Scott Derrickson loves his job. The filmmaker has been reading a ton of Doctor Strange comic books and posting his favorite panels to social media in anticipation of his Marvel movie with Benedict Cumberbatch as the Sorcerer Supreme. Though most of it has been all fun and games, his recent tweet revealed that we'll be meeting the personification of Death in this Phase Three installment. And who do we know who has dealings with Death in the comic books? The Mad Titan himself and the bane of the Avengers' existence, Thanos.
First things first. Derrickson posted an image from Doctor Strange Meets...Death!, an issue from 1974. Accompanied by the image, the director wrote:
While this could arguably be Derrickson having some fun at our expense, it seems as though he revealed that Death will be making an appearance in Doctor Strange. If that happens, then that means there's a major link between this film and the two-part Avengers: Infinity War.
For those unfamiliar with the comics, it all goes back to Thanos. In the comics, the Mad Titan embarks on his mission to destroy all of creation with the Infinity Stones as his weapons in order to earn the affections of Death. The cosmic being appears to Thanos as a hooded woman, and all of his chaotic dealings are simply means to impress her. There's a reason they call him the Mad Titan. Elsewhere in the comic universe, Doctor Strange Meets...Death! is the fourth issue of Vol. 2 of the original Strange run. The master of the mystic arts confronts Death, as one of the only beings able to enter its domain, and defeats it by merging with the spirit of Eternity. He's then approached by his master, The Ancient One, who reveals this to be part of his trials to become the Sorcerer Supreme and that, since he has defeated Death, he can longer age.
The closer we get to Infinity War, the more blatant Marvel is becoming in laying the groundwork. Thor: The Dark World was the first time we heard a character refer to the Infinity Stones by name. We've already encountered four out of the six in the MCU -- the Tesseract (Captain America, The Avengers), the Aether (Thor: TDW), the Orb (Guardians of the Galaxy) and the Mind Gem (Avengers: Age of Ultron). As Thor made it known at the end of the last Avengers film that he would go off in search of the others, it's likely that Thor: Ragnarok is a likely place for the next one to pop up.
Doctor Strange is scheduled to hit theaters on November 4, 2016, and it will take us to parallel dimensions and dealings with magic. From here on out, we're going to hear a lot more about these Infinity Stones and Thanos, especially given that Age of Ultron mid-credits scene. Keep your eyes out for the latest Easter eggs and nods to what's coming.