With the release of Marvel’s Doctor Strange now behind us and the film currently enjoying box-office success, fans probably have a few questions about the film and its many secrets. Speaking to Empire Online, director Scott Derrickson shared some details on the films climactic final battle (including who was the voice behind the true villain of the feature and the reason why the writers had Strange use a unique method to defeat his foes) and revealed a ‘Captain Marvel’ Easter egg that audiences may have missed.
While Mads Mikkelsen’s character Kaecilius plays the role of the antagonist through most of the film, it is later revealed that he is merely a pawn of the incomparably powerful Dormammu. Scott Derrickson revealed that star Benedict Cumberbatch himself provided some voice work and facial capture for the villainous role.
“The reason for that was threefold. One, Benedict suggested it. [Two], the awesomeness of his voice – he was Smaug, of course. [Three,] he understood exactly who Dormammu was. He’s the ultimate cosmic narcissist. There was something great about the mirrored relationship between the two of them.”
While Dormammu may have been puppet master pulling the strings, the film initially had a different character as the main antagonist. Scott Derrickson explains that Nightmare, the first nemesis to face Doctor Strange in the comics, was initially going to be the films villain until Feige made the case for a different route.
“Kevin made a very cogent case. The trouble with starting with Nightmare is getting across the idea of the Dream Dimension as another dimension. The movie was challenging enough. It’s already an exposition-heavy movie… Dormammu made the most sense. And he is the most present villain in the comics.”
The decision may have proven worth while, as the final battle between Strange and Dormammu features one of the most memorable moments in the film, when Strange uses to Time Stone to trap himself and Dormammu in an infinite loop, prompting the mystical foe to negotiate terms of surrender. Derrickson explains that the decision to have the climax of the film center on Strange using his wits rather than his fists was a direct response to the criticism of the repetitive third acts in Marvel’s films.
“It was literally the play on that whole, ‘oh, every Marvel movie ends with a city being destroyed during a fight, and then a portal that opens is closed just in time’. I said, well, dammit, we’re going to un-destroy a city and we’re gonna leave the portal open and Strange is going to go into it and we’re going to see what’s on the other side. That’s how fresh my movie is, dammit!’”
Dormammu is trapped in an endless cycle where he is forced to kill Strange over and over again. Derrickson revealed that the script initially had a line specifying exactly how many times Strange had been killed.
“We had a line where Strange said, ‘we’ve been through this a thousand times’. Literally. I fancied the idea that they went through it thousands of times before Dormammu finally realised he wasn’t going to get out of it.”
Though Doctor Strange does become a powerful sorcerer by the films end, he does not assume the title of Sorcerer Supreme for which he is known in the comics. Derrickson explains that an early draft of the script did include the character assuming the mantle and reveals why the decision was made to ultimately hold back on that progression.
“We had script versions where he became Sorcerer Supreme. We just had so many problems with that. It’s premature. Once he’s blown through to the New York sanctum, he’s only accepted his role as a sorcerer in conflict for 24 hours. He’s a long way from being Sorcerer Supreme. I think the comics took like ten years before he actually became the Sorcerer Supreme.”
Derrickson also revealed some of the Easter eggs hidden that are throughout the film, including a particular powerful object from comics lore. Empire writes:
“The Staff Of One, the powerful magical object wielded by dark wizard Tina Minoru, can be seen in the Hong Kong sanctum. Though that’s not Tina wielding it there.”
Perhaps the most exciting Easter egg is a potential nod to Carol Danvers, also known Captain Marvel, during a scene where a list of potential patients for Stephen Strange includes a young woman struck lightning.
“All I can is…maybe. That one, you’re going to have to wait and see…”
Doctor Strange stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Michael Stuhlbarg, Benjamin Bratt, Scott Adkins, Mads Mikkelsen, and Tilda Swinton.
Doctor Strange is now playing in theaters!
Source: Empire Online