Four months out from the release of Doctor Strange, and details on the film are still scarce. But a new tie-in comic book, the first of a two-part miniseries, sheds light on one mystery: who Rogue One: A Star Wars Story actor Mads Mikkelsen is playing in the film. Spoilers follow.Doctor Strange Prelude (written by Will Corona Pilgrim and illustrated by Jorge Fornes) begins with a crisis. A mysterious woman (possibly a “dark elf”) has stolen a staff of great power and is using it to terrorize unsuspecting tourists at the British Museum. Wong, denoted here as a “Master of the Mystic Arts” and played in the film by Benedict Wong, is sent to stop her, but recognizes he’s overpowered and retreats to assemble help. He goes to his fellow Master of the Mystic Arts, a suspiciously Mikkelsen-looking man named Kaecilius, who scoffs at him for his weakness. Two more Masters of the Mystic Arts, Tina Minoru and Daniel Drumm, come to Wong’s aid, and together the four of them defeat the woman and retrieve the staff. Kaecilius, though, is clearly impressed by the staff’s power, and keeps a greedy eye on it.
Lots of stuff to note here! First of all, fans should definitely get started on learning how to spell “Kaecilius” correctly, because they’ll probably be doing a lot of it. Also interesting to note is that Wong is no manservant here, but a full-fledged Master of the Mystic Arts. Speaking of, it’s notable that there is more than one Master of the Mystic Arts. That is typically one of Dr. Strange’s unique titles, along with Sorcerer Supreme and other cool-sounding alliterative alter egos, but here it seems to connote membership in a Jedi-like order of magical peacekeepers.
Time to ponder that staff, too. Marvel describes it as the Eye of Agamotto, Dr. Strange’s most powerful weapon in the comics. But in this comic readers just see it shoot energy beams and scare important-sounding people. In that way, it behaves a lot like an Infinity Stone. Placing an Infinity Stone inside a weapon (such as Loki’s staff or Ronan’s hammer) is already a well-worn MCU tradition, anyway. If we believe the Tesseract is the Space Stone, the Aether is the Power Stone, the Vision’s head gem is the Mind Stone, and the Orb is the Reality Stone, that leaves the Time Stone or the Soul Stone. The woman doesn’t do anything specific with her staff in the comic, but at certain points it appears to be sucking things in, like a black hole — that could fit the Soul Stone, which contains a whole world inside itself.
Then again, this comic also features the MCU introduction of two notable Marvel magicians. The first, Daniel Drumm, often goes by the name Brother Voodoo in the comics. The other is one Tina Minoru. That name should be familiar to Marvel comics readers. Nico Minoru, Tina’s daughter, is a key member of teen superhero group the Runaways and, later, the all-female Avengers team A-Force. Nico wields the Staff of One, a powerful magical weapon capable of performing any spell once. Maybe this staff is actually a version of the Staff of One? It certainly looks like it. More important, this opens the door to a possible MCU adaptation of the Runaways at some point. The Minorus are canon now, baby