Kaecilius, played by a freakish Mads Mikkelsen, may be the primary antagonist in Marvel’s Doctor Strange, but he’s just a pawn. Kaecilius works for someone else far worse than he, and in the climax of Scott Derrickson’s Phase Three movie, one of the most powerful mystics in the Marvel Universe makes his epic debut.
Enter Dormammu, the tyrannical mystic ruler of the Dark Dimension, where time does not exist. A regular foe of Doctor Strange in the comics, Dormammu departs from his usual interpretations in the film, looking like a gigantic head the size of Trump’s ego and without a true physical form. (For this reason, Cumberbatch portrayed Dormammu in mocap, and his likeness to Strange means Dormammu takes on a sinister mirror image of Strange himself.) Also, Dormammu is a collector of planets and wants Earth next, giving him a strong Galactus vibe.
It’s not totally explained in Doctor Strange, but Dormammu used Kaecilius to get to Earth. Using the Dark Dimension’s promise of eternal life — which Kaecilius wants — Dormammu compels Kaecilius and his zealots to set the red carpet for his grand opening. But Stephen Strange outwits Dormammu, using the Time Stone to trap Dormammu in an eternal loop in his Dark Dimension. The Groundhog Day trick frustrates Dormammu, eventually forcing him to leave Earth taking Kaecilius and his dummy followers with him.
With all the hubbub surrounding Thanos and the showdown between him and the heroes of the MCU, Dormammu is a surprise, signaling there are far greater beings in the universe besides Thanos. In one of the most popular Doctor Strange comics, “The Eternity Saga,” Mordo and Dormammu team up and overwhelm Strange, forcing Strange to seek help from Eternity, the embodiment of time and space. Eternity wasn’t hinted at in Doctor Strange, but perhaps there are wonders bigger than a purple dude who wants space rocks for his gold gauntlet.
Marvel’s Doctor Strange is out now in theaters.