Doctor Strange brought magic to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a major way, with the Ancient One, the many disciples at Kamar-Taj, a multiverse of dimensional energies and beings, and of course, the Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Stephen Strange. But it also happened to be in the MCU's bigger world, and that meant a link - a major link as it turned out - to the world of Avengers and the upcoming Infinity War. Inside the Eye of Agamotto was the Time Stone, something we found out for certain only at the very end of the movie.
"The last scene with Wong was shot after principal photography, when we decided to put that on as kind of the final scene. It was only then that we were looking for a way to tie it into the MCU," director Scott Derrickson told ComicBook.com. The scene he's referring to is when Wong directly calls the gem in the Eye "The Time Stone."
Indeed, the Time Stone came about as a side effect of Time becoming a major theme in the film - and that wasn't something Derrickson set out to do from the onset of developing the film.
"Well, that was definitely something that emerged throughout the creative process all the way through production and even more into editorial. We didn't start out with the idea of time or even the time stone and move forward. It just continued to present itself as an important thematic notion," Derrickson said of the Time themes. I knew from the first draft that Kaecilius's desire to not die, to live essentially forever, was paramount to the story, but that was to me more of a religious notion than the physics of time itself. As we got more into the multiverse, multiple dimensions and all of that, the idea of time being a separate dimension itself, and Dormammu existing beyond time just sort of filtered it's way into Strange's story."
Indeed, he started to notice how time worked its way into the film repeatedly.
"You get the watch and Christine saying, 'Time will tell how much I love you,' and the simple idea that if you're going to be so bold as to create a character who's confronting the question what is the meaning of my life, who am I in this vast multiverse ... He is confronting that question as a creature of time," the director said. "Our universe is only, what I believe, about 16 billion years old, which is a very finite number and that time is a very finite concept. Time itself is, by definition, not infinite. It begins and ends as do our lives."
As they really began exploring those concepts, and Derrickson made a point of saying his writers and actors were in a very active capacity there, "Time became the obvious icing on the cake of the whole movie." The ability to rewind time and "the idea of beating Dormammu by introducing time into a timeless dimension" also happened to allow Derrickson and his team to not end the movie with "masses amounts of destruction" like most Marvel films.
Ultimately, the Time Stone's use makes this movie incredibly important to the overall MCU, but more importantly to this film it allowed them to further advance the central question Strange asked, and everyone asks, "Who am I?" There's only so much time to ask that question, after all.
Doctor Strange will appear next in Thor: Ragnarok, and is also due to appear in Avengers: Infinity War, which began principal photography this week. Doctor Strange hits digital HD February 14, and DVD/Blu-ray on February 28.
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