ben Bratt’s Pangborn in an effort to begin reducing the number of sorcerers on Earth, seemingly taking on some of the characteristics of Strange’s comic book foe Silver Dagger. This obviously puts him on a collision course with Strange, but just when they’ll meet again seems uncertain. I love Ejiofor’s characterization of Mordo and I want to see it continue to develop over time. This Mordo seems like the solution to Marvel’s much talked about villain problem but only if Derrickson and crew take their time and develop him alongside Strange, perhaps saving their showdown for the end of a trilogy in Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme (my title, not theirs).
A massive, million-year-old demon, Shuma Gorath is one of Doctor Strange’s most iconic and unique looking foes. The immortal Lord of Chaos ruled over Earth in pre-historic times, Shuma Gorath has conquered hundreds of dimensions and routinely set his one, big, gross eye on Earth. Given that he is indefatigable and immortal, defeating him always proves quite a challenge, so his presence could invite many of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to the party. Alternately, Shuma Gorath could, as he has done in the comics, use an agent on Earth to do the damage. It’s not unthinkable that a movie involving Nightmare could ultimately reveal Shuma Gorath at work behind the scenes. It’s also possible that Shuma Gorath and others like him could show up in the Cosmic corner of the MCU down the line as well. However, if Derrickson and crew are looking to make their monster movie, Shuma Gorath might be the answer in Doctor Strange: A Separate Reality(my title, not theirs).
The Defenders…no, not those ones, the other ones
The original comic book Defenders were a group of traditionally solo heroes that came together to battle foes of a more supernatural nature. The roster, like many Marvel teams, changed over the years but the original team consisted of Doctor Strange, the Hulk, Valkyrie and Namor, the Sub-Mariner. With Valkyrie being introduced to the MCU in Thor: Ragnarok, that leaves Namor as the only Defender left off the board. It seems that Marvel has the option to put Namor in a film, but that much like the case with the Hulk, if it is a solo film they may have to let Universal distribute it, costing them some cash. If that’s the case, throwing Namor into team-ups, as they are doing with Hulk, seems to address the issue. Certainly, the minds at work behind the scenes at Marvel Studios can devise a situation big enough to draw Namor to the surface to meet up with the other Defenders. Cue the Nameless One and the Undying Ones. If you’re going to team-up with the Hulk, it’s because you need him to do some serious smashing and having him smash an extra-dimensional demonic race sounds rad. Of course, if you have the Undying Ones running around, that means their leader, a conqueror known as the Nameless One is close behind.
An Entirely Extra-Dimensional Setting co-starring the Hulk
If I can’t get the entire team of Defenders, then at least give me this team-up. Please, please let me have the Hulk going somewhere with Doctor Strange and just smash the hell out of some extra-dimensional creatures. Nothing would make fans happier than giving the Hulk an opponent he could destroy just about everything while saving the Earth. The options seem myriad and fun. I could go for Hulk smashing some Mindless Ones. I could go for a rift about the time Strange banished Hulk to the Crossroads and seeing the two of them stuck there together, Strange using his magic to fight while Hulk uses his fists. If Marvel Studios is intent on keeping the Hulk front and center, they’ll either have to pay the piper and lose some cast to Universal on production OR they can keep teaming him up with other characters like they are with Thor. I’d love to see that next team-up be with the Doctor and see what they can do.
When Daniel Drumm died defending the Sanctum Sanctorum, his story may not have ended. Comic book fans will know that Daniel’s death pushes his brother, Jericho, further into the realm of magic where he becomes known as Brother Voodoo. Derrickson has already said there’s a good chance we’d see Jericho down the line and given the character’s rise to prominence in the comics over the years, fans will be waiting. Jericho provides the opportunity for an alternate story of magic to be told, given his Voodoo practices and dealings with the spirit of his dead brother. Though he and Strange have often worked together, the two practitioners of the mystic arts don’t always see eye to eye. Certainly, Voodoo’s dealings in possession could open interesting doors to other avenues of the supernatural and it’s always important to have an extra Sorcerer Supreme on your roster in case one dies suddenly. While introducing Jericho through a Doctor Strange sequel makes sense, we’d hope that he’s not relegated to superhero sidekick duty because his ample comic history says this mystic could even step out on his own.
We saw Dormammu and found out a little bit about the Dark Dimension. Fans of the comics know that there is likely no way that we’ve seen the last of The Dread One and theories are already out there that range from him taking the place of Galactus in the MCU to him being the boss battle of Phase 4. If we are to see more of Dormammu and his realm, it’s likely that at some point we might see one of the few well-known Doctor Strange supporting characters that was not introduced in the origin film: Clea.
Clea, a humanoid extra-dimensional being, is the princess of the Dark Dimension and the niece of Dormammu. She has a long history with Strange as his apprentice in the mystic arts and as his lover. Fueled by the energies of the Dark Dimension, Clea is a powerful sorceress and more than just a window-dressing female to add into the script. While her origins might certainly need some touching up, her inclusion into an MCU ever looking to add to its powerhouse lineup of female heroes seems to make her a good possibility. Not only will she give Strange an extra-dimensional ally, but a powerful partner on Earth to help with what’s sure to be an increase in the number of mystically powered foes. While fans may want her to join the MCU ASAP, it seems like Strange may have a little more of a journey to make before he encounters Dormammu again.
When last we saw Wanda in Captain America: Civil War, she had an existential conversation with Vision about their shared power source. While I don’t know that we’ve ever gotten a great explanation of how Wanda’s powers work, I think it’s safe to say she, like Strange, is channeling some sort of energy. If we are ever going to get an explanation and see Wanda continue to master her powers and/or become more unstable and dangerous, a Doctor Strange team-up might be the key to that lock.
If they were to run the comic route, an explanation into Wanda’s powers could include a trippy flashback and a story about Chthon, one of the Elder Gods of the Marvel Universe and add help to flesh out the origins of the MCU’s entire cosmos. It seems certain that Wanda and Stephen will cross each others’ paths at some point; it’s just a matter of how their interactions serve the larger narrative that will dictate the story.