With all of the set visit reports starting to come out, it seems appropriate to make today a Doctor Strange day. For those of you not keeping track, Doctor Strange is the next installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it hits theaters on November 4th — about four weeks away now.
There’s a lot to sort through in these set visits as reporters were given pretty free access to the stage for the entire day as well as access to all the department heads and the lead actors, including the Sorcerer Supreme himself — Benedict Cumberbatch.
So let’s start with the thing on everyone’s mind — Doctor Strange’s powerful artifacts. In the comics, Doctor Strange possesses two very important articles: a mystical amulet of unmeasurable power called the Eye of Agamotto and his Cloak of Levitation, which seems to have a mind all its own.
Let’s start with the Eye of Agamotto. In the comics, it is seen as a sort of clasp that locks the Cloak of Levitation around his neck, whereas here we see it hanging loosely by a chain. The powers also seem to be different for the film. In the comics, the Eye of Agamotto starts off as an amulet that allows Doctor Strange to see the truth of anything, allowing him to cut through lies and illusions. However, it’s also much more powerful than that, with the artifact gaining more and more powers as the comics went on, taking on a life all its own. For the purposes of the film it seems that they are still making it a very powerful artifact, but in a different way.
The Prop Master for the film, Barry Gibbs, spoke with Comicbook.com about the build process, admitting that, “The eye went through a transition state, because it went from something that was quite a simple operation to a design that needed other, greater thought put into it. As the script developed, it dictated that it needed more requirements.” Along with this, there are also several versions of the relic, each of them created to meet different cinematic needs. There’s a master version, made of bronze and brass, there’s a resin version made for stunts, but then there’s the special effects version.
The version of the Eye of Agamotto created for the visual effects shots required Gibbs to work hand in hand with the SFX department because that version of the Eye “opens up.” And just why is that? Because the Eye has a “stone” in it. While the wily prop maker wouldn’t give the reporters any real details about it, he did admit to Comicbook.com that they went through “24 color variations of the stone” and that “When [The Eye] opened, it was supposed to be a natural stone.” His version of the stone ended up having a “pale green” color that could be manipulated by the visual effects department as needed.
So, this is interesting.
There’s been a lot of speculation that Doctor Strange’s Eye of Agamotto would house the Time Stone, one of the two remaining stones in the MCU currently unaccounted for. Filmmakers have made comments in the past saying that the relic has the ability to manipulate probabilities and that, at it’s core, that really means it’s manipulating time in some way — hence, Time Stone.
However, in an interview with /film, Kevin Feige makes it very clear that what we’re dealing with here is NOT the Time Stone … well, at least not yet. As he says, “… we don’t get into it in this movie.” He then goes on to add, “there’s a lot to take in in this movie, there are a lot of new concepts, there are a lot of new characters, there’s a lot of new mythologies that we didnt’ want to clutter up by telling you about other MacGuffins.” Notice, that Feige never says it’s undoubtedly not an Infinity Stone or the Time Stone specifically, he simply says they don’t get in to it in “this movie” for the express purpose that there’s so much else going on.
Our interpretation — it’s entirely possible, even highly probable, that this is the Time Stone, but we want actually dive in to that mess until a later film.
But, the Eye of Agamotto is just one of the two relics Doctor Strange wears. His other one, the Cloak of Levitation, is just as important, iconic and powerful as the Eye, but in completely different ways. Costume Designer Alexandra Byrne, who worked on Age of Ultron and Guardians of the Galaxy prior to this, spoke with /film about the limitations of the cloak and it’s high collar in the comics, saying, “It’s amazing in the comic book and obviously we have practical limitations. The collar in the comic book is enormous and if you had something that big you’d never see your actors face.”
Enough of the design. In the comics, as we’ve already noted, the Cloak of Levitation takes on a character all it’s own sometimes. Doctor Strange can hide it in pocket dimensions, call upon it from afar and even use it in a prehensile way, like another set of arms, to wrap around people to save them, protect them, subdue them or even full-on attack them. As Byrne says, “It’s about getting the spirit and for want of another world, the magic. To be entranced by the cloak and the cloak is sentient, it’s its own character, so you have to have something that feels like it has an amazing sense of history and antiquity and is a relic in itself.”
In another article, Kevin Feige speaks about the Cloak of Levitation saying, “The cloak, unlike Thor’s cape or Superman’s cape or Vision’s cape, as you may recall from the comics, I wouldn’t say has sentience, but is not just a piece of fabric. It helps Strange out in ways that other character’s clothing has not.”
But what does the Sorcerer Supreme Benedict Cumberbatch say of his cloak — simply that it is a “dear friend” but that it’s long enough and unruly enough that it can sometimes trip him up.
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He has two cats and knows all things about Doctor Strange but little else.