Spoilers for all works set prior to Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame are unmarked.
Portrayed by: Benedict Cumberbatch (motion capture and voice)
Appearances: Doctor Strange
An evil entity who rules the Dark Dimension and the scary Greater-Scope Villain of Doctor Strange.
- Achilles' Heel: He lives in a reality where time doesn't really exist. As a result, being trapped in a "Groundhog Day" Loop by Strange is something so utterly alien to him, he can't escape it despite his godlike powers.
- Adapted Out: Dormammu doesn't have the Mindless Ones under his command as he did in the comics (though the Zealots' final form serves as a Mythology Gag to the group), nor is Mordo his understudy (Kaecilius instead takes the role).
- Adaptational Dye Job: In a way; in the comics, Dormammu's appearance had his face wreathed in orange flame, while in the film, his colour scheme is predominantly purple.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Dormammu ends up pleading with Strange to break the time-loop and free him.
- Assimilation Plot: What Kaecilius describes his scheme to be like:Kaecilius: All will be united in One...
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: The pupil of his eye is several times larger than Strange's entire body. Naturally, from Strange's vantage point all we see of him is his head, which is probably well over fifty feet tall on its own.
- Badass Boast: His first line serves as one.Strange: Dormammu! I've come to bargain!
Dormammu: You've come to die.
- Composite Character: He is called a "devourer of worlds" (which he was never called in the comics) and his color scheme is purple (rather than his usual red and orange), just like Galactus.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Is on the giving of this against Doctor Strange, multiple times.
- Dark Is Evil: Master of the Dark Dimension, and the appearance he shows to Strange takes the form of a purple, flaming face, both fitting Dormammu's overall malevolence.
- Deal with the Devil: Amusingly enough, the godlike Eldritch Abomination is on the receiving end of it, courtesy of Strange's "Groundhog Day" Loop gambit.
- Dimension Lord: Rules over the Dark Dimension.
- Early-Bird Cameo: When the Ancient One sends Strange on his first trip across the multiverse, the future sorcerer comes face to face with a giant eye. It's Dormammu's.
- Eldritch Abomination: Immortal, indestructible, feeds on entire universes. His face is constantly rippling vertically, he has Icy Blue Eyes, his head is partially Wreathed in Flames (psychedelic flames, at that), and he also has the Voice of the Legion.
- Eldritch Location: His Dark Dimension, a purple nebula-esque land of spheres connected by strange bows of matter.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Very deep. His voice actor isn't credited, but according to the director, Dormammu's voice was provided by the famously deep-voiced Benedict Cumberbatch himself, blended with the "very deep voice" of... someone else.
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: Reportedly, that face we see is less Dormammu's actual face than his way of communicating with Strange.
- Greater-Scope Villain: He is the one who Kaecilus is working for but due to the sanctum barriers preventing him from coming to Earth, Kaecilus is the one leading the story. He does appear at the very end when Doctor Strange meets him but was otherwise uninvolved with the Evil Plan.
- "Groundhog Day" Loop: Strange defeats him by locking him in one until he surrenders. Since the very concept of time is relatively foreign to him, Dormammu has a somewhat Delayed Reaction when the loop first repeats.Dormammu: [repeating Badass Boast] You've come to die. Your world is now my world... What? What is this, an illusion?
- Hopeless Boss Fight: Way, way beyond Strange's capability to defeat, and they both know it.
- Hot-Blooded: Very quick to get angry and annoyed with Strange.
- I Gave My Word: There's really nothing stopping him from proceeding with his plan to conquer Earth after Strange releases him from the time loop. He honors his promise anyway and leaves, taking the Zealots with him. Since Dormammu is the ruler of his entire dimension and answerable to no one, it was a necessary gamble that Strange had to take. Of course, there's nothing stopping Strange from just using The Eye to start another "Groundhog Day" Loop until he complies, so he probably simply doesn't want to deal with that again. With the destruction of the Infinity Stones in Endgame however, there is now nothing stopping Dormammu from going back on his word. Better hope he doesn't find out.
- It's All About Me: According to the director, on the subject of Benedict Cumberbatch performing Dormammu's motion-capture:Scott Derrickson: I also wrote that role to be a kind of ultra-inflated version of Strange. He is an ego run amok; he is this cosmic conqueror where everything, where literally everything in the multi-verse is about him.
- Kryptonite Factor: Time Master powers really screw with him. Unfortunately for him, Strange brings the best kind (the Eye of Agamotto / Time Stone) for their confrontation.
- The Man Behind the Man: It turns out that Kaecilius' plan was to allow Dormammu to be unleashed on Earth.
- Mirror Match: An interesting in-universe and meta case. Cumberbatch playing Dormammu in motion-capture pretty much spelled this when he was finally given credit. In-universe, Dormammu takes on a rough form of Strange's face since he doesn't have a form of his own in his realm, making him a Threshold Guardian since his defeat at Strange's hands led directly to Strange finishing his Character Arc.
- Multiversal Conqueror: He routinely conquers and absorbs entire universes.
- Mythology Gag:
- The fact that the Ancient One drew her power from the Dark Dimension (as did Strange, almost) seems to reference the fact that Strange in the comics also called upon Dormammu's name for some of his spells, but he was unaware of who or what he was really channeling.
- The symbol used to invoke him bears a passing resemblance to his comic version's High Collar of Doom.
- Place Beyond Time: The Dark Dimension, where he lives. Exploited by Strange, as he gets tired of killing Strange over and over faster than Strange gets tired of dying, and since he has no idea how time works, he can't find loopholes or pull himself out of the time flow like his followers did earlier.
- Powerful and Helpless: Dormammu could consume our universe with ease and was in the process of doing so when Doctor Strange confronts him. Strange realises that for all his infinite power, Dormammu has no control over time (which doesn't exist in his domain). Strange defeats him by bringing time to the Dark Dimension via the Eye of Agamotto and locking them both in a "Groundhog Day" Loop where all he can do is kill Strange repeatedly for all eternity. This effectively makes Dormammu a helpless prisoner in his own dimension until he accepts Strange's request to leave Earth alone.
- Purple Is Powerful: Extremely powerful and very purple.
- Rage Quit: Gives up on the Sealed Evil in a Duel business out of frustration when he realizes Strange won't let him win and just lets Strange name his terms.
- Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: His realm is beyond time. So Strange traps him in a time loop, and dies over and over to Dormammu's increasing frustration.
- Sadist: He repeatedly kills Strange in a variety of brutal and inventive ways, many of which were out of frustration with being trapped in Strange's time-loop.
- Sealed Evil in a Duel: Briefly gets trapped in an endless duel with Strange, thanks to the Eye of Agamotto locking the two in a "Groundhog Day" Loop. Ultimately, he gets annoyed and agrees to Strange's terms.
- Threshold Guardian: His Rage Quit cemented Strange's acceptance as a protector of the Earth from mystical threats and completed his evolution over the course of the film. Also, as mentioned several times, Dormammu wasn't overwhelmed by sheer force, but talked out of fighting, heralding Strange's maturity.
- Voice of the Legion: Voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch and an unknown voice actor.
- You Cannot Grasp the True Form: A variant of it. According to Word of God, Dormammu doesn't have a physical form in the Dark Dimension, so for the final battle with Strange, when he's played by Benedict Cumberbatch, it is meant to be taken as a sort of Mirror Match since the Dread One sees Strange as beneath him.
Portrayed by: Mads Mikkelsen
Voiced by: Óscar Bonfiglio (Latin-American Spanish dub), Paco Gázquez (European Spanish dub), Yann Guillemot (French dub), Louis-Philippe Dandenault (Canadian French dub), Kazuhiko Inoue (Japanese dub)
Appearances: Doctor Strange
A master of the Mystic Arts who broke away from the Ancient One to form his own following of Zealots, which puts him at odds with Stephen Strange.
- A Pupil of Mine, Until He Turned to Evil: He was a disciple of the Ancient One until he decided to use his powers for evil.
- Adaptational Badass: In the comics, Kaecilius was a mere minion of Baron Mordo. Here, he's a major threat, acting as a herald and servant for Dormammu capable of killing the Ancient One.
- Adaptational Nationality: His nationality isn't disclosed in the comics. In MCU, he's Danish.
- Affably Evil: He's very civil and polite to Strange, even asking for his name and addressing him respectfully. He's also cordial to his former comrades from Kamar-Taj. When he's not killing them, that is.
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: He and his Zealots attacks all three Sanctums that the Masters of the Mystic Arts are sworn to protect. The London and Hong Kong Sanctums quickly fall to his assault, and the New York Sanctum is heavily damaged.
- And I Must Scream: His final fate; assimilated into the Dark Dimension as a mindless, deformed extension of Dormammu.
- Anti-Villain: His intentions aren't villainous per se and he sounds sincere when he says that "time is the enemy" and he wants everyone to be immortal, but he's definitely not a heroic figure.
- Ascended Extra: He's an extremely minor character in the comics, and is much more prominent in the movie.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Leader of the Zealots and their most dangerous member, even managing to kill the Ancient One.
- Bad Boss: He doesn't particularly care much for the wellbeing of his fellow Zealots, watching them die in droves against the Ancient One, with little effort made to rescue or even help them. He's even willing to kill his own followers just to get a shot at the Ancient One. A deleted scene even has him kill one of the Zealots for failing to draw power from the Dark Dimension.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: In the end, he and his followers got exactly what they wanted - eternal life. Eternal life as deformed, mindless slaves to Dormammu.
- Big Bad: he may be working for Dormammu, but Kaecilius is the main threat of the film and gets more focus.
- Big "NO!": He yells this during the climax when Strange traps him in a wall before going to face Dormammu.
- Combat Pragmatist: Coupled with Bad Boss tendencies, he seems to recognize that even with his heightened powers (courtesy of Dormammu) he still may not be a match for the Ancient One, and so instead sacrifices one of his few remaining followers to get a winning stab in rather than fight her one-on-one. His followers may be of the same mindset as none of them seem to take issue with this action.
- Comically Missing the Point: At one point, he mistakenly believes that Stephen Strange's name is "Mister Doctor". It Makes Sense in Context—see below.
- The Comically Serious: He's serious, but has some lighthearted moments such as calling Stephen "Mister Doctor" and his general puzzlement over Stephen's antics while trying to fight him.
- Composite Character: He's an amalgamation of many Doctor Strange villains from the comics. His desire for eternal life matches that of Alaric, and he resembles the comic book iteration of Mordo in that he is a former student of the Ancient One and Dormammu's follower. His appearance after being absorbed by the Dark Dimension closely mimics that of a Mindless One.
- Dark Is Evil: Kaecilius draws his power from the Dark Dimension, and while he's an Anti-Villain, he's still quite evil.
- Deadpan Snarker: Occasionally, such as in his first encounter with Strange.Kaecilius: How long have you been at Kamar-Taj, Mister...?
Kaecilius: Mister Doctor.
Strange: It's "Strange".
Kaecilius: Maybe. Who am I to judge?
- Decomposite Character: He bears more than a few similarities with the comic version of Mordo, being a former pupil of the Ancient One and a current disciple of Dormammu.
- Dragged Off to Hell: Part of the deal Strange makes to save the Earth from Dormammu is taking Kaecilius when he leaves, resulting in Kaecilius and his Zealots all being dragged off to the Dark Dimension.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: His late wife and son, and his pain over their deaths is what fuels his actions throughout the film. A prequel comic shows his split from the Ancient One came when she refused to teach him magic to bring them back from the dead.
- Evil Plan: Destroy the shield generated by the Secret Sanctums in order to allow Dormammu into the human dimension, which will make everyone immortal.
- Evil Sorcerer: His mastery of magic and his evil goal puts him into direct conflict with Kamar-Taj.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Kaecilius has a deep and villainous voice, courtesy of Mads Mikkelsen.
- Eye Scream: As Kaecilius and his followers get closer and closer to their dark goal, the areas around their eyes appear like dark purple craters in their faces.
- FaceHeel Turn: He broke away from the Ancient One to follow his own path for his evil purpose.
- Facial Horror: The purple scarring around his eyes.
- Fallen Hero: He was once a famous master of the Mystic Arts before breaking away and becoming an Anti-Villain.
- Fate Worse than Death: He ends up trapped in the Dark Dimension at the film's conclusion.
- Foil: To Strange, in that they are very similar people - magically gifted, brilliant, bitter and far too willing to reach for power they aren't ready for/capable of understanding yet. This is a large part of why the Ancient One initially refuses to train Strange.
- Freudian Excuse: Losing his family is what drives him to seek out immortality at any cost.
- The Heavy: He is not the head villain, that would be Dormammu, but he is the villain moving the plot along since Dormammu is locked out of Earth's dimension.
- Hero's Evil Predecessor: Takes this role compared to Doctor Strange, as opposed to Mordo. In fact, the similarities between his arrogance and that of his successor plays a part in the Ancient One's initial refusal to teach the latter magic.
- Hollywood Atheist: A deleted scene has him discuss life and death with a priest, with Kaecilius' dialogue implying that he has forsaken any faith he had in God in favour of serving Dormammu.
- Humanoid Abomination: Seems to be his fate after he's transformed into something resembling a Mindless One from the comics.
- Hypocrite: Kaecilius longs to bring about a world without death, but he has no problem with killing anyone who gets in his way, including his own followers.
- Immortality Seeker: Kaecilius seeks to bring the Dark Dimension to Earth to make everyone, himself included, immortal. He gets his wish, at least for himself and his Zealots, but not in the way he probably expected.
- Ironic Echo: Unknowingly echoes Strange's line about people being "momentary speck[s] in an indifferent universe", which visibly disturbs Strange.
- It Is Pronounced Tro Pay: In a meta sense. In the film Kaecilius's name is pronounced ky-see-lee-us, instead of the traditional ''ky-kee-lee-us" with a hard c sound as in the Latin textbooks (which featured the real-life Lucius Caecilius Iucundus). However, Kaecilius IS a Kamar-Taj sorcerer, so it can easily be said that this is an alias he chooses to go by (like The Ancient One).
- Manly Tears: While explaining his motivations to Doctor Strange, he eventually breaks into tears as he describes the possibilities of merging Earth's realm with the Dark Dimension. It's the first clue we get that he seems to genuinely want to improve the lot of all humans... though he's still willing to kill a few dozen on the way.
- Mythology Gag: His wife is named Adria. Both he and Adria are Baron Mordo's minions in the mainstream comics.
- Obviously Evil: Even when he drives some valid points, Strange refuses to help him because a) he just killed someone and b) his dark-magic-corrupted face is clearly the one of a bad guy.
- Off with His Head!: What he does to the Kamar-Taj librarian. He even arranges a basket to catch the head when it drops.
- The Paragon Always Rebels: A very promising Master of the Mystic Arts, he left Kamar-Taj violently, taking his Zealots with him.
- Reality Warper: After being empowered by Dormammu, Kaecilius gains a tremendous boost to his magical abilities, which grants him phenomenal control over the Mirror Dimension, and even distort physical laws such as space and gravity in the real world. Further, thanks to his knowledge of time, Kaecilius is even able to resist and pull himself out of the Eye of Agamotto's time reversal magic, which is powered by an Infinity Stone.
- Reforged into a Minion: He and his followers are transformed into Mindless Ones after being Dragged Off to Hell by Dormammu.
- Secondary Color Nemesis: In contrast to Stephen Strange's Primary-Color Champion, Kaecilius wears an orange gi and after making his magical contract with Dormammu, he gains Black Eyes of Evil that reflect purple and green.
- Space Master: Crosses with Spontaneous Weapon Creation. Thanks to Dormammu's empowering, he can distort space itself to form razor sharp glass-like material called Space Shards, which can not only physically cut through almost anything, but can be summoned and deactivated at will.
- Start of Darkness: His start is detailed in a prequel comic, where the Ancient One's refusal to teach him how to reunite with his dead wife and son drives him to darkness.
- The Stoic: Kaecilius rarely shows strong emotion. Even when describing his motives to Strange with tears in his eyes, his voice is calm and steady.
- Straw Nihilist: Kaecilius believes that death renders life meaningless, and that the only way to achieve a meaningful existence is to become immortal via the Dark Dimension. For this reason, he has no problem killing people to serve his goals.
- Utopia Justifies the Means: How he justifies killing people. As far as he's concerned, a few lives here and there are a small price to pay to create a world free of death.
- We Can Rule Together: Unsuccessfully tries to recruit Strange.
- We Used to Be Friends: The way he talks to Daniel Drumm gives the impression that this was true before he abandoned Kamar-Taj.
- Weapon of Choice: Kaecilius tends to conjure swords made of air during battle when not using other offensive magics.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: His goal is pretty simple: stop the effects of time on humanity. That way, we have all the time we need to gain wisdom, achieve our true potential, and no-one ever has to go through the loss of watching their family die ever again, as he did.
- You Don't Look Like You: He shares little resemblance with his original comic book counterpart◊.
Portrayed by: Zara Phythian, Katrina Durden, Alaa Safi, Dean Ridge
Appearances: Doctor Strange
The students of Kaecilius who split off from Kamar-Taj and joined him to form their own following, seduced by the power of the Dark Dimension.
- Anti-Villain: They follow their master's goals in that they believe their actions are for the greater good - assimilation into the Dark Dimension with eternal life for all.
- A Pupil of Mine, Until He Turned to Evil: They were a whole group of disciples and students of the Ancient One, before following Kaecilius in his fall to the Dark Dimension's power.
- Conservation of Ninjutsu: In their original party over a dozen strong, they fall left and right to the Ancient One's more advanced control of magic. But once Kaecilius raids the Sanctums with only two Zealots at a time, they are a more formidable force, easily wiping out two Sanctums and killing the Ancient One. Justified, as at that point they've been granted power from the Dark Dimension, increasing their magical power.
- Dark Action Girl: Kaecillius has several female Zealots who follow him into combat.
- Dark Is Evil: Like Kaecilius, they draw power from the Dark Dimension, and serve their leader's villainous, albeit well-meaning goals.
- Dragged Off to Hell:The surviving ones share in Kaecilius' fate of being dragged off to the Dark Dimension when Dormammu leaves as part of Strange's deal with him.
- Dwindling Party: Their numbers decrease over the course of the film as they are killed off by the Ancient One, Strange, or Kaecilius. By the time they arrive in Hong Kong, there are only two Zealots left, aside from Kaecilius himself.
- Eye Scream: The Dark Dimension ritual burns and chars the skin around their eyes, giving them the same horrific appearance as Kaecilius. They don't seem bothered by it.
- Kung-Fu Wizard: They use Supernatural Martial Arts in tandem with their spellcasting abilities. Additionally, they also use magically-imbued weapons in combat.
- Obviously Evil: Kaecilius and his followers all have disturbing purple-black scars around their eyes. Strange even lampshades this by pointing out Dormammu can't be good if he puts nasty black decay around his followers' eyes.
- Renegade Splinter Faction: They broke off from the Kamar-Taj orthodoxy over a disagreement in how sorcery should be used.
- Reforged into a Minion: They are transformed into Mindless Ones after being Dragged Off to Hell by Dormammu.
- Spontaneous Weapon Creation: They can form their swords from little more than space and magical energy, making them transparent yet deadly.
- Superpowered Mooks: Their main purpose in the story is to serve as Kaecilius' muscle, not much more.
Portrayed by: Scott Adkins
Appearances: Doctor Strange
A member of Kaecilius' Zealots.
- Adaptation Name Change: Partial. In the comics, his surname is Aster.
- Demoted to Extra: He was the main villain of 4 issues of an Annual for each of the comics version of The Defenders in 1992. In the MCU, he's demoted to a mook.
- Elite Mook: Lucian gives Stephen his most brutal thrashing in the entire film, almost killing him.
- What Measure Is a Mook?: The Ancient One, Mordo, and Kaecilius himself have no qualms about killing them, but after killing Lucian, Strange is quite shaken up, both because this is his first time taking a life and because of the Hippocratic Oath he swore as a doctor.