Ever since Doctor Strange hit the Marvel Universe in Strange Tales #110 (1963), the Sorcerer Supreme has cast a spell over comic book readers. The film, starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the titular role, serves as an origin story to this very complex superhero. Despite its complexity, it’s still very much a Marvel Studio film which means there are Doctor Strange Easter Eggs galore. Let’s get started.
#1: The inevitable Stan Lee Cameo
Let’s get the obvious gag out of the way first. No Marvel film is complete without the Stan Lee cameo easter egg. Over the years Stan’s appearance has become largely conspicuous. The Doctor Strange entry is no different as we easily find him riding the city bus and reading something interesting (for us viewers at least)…which leads us to the next easter egg.
#2: The Doors of Perception
Stan Lee looks rather amused reading Aldous Huxley’s The Doors of Perception on that city bus. The book is more or less an essay about Huxley’s experimentation with psychotropic drugs. We must assume the mind-bending visuals of Strange’s “flight” through the higher plane of existence are inspired by these psychedelics.
#3: The Pink Floyd Connection
Speaking of psychedelics, “Interstellar Overdrive” from Pink Floyd’s first album, The Piper at The Gates of Dawn (1967) can be heard during one of the film’s highlight fight sequences. Floyd frontman, Syd Barrett succumbed to mental illness exacerbated by his consistent psychedelic drug use.
#4: Avengers Tower
Let’s take things back down a notch. It’s no secret that Doctor Strange exists within the current Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) and therefor eludes to scenes, artifacts and themes presented in past films. The most obvious is Avengers Tower rising beautifully above the New York skyline in one of the film’s opening establishing shots. This shot tells us that Doctor Strange takes place some (probably significant) time after the apocalyptic battle of the first Avengers film but before Captain America: Civil War.
#5: Mid-credits Stinger with Thor
And speaking of Avengers, the mighty Thor (played by Chris Hemsworth) pays a visit to the Sorcerer Supreme in the film’s mid-credit stinger. By the way, these miniature sequences serve as connecting points to future MCU events. In the scene, which takes place at Doctor Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum, Thor is enjoying a magically refilling beverage and appealing to Strange for assistance locating his missing father, Odin. These events are the basis for next year’s Thor: Ragnarok of which the good doctor will apparently play some significance.
#6: Eye of Agamotto a.k.a. just another Infinity Stone
The one theme that binds all of the Marvel movies together is the Infinity Gauntlet. It is powered by seven powerful gems spread throughout the galaxy. We’ve seen the Space Stone in Captain America and the Power Stone from Guardians of the Galaxy. The Eye of Agamotto is Doctor Strange’s time-bending artifact which he uses to ward off Dormammu. Inside the amulet rests the Time Stone.
#7: Cloak of Levitation and Other Artifacts
There are something like 50+ artifacts sprinkled throughout Doctor Strange. The most important of course is the Cloak of Levitation which is an integral part of Strange’s look in the comics. Another reference from the books is The Crimson Bands of Cyttorak which in the film bind Kaecillius in the battle at the sanctum. The Vaulting Boots of Valtorr is in reference to the many “valtorr” spells used in the comic books. That’s just a few, can you name some more?
#8: Astral Beatdown
One of Doctor Strange’s more amusing sequences comes in the form of the astral plane battle. In it, surgeon Christine Palmer (Rachel McAdams) is trying to save Strange from a mortal stab wound while he fights for his life in the astral plane. I hear it’s great reading in the books and is what got Scott Derrickson his job directing the Marvel film.
#9: Debunked: Col. James Rhodes
This one has been debunked but it was widely speculated that Col. James “Rhodey” Rhodes a.k.a. War Machine is the “Marine Colonel” in dire need of the Doctor’s surgical expertise. The scene in question results in Strange careening down a mountainside and destroying his hands. But Derrickson denies it, Rhodes wasn’t a marine, and the overall timeline is completely wrong.
#10: Daniel Drumm and Brother Voodoo
Brother Voodoo, a Doctor Strange comics mainstay, makes a small contribution to Doctor Strange in the form of Daniel Drumm. Voodoo is eventually resurrected from Drumm, who in the film dies protecting the Ancient One. It is very likely that Brother Voodoo will make an appearance in a later installment.