Marvel finally unleashed its mystical universe with the release of Doctor Strange, and the film’s eagerness to introduce viewers to a new side of the Marvel Universe meant that the film was loaded with easter eggs. While some of them might make callbacks in later Marvel films, others were just winks to serious fans of the comics. That said, here are some of the more interesting references littered throughout the film.
You might have heard this term before if you’ve been watching Marvel’s Netflix series of shows like Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage. It’s the nickname assigned to Claire Temple (Rosario Dawson), the ER nurse who ends up helping out the various members of the future Defenders during their shows.
In the comics, one of the three canon Night Nurses is named Christine Palmer, the same name given to an ER surgeon that is Doctor Strange’s romantic interest, played by Rachel McAdams in the film. Now a doctor rather than a nurse, the character’s scene where she operates on Strange while talking with his Astral form is straight out of a moment in the comics involving both Strange and the Night Nurse. Don’t expect McAdams in a caped nurse uniform anytime soon however.
While Strange utilizes the Cloak of Levitation and the Eye of Agamotto, his two trademark mystical artifacts, in the film, a couple others also make appearances. During training with Karl Mordo, the Staff of the Living Tribunal makes an appearance. Later Wong uses the Wand of Watoomb, the cylindrical object he’s seen carrying in some promotional materials.
The Staff of the Living Tribunal in particular actually belongs to a being known as the “Living Tribunal,” an ancient cosmic entity that protects the multiverse. The “Living Tribunal” ranks alongside other Marvel cosmic entities like Dormammu and Death as one of the most powerful beings in the comics.
The one-armed figure that Strange mistook as the Mystic One is actually a character named Master Hamir, or “Hamir the Hermit.” A dedicated servant of the Ancient One, Hamir has a comics history mostly involving getting into trouble and being rescued. However, Hamir is also Wong’s father in the comics, which might be his greatest contribution to the MCU.
A name referenced in an early scene between Strange and Palmer, Nick West is a reference to Nicodemus West, a surgeon who failed to save Strange’s hands during the operation after his car accident. In the comics, West also ventures to see the Ancient One and learn magic, only to abandon the craft before completing his training.
One of Kaecilius’s partners, Daniel Drumm appears frequently in the comics as the brother of Jericho Drumm, the superhero known as Brother Voodoo. Brother Voodoo often communicates with the spirit of his deceased brother in the comic books, and seeing as Drumm was killed in Doctor Strange, that means the set-up for one of Brother Voodoo’s M.O.s is ready. In fact, very recently in the comics, Brother Voodoo was on the Avengers led by Old Man Steve Rogers.
While Dr. Stephen Strange was reviewing prospective surgical patients, one of the candidates was described as an Air Force colonel injured in a suit of armor, seemed like a clear references to Col. James Rhodes, aka War Machine. Rhodes was crippled during Captain America: Civil War when a friendly fire hit from the Vision sent a skyborn War Machine plummeting to the ground.
Director Scott Derrickson has denied that this was a reference to Rhodes, but even as an unintentional mistake, it is a neat little way to connect the two films. Also, if it isn’t Rhodes, perhaps it’s the poor soldier who was injured testing Justin Hammer’s Iron Man armor back in Iron Man 2.
One of the biggest bads in Marvel’s magical universes, Dormammu surprised viewers when he appeared in the film. Dormammu is introduced as the ruler of the Dark Dimension, but in the comics is a ruler of several alternate dimensions. As a being of incredible power, Dormammu isn’t like the typical villain who tries to take over the world. Instead, his conflicts are often universal in scale, and entire dimensions are at stake when he is angered. There is no way this is the last audiences will see of one of Marvel’s biggest threats.
One of the cool reasons why he wasn’t teased during Doctor Strange’s casting process was because his motion-capture was also done by Benedict Cumberbatch, who previously did mocap as the dragon Smaug in The Hobbit.
The best easter egg might have been towards the end when Kaecilius and his associates were banished into the Dark Dimension. They could be seen visibly transforming into blob-like, one-eyed creatures that in the Marvel Universe are known as the Mindless Ones. Incredibly dangerous, the Mindless Ones are extra-dimensional creatures with no will of their own. They simply serve whoever summons them, boasting incredible strength and resistance. They have been used by Dormammu in his attacks against Strange, but as soulless creatures with no allegiances, they have also been enemies to a variety of Marvel characters. No doubt the Mindless Ones will appear again in some later Marvel film.