Doctor Strange Will Never Become Sorcerer Supreme - Theory Explained

Most viewers assume Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will see Stephen Strange become Sorcerer Supreme - but instead he could become Master of the Black Arts. The Ancient One had served as Earth's Sorcerer Supreme for centuries, protecting this dimension from countless extradimensional threats. She'd used the Time Stone to peer into the future, identifying threats before they emerged and putting them right. But the Ancient One died in Doctor Strange, and the Time Stone was destroyed in Avengers: Endgame, leaving the Masters of the Mystic Arts without their greatest weapon.

Most viewers had assumed the Ancient One's death meant Doctor Strange had taken her place as the Sorcerer Supreme, but Spider-Man: No Way Home revealed that wasn't the case; the new Sorcerer Supreme is actually Wong. It makes sense, because Wong appears to be traveling across the world - even liaising with other superhumans, and investigating potential threats such as the Ten Rings. In contrast, Doctor Strange seems to have become guardian of the New York Sanctum Sanctorum, although he seems to be chafing at the restrictions afforded by that particular role.

Related: No Way Home: Why Doctor Strange's Astral Spell Is So Weak Against Spider-Man

The Doctor Strange 2 trailer seems to hint Marvel is telling the story of how Doctor Strange becomes the MCU's Sorcerer Supreme. After all, in the comics he earned that role when he saved the Earth from the interdimensional menace of Shuma-Gorath, and that creature is briefly seen in the trailer - although according to merchandise the entity has been renamed Gargantos. But the trailer also seems to hint Doctor Strange will never become the MCU's Sorcerer Supreme - instead giving him a very different role.

Created by Steve Ditko with Stan Lee, Doctor Strange was introduced in Strange Tales #110 back in 1963 - and it's important to note he wasn't originally Sorcerer Supreme at all. Rather, Doctor Strange was actually called the "Master of the Black Arts," with the comics implying his role was to turn dark magic to noble purposes. The Sorcerer Supreme was actually Doctor Strange's mentor for years, with Strange only taking that position a decade later. But Strange has always veered towards the darkest magic, frequently striking deals with demonic entities and even using cannibalistic black magic on one shocking occasion.

The MCU's Doctor Strange already appears to be heading in a similar direction, tapping into powers other sorcerers would be wary of - with disastrous results in Spider-Man: No Way Home, when he came close to destroying the fabric of spacetime. The trailer for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Magic showed him going one step further, using spells and incantations from the Darkhold. The MCU's version of the Darkhold was introduced in WandaVision, a book of magic owned by Agatha Harkness but taken by Wanda Maximoff when she claimed the power of the Scarlet Witch. In Marvel Comics lore, the Darkhold was created by an Elder God named Chthon, and it acts as a channel for his power, meaning anyone who uses it risks being corrupted by the experience. That is why certain spells caused Agatha Harkness' skin to blacken, and the same phenomenon is visibly affecting the Scarlet Witch in the Doctor Strange 2 trailer. If Doctor Strange is using the Darkhold, then he is truly exploring the darkest magic imaginable. He seems to be being positioned to earn his original title in the comics, "Master of the Black Arts."

In Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange claimed Wong became Sorcerer Supreme by default, simply because Strange himself was Blipped by Thanos. No doubt Strange prefers to believe that to be the case, but in truth it's a salve for his ego - because the position of Sorcerer Supreme was vacated at least a year before Thanos snapped his fingers (depending on how viewers interpret the MCU timeline, given the precise dating of Doctor Strange is a subject of great contention in the fandom). Strange's claim makes sense given his colossal ego, but he's misrepresenting what happened.

Related: Doctor Strange Was Evil In No Way Home: All Evidence For MCU-Breaking Theory

The truth is that Wong is simply a better candidate for Sorcerer Supreme than Doctor Strange. It's important to remember Doctor Strange hasn't even been practicing magic for long, whereas Wong has a wealth of experience. What's more, in character terms Wong is better suited to a position of responsibility, understanding the consequences of spells conducted without sufficient thought. He seems to have a little too much of a soft spot for Stephen Strange, allowing him to mess with reality unsupervised in Spider-Man: No Way Home, but at least he seemed to understand the risks Strange was taking. Meanwhile, Shang-Chi & the Legend of the Ten Rings has already suggested Wong has built up quite a network in the MCU - and he even seems to have become part of a loose Avengers team as well. He's still based at Kamar-Taj, where he's presumably taken responsibility for mentoring the rest of the Masters of the Mystic Arts, and there's no evidence Doctor Strange would be able to serve as either a liaison or a teacher.

Marvel would be wise not to turn Doctor Strange into Sorcerer Supreme - but instead have him take up the position of Master of the Black Arts. He and Wong could effectively serve as partners, each bringing balance to the others, a team who achieve more than the Ancient One could ever have dreamed. Such an approach would be very different to the comics, where Wong has traditionally served as Doctor Strange's manservant, but it would be a lot more interesting - simply because it would mean Strange's ego was tempered, with Wong challenging him in a way he couldn't if Doctor Strange became Sorcerer Supreme.

This story would further avoid some of the deepest problems with the Doctor Strange narrative in the comics - in which a white European heads to an Asian culture, mastering their talents and skills with remarkable speed and becoming their champion. Curiously, there's some evidence Steve Ditko himself intended to avoid this racially problematic trope when he created Doctor Strange, because he drew Strange as Asian, with inkers anglicizing Ditko's artwork. Later writers didn't read the character as Asian, and thus Doctor Strange was gradually Americanized - culminating in the MCU's portrayal. It would be good to see Marvel avoid further problems by keeping Wong as Sorcerer Supreme - and they could do this by having Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness lead to Stephen Strange becoming Master of the Black Arts instead.

More: Doctor Strange's No Way Home Spell Is Even More Tragic Than You Realize



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