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SPOILER ALERT: This article contains spoilers for Doctor Strange. If you have not yet seen the film, and don't wish to know any specific details before you have the opportunity, please save this page, and click away to another one of our wonderful articles!
For the most part, Scott Derrickson's Doctor Strange exists in its own corner of the Marvel Cinematic Universe... but it does have a major contribution to the larger franchise. Much more than just having Avengers Tower in the New York skyline, the movie establishes that the titular hero's famed amulet -- the Eye of Agamotto -- is actually one of the Infinity Stones (specifically, the Time Stone). Given Marvel Studios' history, you might think that this was some big idea that has been in the works since 2006... but the reality is that the Stone was included because the Eye of Agamotto from the comics was just too powerful.
The inclusion of the Time Stone in Doctor Strange was one of the subjects that I discussed with director Scott Derrickson late last month during the blockbuster's Los Angeles press day. I was curious how the incredibly important piece of the Marvel puzzle found its way into the movie, and the filmmaker explained that it didn't start as something that the studio told him to include. Said Derrickson,
Surprisingly, it was something that just evolved organically. The Eye [of Agamotto] in the comics is too powerful! The Eye is a Deux Ex Machina device -- it doesn't matter how bad a situation Doctor Strange is in, it's like, 'Wait! The Eye of Agamotto! Let me take the Earth to the other side of the solar system!' It could do anything at any time. So we ended up working into the idea that it was used for time manipulation, and that just organically led us to, 'Well, why don't we put the Time Stone in it?' And it worked!
The Time Stone, as fans know, is one of the six Infinity Stones that Marvel Studios has been showcasing in its films going back to 2011's Captain America: The First Avenger. Eventually it looks like we will see all of these gems collected by one individual -- specifically Josh Brolin's villainous Thanos -- and unfortunately it will give said individual the powers of a god (we expect all this to play out in The Avengers: Infinity War). So while Doctor Strange may be an incredibly powerful sorcerer, and certainly a worthy protector of the Time Stone, it seems that it won't be long until it's no longer in his possession.
A few days after my interview with Scott Derrickson, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Doctor Strange co-writer Jon Spaihts, and he explained the initial idea that spurred both the inclusion of time manipulation and the Time Stone into the recently-release blockbuster. Said the writer,
It was a known fact that Doctor Strange would be manipulating time in this movie. We knew that was important. But precisely how had not quite been decided... Scott knew that he wanted at some point for a forward battle to happen amidst backwards time -- but he didn't know how yet.
And, as we now know, that thought snowballed into Doctor Strange including one of the most important MacGuffins in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
You can watch Scott Derrickson talk about the inclusion of the Time Stone in Doctor Strange in the video interview below:
Rather than keep it around his neck like he does in the comics, Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange opts to leave the Eye of Agamotto in Kamar-Taj with Wong (Benedict Wong) -- but it won't be long until we see the incredibly important amulet again. Not only will it surely be with the character in the inevitable Doctor Strange 2 (coming sometime post-2019), but, as noted, as also expect them to appear together once again in The Avengers: Infinity War. Stay tuned for news about both films, as well as more from our interviews with the filmmakers and cast of Doctor Strange!