Will Pangborn Be In 'Doctor Strange 2'? A Post-Credits Scene Is Full Of Clues
In Doctor Strange, Benedict Cumberbatch's character learns about the existence of Kamar-Taj from Jonathan Pangborn, a formerly paralyzed man who he inexplicably finds playing ball in a pick-up game. Benjamin Bratt plays Pangborn in Doctor Strange , and it's his cryptic advice to Stephen Strange that sets the doctor on his new path. It's an important role for a supporting character. And though Marvel has not yet announced that Doctor Strange is getting a sequel, the movie's $85 million domestic opening weekend is a good sign that it will. (Remember that Marvel has some unassigned dates in its projected release schedule.) Pangborn seemed to be out of the mystic arts game in Doctor Strange — at least as it pertains to the universe at large. But a post-credits scene changed all that. So, will Jonathan Pangborn be in Doctor Strange 2 ? (Spoilers ahead!)
To reiterate: even though I'm reasonably sure there's going to be a Doctor Strange 2, this is all speculation until the movie is announced. If Cumberbatch is back as the sorcerer in another solo film, the return of several supporting characters seems likely. The second post-credits scene set up Mordo as an antagonist, if not an outright villain. And since Mordo has decided the world would be better off without sorcery, it stands to reason that Chiwetel Ejiofor will come back as a roadblock to other students of The Ancient One. I also expect that Wong will be still be involved. He and Strange reach an understanding in the movie, and, as Benedict Wong has confirmed that he'll be appearing in Avengers: Infinity War along with Cumberbatch, Wong and Strange's futures seem linked. I'm hoping Rachel McAdams will reprise her role as Dr. Christine Palmer as well, because I'd love it if those crazy kids could work things out.
Unlike Mordo, Wong, and Christine, Pangborn's future in the franchise is more difficult to predict. I think it's important that audiences don't see Pangborn die when Mordo attacks him. Mordo tells Strange that he's done terrible things because he's had to; he has no moral aversion to killing when it's necessary. But Mordo's motivation in that scene is to stop Pangborn from using magic, hence his collapse when Mordo blocks the dimensional energy that was enabling him to walk and stand. Of course, you can also read the scene as building to (though not showing) Pangborn's death. It's hard to conceive that Mordo could be recruiting him. Without magic, Pangborn is back where he was before his search for healing. And unless Mordo can somehow stop him from channeling energy forever, Pangborn could just start up again as soon as Mordo left. Logically, it tracks that Mordo kills Pangborn. Otherwise, why go see him at all?
I've learned never to say never in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But my assessment is that Pangborn's story came to an end in that post-credits sequence. Of course, Bratt could be on the cast list for Doctor Strange 2 and all the theorizing will begin anew. But because of Mordo's vendetta, I wouldn't count on it.
Image: Walt Disney Studios; karlmordo/Tumblr