Doctor Strange Easter Eggs You Might’ve Missed
The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) gets expanded even more with the introduction of the incredible surgeon, Doctor Stephen Strange (Doctor Strange, 2016), played by Benedict Cumberbatch, who learns about the mystic arts after a fatal car accident that immediately ends his career*.
The origin story of Doctor Strange is an exciting movie that takes viewers on an adventure of Stephen Strange discovering his life beyond the medical field and into the powers of magic and the realities of other dimensions.
The movie reminded me a lot of The Matrix and Inception with some of the effects and concepts, but without a doubt was a very entertaining film and definitely worth watching (even if you know nothing about the hero from the comics). The film does a good job bringing you up to speed, and the visual effects are absolutely phenomenal.
With such cool effects, new characters to learn about, and the psychedelic explorations Dr. Strange makes beyond this dimension, it’s really cool to see the Easter eggs, hidden meanings and other awesome facts that you might’ve missed in the movie. Here’s your warning for spoilers.
There are a couple of shots of the New York Skyline in the movie, and if you look carefully, you should be able to spot the Avengers tower, which appears twice. The Avengers are also mentioned in the movie, as protectors of the physical realm. It’s said that in the MCU timeline, this movie takes place before Avengers: Age of Ultron.
WAR MACHINE REFERENCE
Just before the car accident, Dr. Strange is on the phone discussing potential patients, one being a 35 year old marine colonel who crushed his lower spine in experimental armor. It is speculated it could be Lieutenant Colonel James “Rhodey” Rhodes (War Machine from the Iron Man and Avengers series), however the age doesn’t seem to quite match up, since Rhodes, played by Don Cheadle is a lot older. Also, with the MCU timeline, this movie happens before Captain America: Civil War. The other guess is this character from Iron Man 2. Who knows?
CAPTAIN MARVEL REFERENCE
The other patient is a 22 year old women with schizophrenia who was struck by lightning and has an electronic implant in her brain. It’s speculated that this could refer to Captain Marvel, played by Brie Larson, set to release in 2019.
The “Wifi-Password” that Mordo gives Strange in the movie is “shamballa” actually refers to Into Shamballa, a Marvel Graphic novel from the Doctor Strange series that was published in 1986.
CHARACTERS FROM THE COMICS
The colleague that Dr. Strange is not fond of who he asks to cover up his watch, is actually based on Dr. Nicodemus West, who is also a colleague of Doctor Strange in the comics, who does spend some time training with the Ancient One.
Master Hamir, the one-armed servant who Doctor Strange initially mistakes as The Ancient One is a character straight from the comics. He is also known as The Hermit, The Living Shadow, The Silent One and revealed to be Wong’s father.
Christine Palmer, played by Rachel McAdams was the love interest and nurse that kept helping Doctor Strange in the film. Her character is actually part of a medical drama and romance comic series consisting of three nurses that work the night shift and save lives, fittingly known as Night Nurse.
ARTIFACTS FROM THE COMICS
The Wand of Watoomb is seen in the movie when Hong Kong is being attacked, being held by Wong. This powerful artifact is also directly from the comics, which was first seen when Doctor Strange teams up with Spider-Man.
Also at the Sanctum Sanctorum, for a brief moment, you can see a helmet in a glass case, likely the Black Night’s, as well as the Dark Scepter.
STAN LEE’S CAMEO
When Strange and Mordo are being chased by Kaecilius in the mirror dimension of earth, they crash into a bus window, where you can see Stan Lee’s cameo. If you look carefully, he’s reading a copy of The Doors of Perception by Aldous Huxley. It’s an essay from 1954 that documents Huxley’s experiences on the psychedelic drug and hallucinogen, mescaline. This probably has something to do with the visual effects of Strange discovering the other dimensions and the multiverse, based on Steve Ditko’s drawings and the Doctor Strange comics.
HERO AND VILLAIN
Another interesting fact is that no name appears in the credits for Dormammu, but the giant face in space is actually played by Benedict Cumberbatch. It makes sense as Dormammu doesn’t really need any physical form, but reveals himself this way to Doctor Strange in order to communicate with him.
THE 5TH INFINITY STONE
This movie confirms the discovery of another Infinity Stone in the MCU. Inside the Eye of Agamotto, we find the green Time Stone, which Strange uses to manipulate time as seen with the eaten apple, and the destruction of Hong Kong. This is now the fifth Infinity Stone that has been revealed, with the sixth stone, The Soul Stone, likely appearing in Thor: Ragnarok or Infinity War. This adds to the anticipation of Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 and 2 in 2018 and 2019.
In the mid-credits scene, you can see Doctor Strange is speaking with Thor about Loki, asking him to take Loki away from Earth as soon as possible. This scene sets up, and will potentially be included in, Thor: Ragnarok which is set to be released in 2017, and reinforces Doctor Strange’s involvement in the upcoming film.
Also, taken from the set of Thor: Ragnarok in Brisbane, Australia, Daley Pearson posted this picture of Thor holding up Strange’s New York address, 177A Bleecker Street.
The Warning Comes After
*In the movie, it’s referenced to how stupid it is for a warning to come after the instructions, and brilliantly enough it’s set up this way with Dr. Strange getting into a car accident while he’s distracted on his phone. The impact of the crash leaves his hands completely ruined, ending his career as a surgeon. The lesson comes at the end of the movie, after the credits, with the last lines warning viewers against distracted driving. Is that clever or what?
THE THEME OF TIME
Finally, a major theme in the movie is about time, with Strange struggling against the idea that time controls his life, but the Ancient One tries to teach him to free himself from time so that he can use it to his advantage.
He operates on a patient suffering from a gun shot to the brain, racing against time to remove a bullet from the patient’s brain, during the operation he is distracted by the sound of Dr. West’s wrist watch and asks him to cover it up, to block the sound of the ticking, which reminds Strange that he is not as invincible as he thinks he is, he’s mortal, and his own time is running out.
Dr. Strange’s wrist watch that he wears to Nepal breaks just before he meets Mordo and the Ancient One, symbolizing that he is breaking his timeline of his life as a surgeon trying to restore his hands and entering a new timeline where he discovers the mystic arts, new dimensions and a new purpose.
My favorite message from the movie is a subtle one that comes from the Ancient One, played by Tilda Swinton, when she says that “Death is what gives life meaning”, and goes on to tell us that our life is short, and our days are numbers, and basically, we ought to make the most of our time.
When Strange meets Dormammu, he, for the first time, invites death, and says “pain is an old friend”, letting go of the control of his life, and actualizes the line “death is what gives life meaning” by dying to save everyone on earth in the infinite time loop he creates with the Time stone. It’s interesting to note that on screen, they showed 12 deaths, but Strange could have died at the hands of Dormammu hundreds or even thousands or an infinite amount of times, until Dormammu had enough and was willing to bargain.
Towards the end of the movie, there’s a scene where Strange puts on his broken watch, which symbolizes that time no longer enslaves Strange, and it’s interesting to note that the way the watch is cracked, is almost like the Seal of the Vishanti of the Sanctum Sanctorum.