– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Doctor Strange is an odd film for Marvel. So far in their cinematic universe, things stayed relatively science fiction. A lot of the stuff on Earth has all sorts of crazy tech-heavy technology, but nothing that’s so ridiculously unbelievable that it couldn’t be explained away as pseudoscience. An the galactic scale, we’ve mostly been able to shrug off even the most outrageous of events and spectacles (like those in the Thor movies or in Guardians of the Galaxy) because, you know, it’s set in space and on other planets.

With Doctor Strange, Marvel runs the risk of throwing all logic out the window in favor of magic. It’s a double-edged sword for sure, and while this could ultimately help in increasing the longevity of the shared universe, it also has the potential to break any form of common sense already established in the world. And what about that one line in the original Thor, where Thor mentions that in their eyes, magic and science are one in the same? What does this mean for the magic in Doctor Strange?

In a recent interview with Screen Rant, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige addressed this very question:

“I don’t know if it was written off in that single line in Thor. It was given another way of looking at it. There are a couple of lines in Thor basically saying that science and magic it gets to a point where what’s the difference. And I think we’re continuing that. The Ancient One encounters Strange – he’s a scientist, he’s learned Western Medicine; he believes very much in that. She starts using Eastern lingo in the way she’s describing the world to him. He immediately writes it off – he rolls his eyes, he doesn’t buy it, and she goes okay, and she starts talking about it in Western terms to try and make him more comfortable. She says it’s the same thing. Whether you’re looking at the ancient study of acupuncture pressure points or you’re looking an MRI – she’s trying to say we’re talking about the same things here. And if you’re not comfortable with the word spells, let’s use the word programme. It’s all the same thing. And I think that’s true to a certain extent – I think for the audience and the way science is going. I’m not a scientist. I just read articles that are interesting and that capture my imagination, but I think there’s a reason why there’s so much faith placed in science.

“For a long time there was a prologue in this movie that we’re not doing – maybe we’ll do in part two, so maybe I shouldn’t mention it – but it took place in CERN. If you think about CERN, it comes up a lot in SF story because it’s so mind-blowing what’s actually being done there, and we’ve looked at that a lot because of the discussions about parallel dimensions and multiple-dimensions, and all of that has gone into building the foundation for our fictional reality within the Strange universe. And then you go back and look at the comics and look at the, you know, the journey the Ancient One takes Strange on in the comics, and it’s all the same thing. They didn’t know about parallel dimensions back then – they were making it up or tapping into philosophies for it, and now I think it’s more relevant and potentially, theoretically, more realistic than ever. Realistic being a relative term here.”

Like everything else in the Marvel Cinematic Universe so far, this almost sounds like they’re going for a more grounded and believable take on the magic — despite previous comments from the director stating otherwise. Screen Rant went on to ask whether setting the rules for science and magic is difficult. Feige replied:

“It’s very hard because you don’t want to rule yourself out into it being mundane, or rule yourself into not being fantastical or magical. And certainly we’re not doing that. And you’ve heard me talk about the quantum realm in Ant-Man which was certainly designed for that movie and for that story to take the notion of somebody who has the ability to shrink to another level we’ve never seen before, but as we were doing that, and studying it and talking to the science advisors who are always more than willing to spend an afternoon with us and talk about these amazing things – the quantum realm is another dimension. It tapped into what we had been working on with this movie as well, so that really became the notion that we’re scratching the surface of the quantum realm and then we just do a deep dive in this.

“A lot of it is – is it cool? Is it entertaining? Does it give us visuals we’ve never seen before? That’s been particularly hard on this film to find outside of the comic books, and the Ditko art work, comparables for the visuals we want to bring to this. Our visual effects supervisor has amazing reference and all of it is sort of close to what we want but none of it exactly what we want, which is an exciting place to be in because the visuals you will ultimately see in November we might not have seen yet because they’re still being designed and being developed.”

While most superhero movies, for the longest time, seemed to be origin stories, we’ve finally gotten to the point where a good portion of these flicks are actually far beyond the point of an origin. Now that they’re back to an origin with Doctor Strange, Feige expounded on the things they learned from their previous films that they could incorporate into this one.

“Well, it’s… it’s an origin story in this film in particular, because it’s always been our model – with a few exceptions – to introduce a character, introduce their world, and then have the fun of me being that character in another movie down the line. Iron Man, Cap, Thor, most recently Ant-Man, and that’s certainly what we’re doing in Strange.

“If you didn’t know this movie was connected to 13 movies before it, nothing in this movie would indicate that was the case. This is very much a standalone introduction to a very complex character and a very complex world, which through this movie and until maybe some upcoming movies is relatively self-contained. There are people inhabiting the same world that are stopping buildings from falling down, robots from doing this, aliens from doing that – these people in this movie are stopping inter-dimensional forces from wiping out all of reality.

“So although it doesn’t necessarily come up, we’ve always assumed that the sorcerers have bigger fish to fry when they hear there’s something in a city or there’s a bank being robbed. They’re not thinking about it. They’re thinking if we don’t keep vigilant our sense of reality will disappear, and there won’t be a bank to rob and there won’t be a city to be conquered.”

One other big aspect Feige tackled had to do with other dimensions. As we’ve seen in the trailers, dimensions seem to be playing a large role in this. But when you talk dimensions in comic books, oftentimes we’re talking alternate realities — realities, where, say Cap could have been raised as a Hydra agent. Feige clarifies that, while multiverses are where the films could go in the future, in this film, other dimensions are wholly different:

“I think when comic book fans hear parallel dimensions or multiple dimensions they think of Earth 616 and Earth 617 and Earth 618. That’s all possible. But what we’re playing with in this world is there are dimensions – that the other dimensions are not just parallel realities, although some of them are, but there are the Dark Dimension where Dormammu inhabits; there are dimensions that are so mind-bending that you can barely perceive them; there are dimensions where a lot of the Ditko images come from; there are dimensions that are just mind trips that the human mind can barely fathom which is why it’s hard to turn them into something to show audiences in November. But we’re playing as much with the notion of the multiverse as much as alien dimensions, for lack of a better term, than parallel realities where there’s Strange that wears Iron Man armor – we’re not there yet.”

Well, I have to say, as a Marvel fan, I’m really looking forward to seeing something that goes beyond what we’ve seen so far in the films.

What do you think? Do these comments from Feige get you more excited to see the film? Let us know down below!

SOURCE: Screen Rant

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.