In celebration of the holiday in which a groundhog emerges from its burrow to determine how many more weeks of winter must be endured, one Doctor Strange fan took to Twitter to point out that the car crash that caused Stephen Strange to injure his hands took place on February 2. The film's director, Scott Derrickson, confirmed that this was an intentional detail that everyone has overlooked since the film was released.
I’ve waited two years for somebody to notice this. https://t.co/IeWEgTAjoa— Scott Derrickson (@scottderrickson) February 2, 2018
While the specific date may seem arbitrary, this was clearly a reference to the film's finale and the 1993 Billy Murray-starring film Groundhog Day.
In the film, Murray plays a weatherman who heads to a small Pennsylvania town famous for its Groundhog Day festivities, only for the weather to impact his departure. For reasons unknown, the weatherman wakes up and realizes that the events of the previous day are repeating themselves, sticking him in a time loop. Murray's character exploits the situation, learning a variety of skills thanks to his endless time and learns details about a woman in order to woo her.
In Doctor Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme (Benedict Cumberbatch) confronts the demonic Dormammu on earth, with his many abilities showing no effect on the villain. Instead of vanquishing Dormammu, Strange creates a time loop in which Dormammu becomes trapped, repeatedly killing Strange yet unable to escape the loop. Eventually, Dormammu accepts defeat and agrees to depart earth if Strange allows him to escape the time loop.
Fans familiar with Groundhog Day may have picked up on the similarity, yet the date on Strange's watch now makes the connection quite obvious, in addition to Derrickson's confirmation.
Strange will next be seen in Avengers: Infinity War, but the next Marvel Cinematic Universe film, Black Panther, hits theaters on February 16. Based on early projections, that film is likely to break Strange's record of highest-grossing superhero origin film, which Derrickson seems quite happy about.
"Doctor Strange is the highest grossing MCU origin movie. I have six more weeks to enjoy this fact before Ryan Coogler’s #BlackPanther shatters box office records. #CantWait," the director recently shared on Twitter.
Avengers: Infinity War lands in theaters on May 4.