How will the Sorcerer Supreme and his mastery of the mystic arts fit into the science-driven Marvel Cinematic Universe?
The Marvel Cinematic Universe now includes such assorted weirdness as the God of Thunder and his many Asgardian friends, a race of aliens that emerged from a portal over New York City, a Cosmic Cube, Dark Elves, a seemingly ordinary S.H.I.E.L.D. agent brought back from the dead, and the Mad Titan Thanos, to say nothing of everything that's about to be added through Guardians of the Galaxy. We've been living with these movies for so long now that it's easy to take for granted just what an achievement it is that all of those things aren't just onscreen, but onscreen as part of a massive ongoing shared universe that's generated several billion dollars in revenue, much of it from people who could not have cared less what a Dark Elf was until late last year.
Marvel's achieved this for a number of reasons, but the fact that these crazy comic-book concepts are often so rooted in science has to be one of them. You start with Tony Stark, a billionaire inventor who develops a highly advance armored suit and a miniature reactor to power it, then you add the guy who turns into an enormous green rage monster because of a scientific mishap, then you move on to the "God" who's not really a god but rather a member of a highly advanced, long-living race of beings from another realm. In the Marvel Universe, as Thor says, magic and science are "one and the same." If you don't understand something, it's simply because it's highly advanced, not magical.
So, if that's the Marvel Cinematic Universe status quo, how do you incorporate the very magical character of Doctor Stephen Strange into said universe? A Doctor Strange movie is all but guaranteed now, so how does he fit in this world? For Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, it starts with the same principle introduced in Thor: On some level, magic and science are still the same thing.
"Are you watching the Cosmos series? That’s magic, [the quantum physics]. It’s unbelievable," Feige said, speaking to Badass Digest during the Captain America: The Winter Soldier press junket. "If somebody knew how to tap into that stuff, what’s the difference between that and magic?
"You don’t get into it in Harry Potter, but if a scientist went to Hogwarts he’d find out how some of that stuff is happening!"
The idea that Strange is a guy who can tap into aspects of the universe that other people simply can't is certainly in keeping with his character. After all, he doees things that even supergeniuses like Reed Richards and Tony Stark don't fully understand. But how do you reconcile the idea that what Strange is doing is just really advanced science with all of his amulets and rituals and astral wonderings? According to Feige, the answer to that is actually rather simple: Never explain everything.
"We’re not going to spend a lot of time on that, but there will be some of that," Feige said. "And particularly for a character like Strange, who goes from a man of science to a man of faith and who traverses both worlds. And sometimes there won’t be an answer! Sometimes he’ll want an answer - 'How is this happening?!' - and nothing."
The "magic is science" explanation has worked very well for Marvel in the past, but it's nice to know Feige's open to letting some of Strange's magical deeds just be unexplained weirdness. After all, what's the Sorcerer Supreme without a little mystery?
(Via Badass Digest)