WARNING: Mild spoilers for part of the plot of ‘Dr. Strange’ lie ahead.  Consider this your warning to turn back now if you so desire!

We’ve seen a lot of “big-picture” characters and events translated from the pages of Marvel Comics to the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far.  Some of the most notable, of course, are the stories of Civil War, Ultron, and the groundwork for the Infinity War; recently, however, Marvel has made a more concerted effort to include the “magic and mystic” side of its mythos in its on-screen adaptations.  In ‘Ant-Man,’ Scott Lang entered the Quantum Realm; in the current season of ‘Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,’ Ghost Rider and Mephisto have broached the subject of mysticism and divinity lore; and in ‘Doctor Strange,’ the subject of magic, spells, life forces, and dark cosmic energy is explored in great detail.

It should be no secret, then, that Marvel isn’t afraid of putting out ideas of some of their more, shall we say, outrageous cosmic and mystical characters.  Although it hasn’t been officially confirmed (as of yet), many fans believe we saw the face of Eternity in the Quantum Realm during ‘Ant-Man,’ and ‘Doctor Strange’ introduces the cosmic being Dormammu, who dwells in the “Dark Dimension” of the universe. (Dormammu, it should also be noted, has pretty firm ties to Mephisto and Ghost Rider in the comics.  Just sayin’!)

There are two lines of dialogue in ‘Doctor Strange’ uttered by characters which, when spoken, are made to seem like “no big deal,” but in reality will have large ramifications on the MCU moving forward.  The first, of course, any true fan recognizes as soon as they hear it: as Dr. Strange places the Eye of Agamotto back into its holder in the Sanctum control room, Wong tells him something along the lines of “good idea… best not to travel around with an Infinity Stone around your neck.”  This, of course, all but confirming that the Eye is indeed the Time Gem, one of the stones that Thanos is seeking to complete his set of Infinity Stones.

The other line is a bit more subtle and may be missed by many fans.  During Strange’s training in the mystic arts, Mordo (The Ancient One’s right-hand man, portrayed by Chiwetel Ejiofor) utilizes an ancient relic that he calls “The Staff of the Living Tribunal.”  In the pages of Marvel’s comics, The Living Tribunal is a timeless cosmic being whose purpose is to oversee all the alternate realities of the universe, while passing judgement on them and their inhabitants as needed.  Even more telling for the future of the MCU: The Living Tribunal is the being who first allows Thanos the opportunity to attempt to become an all-powerful god by collecting the Infinity Stones onto the Infinity Gauntlet, a key moment that is likely to come to movie theaters sometime during the ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ storyline.

Is this the direction that Marvel will be going with Thanos and the cosmic tale?  We can’t say for sure just quite yet, but it certainly seems like they are planting some interstellar seeds, for sure.  Stay tuned to find out!

‘Doctor Strange’ will be released in American theaters on November 4, 2016.

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Tony Schaab firmly believes that a viewing of ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’ should be a mandatory bi-weekly experience – and that a re-read-through of the original 7 manga volumes of the story should occupy every off week.  A lover of most things sci-fi and horror, Tony is an author by day and a DJ by night. Come hang out with Tony on Facebook and Twitter to hear him spew semi-funny nonsense and get your opportunity to finally put him in his place.