The 'Doctor Strange' Second Post-Credits Scene Introduces A New Marvel Villain
Fans of the Doctor Strange comics have probably already noticed one major difference in the feature film adaptation: the allegiance of Mordo, as played by Chiwetel Ejiofor. In Doctor Strange , Mordo is a mentor to Stephen Strange from the time he first appears in Nepal A close disciple of the Ancient One, not only does Mordo help teach Strange in the ways of magic, he also convinces the Ancient One to take Doctor Strange under her wing. It's a major departure from Mordo's villainous nature in the comics, in which he and Doctor Strange are adversaries almost from the beginning. In Doctor Strange, Mordo is an ally to Doctor Strange, not a villain, but — spoiler alert — in the Doctor Strange second post-credits scene, Mordo's villainous nature emerges.
In the comics, Mordo is seduced by dark magic early in his life, before even meeting the Ancient One, and as soon as Doctor Strange arrives in Kamar-Taj, Mordo's true nature begins to show. In the film, however, Mordo is not tempted by dark magic at all. In fact, it is the realization (spoiler) that the Ancient One has been using dark magic to extend her life that sets him down a path to villainy. After learning of the Ancient One's betrayal and watching Doctor Strange reset time in order to save the planet from Dormammu, Mordo walks away from his fellow Sorcerers. Magic, according to Mordo, is meant to protect the Earth, not interfere with the natural order (like the course of time).
In the Doctor Strange second post-credits scene, Mordo tracks down Jonathan Pangborn, a man who is constantly using the magic taught to him by the Ancient One to heal his paralysis, and attacks him. Mordo uses his magic to undo Pangborn's spell, in effect re-injuring his spinal chord and leaving him helpless on the floor. When Pangborn asks him why he's doing this, Mordo answers that magic is not meant to go against the natural laws. The scene sets Mordo up as a potential villain, one who tracks down sorcerers or other beings who he feels are using magic recklessly. There are "too many sorcerers," he says, as he appears to absorb Pangborn's magic for himself (either that, or he simply rids Pangborn of magic).
This second post-credits scene in Doctor Strange certainly pits Mordo against Doctor Strange in a rivalry that could stretch over multiple Marvel films, both Doctor Strange sequels and others. Strange, who is in possession of the time-altering Eye of Agamotto, is likely to break the rules of what Mordo deems the "natural order," meaning it's only a matter of time before Mordo comes for Strange.
Doctor Strange was always meant to act as an origin story for both Doctor Strange and Mordo. "With the way that [Mordo] needs to be a presence in the universe of Doctor Strange and, god willing, in sequels, I felt that we had to start by establishing who he was before he got into that arch villainy in the comics," director Scott Derrickson said in an interview with Screen Rant. To give Mordo a full arc as a villain, filmmakers wanted to avoid making jealousy the main motivation for Mordo's evil ways, as it is in the comics. As Ejiofor explained in an interview with Collider, Mordo's shift does not come out of a competition with Doctor STrange, it comes "from a place of protection and loyalty" to the values of Kamar-Taj. In traditional villain fashion, he believes that he is in the right and that Doctor Strange is in the wrong.
Should Doctor Strange get a sequel, which, let's face it, is almost guaranteed, it looks like Mordo will come back as a foe, not a friend.