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What Does Sorcerer Supreme Even Mean & Why It Matters To Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange is not MCU’s Sorcerer Supreme, but what significance does that title hold, and how important is it to the Master of Mystic Arts?

Spider-Man: No Way Home confirms that Doctor Strange is not the Sorcerer Supreme, but it’s not clear what the title even means or why it means so much to him. With some bitterness, Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) clarifies to Peter Parker (Tom Holland) that his fellow Master of the Mystic Arts, Wong (Benedict Wong), received the promotion on a technicality since Strange was blipped for five years courtesy of Thanos’s snap. Strange’s indignance suggests that not holding the position of Sorcerer Supreme is something that legitimately pains him.

With Wong’s ascension to Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange swallows a mystical humble pill and acquiesces to the decision. However, the recent trailer for the MCU’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness gives Strange fans hope that he may regain his comic book title. Unfortunately, it may come at the expense of Wong, who appears to sustain some significant injuries in the upcoming film. If Wong meets his end or is otherwise unable to perform the duties of Sorcerer Supreme, it could be the catalyst for Strange to finally assume the Sorcerer Supreme title. If that time comes, the Master of Mystic Arts will undoubtedly rise to prominence, but there’s more than a bruised ego at stake for the good doctor in regard to gaining the title.

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Related: Why No Way Home Says Doctor Strange, Not Spider-Man, Will Return

In Marvel comics, the Sorcerer Supreme title is bestowed upon the mystic arts practitioner who commands more magical energies and has greater skills than any other being in their realm. Although impressive in status, the Marvel Universe is quick to remind its heroes that with great power comes great responsibility. The Sorcerer Supreme carries the intimidating weight of protecting the world by maintaining a mystical barrier that guards against invasions from other realms. The ownership of this mystical mantle is decided by the Vishanti, a trio of supernatural entities that includes Agamotto, creator of the Eye of Agamotto (the amulet which houses the Time Stone). In the comics, Stephen Strange assumes the role after the physical death of his mentor and previous Sorcerer Supreme, the Ancient One. The MCU, however, gives Cumberbatch’s Strange more opportunities to develop his craft before he can earn the prestigious position.


Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Trailer

Under the guidance of his mentor in the MCU, the once celebrated surgeon Dr. Stephen Strange learned to replace his thirst for career notoriety with a deeper empathy for humanity, embracing the opportunity to serve something greater than himself. With that noble evolution, it may seem uncharacteristic for him to be so disgruntled about not being at the top of the mystical food chain. His unhappiness boils down to one word: knowledge. According to the comics, the Sorcerer Supreme is “granted access to great wellsprings of powers unavailable to other practitioners of the mystic arts.” In MCU’s Doctor Strange, the apprentice Strange uses his early abilities of teleportation and astral projection to access and read as many books from the Kamar-Taj library as he can. Being Sorcerer Supreme would complete his quest for ultimate expertise as a Master of the Mystic Arts by allowing him access to ultimate knowledge.


 

Doctor Strange’s assumption that he was next in line to be Sorcerer Supreme after the Ancient One isn’t rooted in arrogance, however. “Strange is meant to be the best of us,” she tells Bruce Banner in Avengers: Endgame. By “us,” she could be referring to her fellow Sorcerer Supremes. Having spent some time studying future outcomes, surely Strange is aware of this expectation. Becoming Sorcerer Supreme, then, would mean fulfilling his destiny and earning his place among the other great protectors of the multiverse. Clearly, Doctor Strange feels he lost more than time during his five-year absence.


Could Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness see an aspiring Strange return to his former selfish nature?  It’s possible. The film will feature the Strange Supreme originally introduced to the MCU in Marvel’s What If…? episode 4 as a darker, alternate version of Strange. It remains to be seen whether events in Multiverse of Madness will mirror any of the What If…? storyline. Regardless, it looks to set Doctor Strange on the path of the Sorcerer Supreme title temporarily denied to him in Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Next: Why Doctor Strange Turns Evil In Multiverse Of Madness

  • The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Jul 28, 2023

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