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The further we get into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the more these movies start exploring less mainstream hero characters. Having esta...

Doctor Strange’s Origin: Everything You Need to Know

The further we get into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the more these movies start exploring less mainstream hero characters. Having established itself as a movie franchise, the MCU can get away with movies focused on folks like Ant-Man or Doctor Strange or the Guardians of the Galaxy just because being a part of that brand inherently gives them an appeal they wouldn’t have on their own.

Still, seeing the mystical mumbo jumbo of “Doctor Strange” for the first time in Tuesday’s trailer has been disorienting for a lot of folks. Doctor Strange, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, is the weirdest of the Marvel heroes we’ve seen on screen so far. While the trailer did a good job of starting with the basics, there’s a lot more going on that bears exploring.

So we’re going to do just that, taking a look at Doctor Strange’s history in the comic book source material.

Dr. Stephen Strange

In the comics, Stephen Strange is from Nebraska. After high school he moved to New York to begin his medical schooling. By the time he was 30, Strange was a great and well known neurosurgeon.

Between his late teens and early 30s, each member of his family died in various ways — his sister Donna drowned, his parents of illness, his brother Victor was hit by a car while crossing the street. Strange put Victor’s body on ice in hopes that someday he’d be able to revive him somehow.

The car accident

Strange gets into a severe car accident, but while he survives it, his hands suffer significant nerve damage. His career as a surgeon is over, but his pride won’t let him accept another related medical profession. So he abandons that career path all together and spends all his money looking for some way to fix his hands. To help pay his bills he does some not-exactly-legal back alley medical work.

He doesn’t make any headway, but when nearly all his resources are exhausted, he hears rumors of a person called The Ancient One, who lives in a compound in Tibet and has magical powers. Strange spends all his remaining resources to travel to Asia and pay The Ancient One a visit.

The Ancient One

This mystical being, played by a bald Tilda Swinton in the movie, holds the title Sorcerer Supreme and is 600 years old. The most powerful mystic ever from Earth, the Ancient One is also the first being to ever be granted the title Socerer Supreme of the Earth dimension.

She has an apprentice sorcerer, Baron Mordo — that’s who Chiwetel Ejiofor plays. The Ancient One, being super old, needs a successor — and Stephen Strange has the innate magical power necessary to become the next Sorcerer Supreme. The Ancient One and Baron Mordo have known of Strange’s potential since he was a child, and Baron Mordo was not happy about the idea of Strange as a rival, wanting to himself be The Ancient One’s successor.

When Strange shows up in Tibet The Ancient One refused to fix his damaged hands, offering Strange an apprenticeship instead. Strange had no interest in that but ended up staying the night rather than leaving right away. That night, the jealous Baron Mordo tried and failed to take out The Ancient One, who easily bested him. Strange saw all this and, wanting to stop the threat of the power-hungry Baron Mordo, decided to stay and train with The Ancient One.