Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was a wild ride and opened some stuff that we haven’t seen before, at least to that extent. But, if you look at the comics, he’s been around for decades, always at his best self, rarely even getting hurt. That made many fans wonder, can Doctor Strange even die?
Doctor Strange can die in the comics and in the MCU. In the comics, he was nearly immortal for a while before the hero met his end in Death of Doctor Strange #1 on September 22, 2021. In the MCU, the main version of Strange is still alive, but many Multiversal variants of him died.
When I say “sort of died” in the comics, I mean there’s much more to it. The Sorcerer Supreme met Death before. However, this time, it was unlike ever before. Let’s check out more about Doctor Strange, his magic, and everything related to his death.
Can Doctor Strange Die In The MCU?
Doctor Strange became his universe’s Sorcerer Supreme, the most powerful Master of the Mystic Arts in existence. Since then, he learned more and more about his craft and displayed unfathomable growing powers from film to film. We’ve seen him battle character much stronger than himself. And yet, his defenses were always so powerful that he hardly ever got hurt.
Seeing the protection he can grant himself with spells and magic, fans speculated that Doctor Strange actually couldn’t die. For a while, that was the truth in the comics, too. So, can Doctor Strange die in the MCU?
The answer is – yes. Doctor Strange can die in the MCU, and there are more than one pieces of evidence to suggest that. The first and most obvious is that he HAS died in the MCU. When Thanos snapped his fingers, causing half of the universe to disappear, Doctor Strange was among those who vanished.
He didn’t die, per se, but rather ceased to exist. Also, he did return after the Avengers managed to undo the Snap and defeat Thanos, reversing the Blip once and for all. However, had they not succeeded in their efforts, Strange would remain dead, suggesting he could – and did – actually die.
The second evidence we have is the death of the previous Sorcerer Supreme – Tilda Swinton’s Ancient One. If Strange has the same powers as the previous Sorcerer Supreme and uses those powers to keep himself safe, it doesn’t make sense that Stephen couldn’t die due to his powers, but the Ancient One – who lived for hundreds of years – could.
Third, Doctor Strange 2 opened the Multiverse in ways we haven’t seen before. For the first time, we’ve seen Stephen Strange variants from other universes. Well, other than those in the What if…? animated series. And at least several of them had died already in their respective universes.
One died at the beginning of the movie, killed by a demon who was hunting him and America Chavez. America eventually brought his body to “our” Strange’s universe, where Stephen buried him under some bricks. That body eventually because Zombie Strange in the film, again, proving that Strange can die.
Another Stephen died while fighting the main MCU Doctor Strange, particularly in the “note” battle. The corrupted Strange, who had the Darkhold with him in that particular universe, fell through the big window in the Sanctum Sanctorum and onto the spiked fence, dying on the spot.
We also had the Earth-838 Doctor Strange, who died before our Stephen ever got to that particular universe. The masses thought he died during the battle with Thanos. Later, we learn that he got corrupted by the Darkhold, realized what he had done, helped defeat Thanos, and then, the Illuminati and he agreed to have Strange executed, as he was too dangerous to live.
So, we had the main MCU’s Doctor Strange die in the Snap, and at least three variants in the Multiverse die for various reasons and purposes. Hence, it’s safe to say that the MCU Doctor Strange can die.
Did Doctor Strange Die In Doctor Strange 2?
Now, I know we’ve mentioned that Doctor Strange had died several times in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. However, they were all variants. The question is, did the main MCU Doctor Strange (Earth-616) die in Doctor Strange 2?
Well, if you’ve seen the end of the movie, the answer is obvious. “Our” Doctor Strange didn’t die in Doctor Strange 2. He survived the battle with the Scarlet Witch and lived to fight another day.
At the end of the film, we see Stephen casually walking down the street, listening to music. All of a sudden, Strange is taken down to his knees by what seems to be sudden, excruciating pain in his head. As he raises his head, we see that a third eye appears on his forehead, much like the Doctor Strange variant who possessed the Darkhold and got impaled on a fence.
So, what’s happening here? Is Strange dying? Or getting possessed? Well, we don’t know all the details yet, as they weren’t revealed, but we know one thing. It was the use of the Darkhold that gave Strange the third eye. Both “our” Doctor Strange and the one I’ve just mentioned used the Darkhold and its corrupted powers, resulting in the eye popping up.
Now, Doctor Strange has had an eye on his forehead in the comics for years. It was the Eye of Agamotto that Stephen actually used for good, and it came from good. On the other hand, the third eye in the MCU came from the Darkhold, which is anything but good, so I doubt the powers and reasons behind it won’t be similar to those in the comics.
Can Doctor Strange Die In The Comics?
At some point in comics history, almost every Marvel character had died, then came back, then died again, etc. Not Doctor Strange, though. There were a few instances when it happened, but never definitively. Well, not until recently. So, can Doctor Strange die in the comics?
Yes, he can, and he has. However, there was a time – a long time – when Doctor Strange was practically immortal. In Doctor Strange Vol. 2 #4, about a decade after Strange’s first comic book appearance, Strange actually died and faced Death herself in the afterlife.
Little did he know, it was all a test that virtually every Sorcerer Supreme had to pass – or fail. The test was to completely, undoubtedly remove even the slightest fear of death. Strange passed the test and, as a result, stopped aging completely from the moment he was returned to his physical body.
For reference, the Ancient One also passed the same test during her time as the Sorcerer Supreme; only she was a lot older when she got to that point, so she forever remained at an “older” physical age than Stephen. And yet, the Ancient One lived for over 600 years before passing away. Wait, wait… passing away? Didn’t I just say the Sorcerer Supreme is immortal?
Well, in terms of aging, they are essentially immortal and would never die of natural causes. However, physical injury or mortal wounds can still kill the Sorcerer Supreme – which is exactly how Doctor Strange died just recently in the comics.
How Did Doctor Strange Die In The Comics?
So, Doctor Strange was immortal for a long time after facing Death, and when his guard was up, it was almost impossible to hurt him physically. However, when his guard was down, that’s when Strange was vulnerable, and it eventually cost him his life.
In Death of Doctor Strange #1 from September 2021, We see Stephen open the door of the Sanctum to somebody who knocked. We don’t see who it is, but we see Strange knows them and is not intimidated at first. Moments later, the person uses Stephen’s trust, ties him up with magical bands, and stabs him right through the chest.
The perpetrator is revealed in Death of Doctor Strange #5 in January 2022, but seeing how fresh the storyline is, many probably haven’t had the chance to read it yet, so I won’t spoil everything. That being said, it wasn’t the end of Doctor Strange – not completely.
You see, Doctor Strange was ready for something like that to happen eventually. While he was still at the beginning of his Sorcerer Supreme days, he saved a piece of his soul in an object as a security measure so that, if he ever died suddenly, the Earth wouldn’t be left unprotected without its Sorcerer Supreme.
If it gives you strong Harry Potter vibes, you’re not the only one – Voldemort did a similar thing with the Horcruxes. The difference is that Stephen’s guy wasn’t evil. After Strange died, the young version of him emerged from the piece of soul he saved, giving birth to Doogie Strange.
It’s not sure if Doogie will replace Doctor Strange forever, but it doesn’t really matter since they are essentially the same person; only Doogie lacks the experience and knowledge of the more mature version of the Sorcerer Supreme everybody knew and loved.