Doctor Strange's Dark Dimension: What It Is, And What It Means For The Movie

Being the Master of the Mystic Arts doesn’t just mean that Stephen Strange gets to use magic on Earth. It also allows him to travel to other planes of existence. It’s in these other dimensions where the good Doctor battles many of the otherworldly forces that threaten our universe. When Doctor Strange debuts in the Marvel Cinematic Universe later this year, we’ll see him travel to some of these other worlds just like his comic book counterpart, including one where many of his most powerful enemies come from: the Dark Dimension.

Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige recently confirmed that Doctor Strange will feature "glimpses" of the Dark Dimension, and just like in the early Doctor Strange comics, will be "very colorful in an extremely psychedelic way." Beyond that, Feige didn’t provide any other details to Empire (via ComicBookMovie) on how the Dark Dimension would be used, but considering its importance in the comics, it will undoubtedly be explored more in the sequels. People have gotten used to seeing other planets in the MCU, but other dimensions have only just started to be touched upon. So, just like we did with the Quantum Realm in Ant-Man, we’ve provided a rundown of what the Dark Dimension is and what kind of role it may play in Doctor Strange and future movies.

What Is The Dark Dimension?

What Is The Dark Dimension?

The name says it all. The Dark Dimension is the plane where many of the evil forces that Stephen Strange deals with call home. It’s officially described by Marvel as a "mystic realm riddled with natural wraps into pocket universes within the universe itself." After originally being composed of different alternate realities, this continuous melding ended when the Mindless Ones (basically the perfect kind of brainless, super-strong minion) were sent there. Originally looking like a weird acid trip, the Dark Dimension in more recent years looks like your more traditional hellish world or shadowy land. In other words, not the ideal vacation spot.

The Dark Dimension’s most famous residents are brother/sister duo Dormammu and Umar, who were banished there by the their native people, the Faltine. Since arriving there, the siblings have been in a constant battle for control over the realm, with Dormammu usually occupying the throne and trying to add other dimensions to his kingdom. The Dark Dimension’s other occupants include the sorcerer Olnar and the mysterious Veritas.

How Will The Movie Use It?

How Will The Movie Use It?

Like in the comics, Doctor Strange will be battling other human magic users who’ve decided to use their powers for evil (*cough* Baron Mordo *cough*), but it's these demons and monsters from other dimensions that will really give Strange a run for his money. While there will certainly be other planes of existence where bad guys can come from, in terms of pure malevolence, the Dark Dimension ranks at the top.

Since Kevin Feige said we’d only be getting glimpses of the Dark Dimension, it’s doubtful that Strange will get to explore it, but ideally the 2016 blockbuster will still be able to foreshadow its presence. Much like how the Thor movies are more interesting when the God of Thunder is adventuring around the Nine Realms rather than just Earth, Doctor Strange is more interesting when he’s traveling to these other realities, and the Dark Dimension is where he often uses his mystical powers to fight evil. There’s one character in particular who lives there that Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) would have to encounter while navigating the Dark Dimension.

Which Characters Might Come From It?

Which Characters Might Come From The Dark Dimension?

As has already been mentioned, Dormammu is one of the Dark Dimension’s most famous inhabitant, and since he’s arguably Doctor Strange’s most powerful enemy, we’ll almost certainly see him at some point. For months, many fans suspected that Hannibal actor Mads Mikkelsen was playing Dormammu. However, while Mikkelsen has indeed been confirmed to be playing the main villain in the upcoming film, his unnamed character is actually a sorcerer trying to undo The Ancient One’s work. Unless the MCU has decided to radically change Dormammu for live action (maybe he starts out human, but later changes into his demon form), it’s doubtful that this is who Mikkelsen is playing. However, that doesn’t mean that Mikkelsen’s character doesn't somehow connect to Dormammu in the MCU. Perhaps Mikkelsen’s character is responsible for opening Earth to Dormammu’s wrath

Regardless, if/when we see Dormammu, that could also mean we see his sister Umar, who is just as evil as her brother, though is traditionally seen in human form rather than as a monster. The Dark Dimension could also be used to introduce Umar’s daughter and one of Doctor Strange’s love interests, Clea. Unlike her mother and uncle Dormammu, Clea is a force for good, and with Strange’s help, she was able to lead a resistance against Dormammu and bring peace to the Dark Dimension, albeit temporarily. Strange could certainly uses more magical allies, and if there’s nothing romantic going on between Strange and Rachel McAdams’ character (or it eventually ends), Doctor Strange sequels could see Strange and Clea’s romantic relationship unfold while they’re trying to rid the Dark Dimension of her villainous relatives.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.