The Marvel Cinematic Universe has tried its best through the course of 13 movies to keep its characters and events somewhat within the realm of reality. Audiences may not be able to relate to seeing Norse gods, highly advanced A.I.s, or a talking tree in their day to day lives, but Marvel has always tried to explain the unexplainable, with Thor even quoting Arthur C. Clarke’s belief that “Magic’s just science that we don’t understand yet.”
Doctor Strange, however, promises to get as close as possible to the idea of real magic within this universe, and to show audiences what it means for the MCU – both good and bad. Throughout Doctor Strange, audiences will encounter many magic wielders such as Stephen Strange himself (Benedict Cumberbatch), The Ancient One (Tilda Swinton), Baron Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen), and more. Figuring out their abilities and the use of magic was not enough for the director however; he also came up with a complete backstory for the history of Kamar-Taj’s sorcerers.
Scott Derrickson was recently interviewed by Cinema Blend about his directorial debut within the MCU and was asked about the history of magic that will be shown. While viewers will get the chance to learn about the main characters’ backstories and a bit about the history of the practice of magic itself, he also spent time developing his own ideas. Even though these ideas will not be shown or discussed in Doctor Strange, Derrickson has the answers to all questions related to the history of magic.
“I think as the writer and director in my mind I need to have a very thorough backstory, and I have ideas about the Sorcerers Supreme between Agamotto and the Ancient One — how many people carried that title. None of that ever comes up, but it’s all in my head, yeah. And the actors want to ask questions like that sometimes, and you gotta have answers!”
Most of the history that Derrickson plotted out may never be revealed in the film itself, but that does not make these efforts to plan it out useless. Should Doctor Strange hit as well as Marvel Studios are hoping, this is only the beginning for the character. Even if a sequel is not announced to come out at the start of Phase 4, Strange will become a member of the Avengers down the road, so there are plenty of chances to see how magic can be used within the MCU.
This history could be further explored in Strange’s next appearance or solo film, but it is also possible that this information is never revealed. If it is to come out, the Ancient One solo movie Tilda Swinton is campaigning for could be a place to answer some of these questions. In the meantime, fans will have to see the movie to figure out just how deep into the history of magic is explored, and how much further they can go.