Not only was Doctor Strange one of the most visually impressive films to date in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but it also was packed with a lot of clever tricks and twists that built up to its satisfying conclusion as the Sorcerer Supreme faced the overwhelming threat of the Dark Dimension.
But there was one particular Easter egg seen early in the film that set up the climax, possibly even spoiling the confrontation and defeat of Dormammu — if you were paying very close attention — and it all has to do with the classic comedy movie Groundhog Day. Check it out:
In Doctor Strange, the live/die/repeat finale is hinted at early in the film, just before Strange gets in the car accident. When he picks up his watch, the face reads February 2nd. Groundhog Day. Which also happens to be the name of a movie about a guy stuck in a timeloop. pic.twitter.com/HUPj4HghD6— Movie Details (@moviedetail) August 8, 2019
Groundhog Day is a ceremonial event in the United States where the titular animal exits its burrow and is either frightened of its shadow or not — the superstitious believe that the result determines how long the winter season will extend beyond this date. So, that's the date in reference on Stephen Strange's watch.
The 1993 movie Groundhog Day, however, shows Bill Murray reliving the events of this day over and over again. As a weatherman sent to cover this occasion, he looks down on the event and the small town in Pennsylvania where it takes place, until the repetitive days finally force him to confront his own inner demons, accept love, find peace, and eventually break the cycle.
This, of course, is means that the Groundhog Day reference from the watch is actually a nod to the movie, considering the film's final act in which Doctor Strange forces Dormammu into a time loop where he constantly murders the magician and is stuck repeating the events until he agrees to abandon his attempted invasion of Earth.
What a clever reference in the Marvel Studios film, one that wasn't discovered widely until just decently. It goes to show that there's still a lot to be found when watching the older films from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, especially in the buildup to Avengers: Endgame.