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Thanks to his training in the mystic arts, Stephen Strange will be able to accomplish many amazing feats next month in Doctor Strange, ranging from teleportation to conjuring energy whips. However, one power we haven't seen demonstrated yet in any of the trailers is how magic can be used to manipulate time. Well, the latest preview offers is making up for that, and it may lend more credence to the theory that the movie will include an Infinity Stone.
As Doctor Who fans might say, the Doctor Strange footage released by Marvel Studios is very "wibbley-wobbley, timey-wimey." It kicks off with the Sorcerer Supreme preventing Kaecilius from attacking him by freezing the main antagonist in time and then winding back the seconds. Easy enough to understand, right? Well, the rewinding doesn't stop there. Over the remaining seconds, we see some of the movie's most important beats play out in reverse, from charging into battle in New York to Stephen Strange first meeting The Ancient One. There's even several lines of dialogue that are played backwards. The whole thing ends with seeing Stephen prepping for surgery in his previous life. Be careful about re-watching this. If you keep hitting the play button over and over, you might get a headache...or is that just me?
The Doctor Strange trailers have shown several examples of reality fracturing or being twisted to Inception levels, but time manipulation will also play a role in the story thanks to the good Doctor's special amulet. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige revealed earlier in the year that the MCU's Eye of Agamotto will be able to manipulate probabilities, or to put it a simpler way, "screw around with time." This kicked off speculation that the Eye may actually be the Time Stone, one of the two remaining Infinity Stones yet to be introduced (Soul being the other). Even if the Eye itself isn't the Stone, maybe it houses the Stone within, similar to how Loki's staff contained the Mind Stone. Granted, Doctor Strange is leaning heavily on magic rather than cosmic forces, but maybe the Time Stone is where those two areas intersect.
Whether the Eye of Agamotto is an Infinity Stone or simply a powerful artifact, it still looks like time will be a major theme in Doctor Strange. As our own Eric Eisenberg pointed out after watching this latest preview and looking at the teaser trailer again, there are various instances of mirrored frames, suggesting that aspects of the story could play out non-linearly. Regardless, Doctor Strange is being advertised as one of Marvel's most visually intense blockbusters yet, and seeing Stephen Strange move time back and forth will only add to the trippiness.
Doctor Strange will work its magic in theaters on November 4. Meanwhile, head to the next page if you want to see this new preview unfold in reverse, or rather, linearly.