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Now that Marvel Studios has officially locked Doctor Strange in for a release date in 2016, with director Scott Derrickson at the helm, we can start turning our attention more towards speculating about its plot. Previous reports have suggested that the movie won't be an origin story, but the film will still likely try and find a way to tell us the whys and hows of the lead character. If new hints from the director are any indication, it's possible that the movie may have found an interesting middle ground to work with.
Derrickson is a very active Twitter user, and earlier today he posted a caption-less image from a particular Doctor Strange comic that could be an interesting hint about what we can expect from the film's plot:
In addition to being a beautiful piece of Doctor Strange art that could very well end up influencing the film's aesthetic, this illustration's origins may provide a hint about the source material being used. The image comes from Doctor Strange: Into Shamballa, a graphic novel by J.M. DeMatteis and Dan Green that was first published in 1986. The story begins with Strange visiting the home of the Ancient One twenty years after the sorcerer taught him in the ways of magic. Discovering an artifact that has been left as a gift for him, he brings it back home for study - and winds up opening communication with beings of a higher reality known as the Lords of Shamballa. An opportunity is introduced that would allow humanity to reach another level and enter a golden age, but, of course, an enormous sacrifice would have to be made in order for it to happen.
In addition to being considered by fans to be one of the best Doctor Strange stories we've seen, this material could actually be the perfect gateway for audiences into the character's mystical story. As revealed in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, the Sorcerer Supreme is already an individual of great power within the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe (presumably discounting the need for a modern day-set origin story), but the plot of Into Shamballa could provide a way for Scott Derrickson and the folks at Marvel Studios to have their cake and eat it too. Because the story begins with Strange returning to the home of the Ancient One, that's a perfectly easy way for the movie to quickly address exactly how Doctor Strange became Doctor Strange without letting that narrative take over the entire story. From there, you springboard into a story that can really only be told in with Doctor Strange as the lead, and the audience is introduced to a whole new side of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
This isn't the first time that Derrickson has Tweeted images from Doctor Strange comics, and the images could simply be tracing the filmmaker's research process as he prepares for the movie to go into production next year, but what do you think? Could you see Doctor Strange: Into Shamballa being source material for the film? Tell us what you think in the comments below.