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~Matt Key

In the Entertainment Weekly “First Look” issue, on stands yesterday, we got our first taste of Doctor Strange and what to expect from that film, at least in part.

As Feige says, “Strange is an entry point to an even stranger — no pun intended — section of the comic books, which involves the supernatural, which involves parallel dimensions. We gave audiences a teeny-tiny taste of it at the end of Ant-Man, when he goes into the quantum realm … that’s the tip of the iceberg for what we go through in this movie.”

There’s one particular sequence they discussed in the film they are referring to as “The Magical Mystery Tour” where Doctor Strange sees, first hand, the full breadth and scope of the multiverse.

As Feige says, “the sequence culminates in what we, behind-the-scenes, refer to as the ‘Magical Mystery Tour,’ which literally takes him in a shocking and very fast way through the multiverse. The images can be just as trippy — for lack of a better term — as those Ditko images were in the past. So, that, we hope, is going to set this movie apart from any of the other movies. And, from any other movie.”

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It’s not to be found online, only in the print version of the magazine, but the article starts off with some dialogue between Benedict Cumberbatch, playing the physician Dr. Strange, pre all of his mystical training, and the Ancient One, played by Tilda Swinton. They are debating the nature and reality of the universe.

STRANGE: I don’t believe in fairy tales about chakras or energy or the power of belief. There is no such thing as a spirit! We are made of matter and nothing more!”

ANCIENT ONE: Free your mind, and the rest will follow.

From here, things get a little physical as Dr. Stephen Strange jabs a finger at The Ancient One and she, “like some elfin Bruce Lee, grabs his wrist and twists his arm. She then extends her other arm, palm outward, and without touching him, sense Strange stumbling backward — and into a heady sequence.”

It’s this sequence that’s been dubbed “The Magical Mystery Tour.”

But just what composes the Marvel Multiverse? What realities might we expect to see when Strange embarks on his journey?

First of all, he’s got to see the Dark Dimension. That is among the first dimensions we ever see the character visit, back in Strange Tales #127, when he first encounters Dormammu and Clea. Coincidentally, it’s braving this dimension and defeating Dormammu that earns him the double boon of the Cloak of Levitation and the Eye of Agamotto.

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This dimension is ruled over by the Dread Dormammu, one of Doctor Strange’s biggest foes, and is populated by creatures named The Mindless Ones — beings of unimaginable strength, haphazardly reckless brutes who can be guided by magic alone.

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Then of course, there’s the Nine Realms of Yggdrasil — ruled over by mighty Asgard. These would all be accessible to Doctor Strange as well, including the wintery Jotenheim where Ice Giants reside, the magical realm of Alfheim where the light elves reside and the fiery realm of Muspelheim where the evil fire giant Surtur lives.

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Then of course, there’s what Marvel calls the “Quantum Realm,” that we’ve already seen in Ant-Man. That’s the dimension that exists between atoms. In the comics, Marvel called it The Microverse and there was actually life there. Beings lived and worked and died and were ruled over by warlords and everything.

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But these are the obvious ones. What are the obscure ones that we’re hoping to see Marvel touch on in some way.

First of all, there’s the dimension of the Soul Gem, one of the six Infinity Stones that Thanos is after. This stone, or singularity, is the only one with it’s own dimension inside of it, also known as Soulworld, where the souls of people pulled into the Soul Stone may reside. It’s a mostly peaceful realm, where everybody gets along due mainly to the fact that everyone suffered the same fates as each other. You would find Adam Warlock here if we were to see it. Gamora and Pip the Troll have also spent time here.

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Duckworld is also another dimension and is where Howard the Duck is actually from. It’s exactly like earth, except everyone is a duck. it’s unlikely that we’ll see this place on the big screen, though it was also unlikely that we’d see Howard in a film then we got him in Guardians of the Galaxy.

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Limbo, lorded over by Immortus, is a realm outside of our time and space. The Avengers have had many mighty battles there. There doesn’t seem to be any fantastic qualities to this realm other than it’s separateness from that of our own. And, though ti’s called Limbo, it’s not the limbo where souls await judgment, that realm belongs to Belasco and is mostly an X-Men concept.

There’s also the realm of Death, Thanos’s big main squeeze. It’s not clear if she has a realm unto herself or if she simply exists in all places, but if they are seeing up Thanos to be our super dooper big bad for Marvel’s Phase Three, it’s likely that we’ll see Death pop up somewhere.

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The Negative Zone is the realm of Annhilus and is referred to as the anti-matter dimension. It’s an unforgiving place filled with barbarians, conquerers and monsters. This is, many times, sort of treated like DC Comic’sPhantom Zone” and is where the heroes sometimes imprison the villains, as they did in the Civil War series. 

It’s unlikely that we’ll see this place as Fox, through Fantastic Four, owns all the rights to this stuff, but it’s entirely possible Marvel will be able to license the rights so we can get our first real glimpse of it.

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There’s the Nightmare Dimension, which is where the villainous “Nightmare” resides and is, coincidentally, where all of our nightmares actually come from. It’s a clever name, we know. This is also the very first dimension we ever see Doctor Strange visit when he confronts Nightmare. This is a tricky dimension as it feeds off of one’s psychic energy, so it’s easy to get stuck there.

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Finally, there’s the Astral plane, a dimension that runs exactly parallel to ours, but is more or less where the spirit portions of our identities exist. Doctor Strange accesses this dimension all the time, allowing him to go pretty much anywhere in the world and be invisible, all be it incorporeal and unable to do anything except observe.

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There are lots of other realms, dimensions and realities to play with, and places that the film could take creative license with, like the Plane of existence where the Vishanti reside or if they decide to do anything with the Lords of Shamballa or the dimension solely dedicated to maintaining the eldritch entity — Shuma Gorath, which seems to be likely, but these are all a little less defined than the ones listed here.
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And, while all of this sounds awesome, perhaps it’s Cumberbatch who says it all best when he says, “It’s really rough and tumble. There’s going to be crazy s__t going on.”

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