Doctor Strange is one of the most well-known Marvel characters of all time, especially after the phenomenal performances given by Benedict Cumberbatch as the MCU’s household Sorcerer Supreme. But, did you know that we’ve seen other versions of Doctor Strange on the big screen, even before the MCU introduced the character?
Strange first appeared in the comics in 1963, while the first adaptation for the big screen came in the late seventies. From old-school live-action TV movies and animated feature films all the way to the Multiverse of Madness, here’s the ultimate list of all Doctor Strange movies in chronological order.
Doctor Strange Movies In Chronological Order: At A Glance
The Sorcerer Supreme came to life in live-action adaptations way before his 2016 MCU debut. This list contains every movie where Doctor Strange starred or appeared in a cameo role, including animated movies.
- Doctor Strange (1978)
- Doctor Strange (2007)
- Doctor Strange (2016)
- Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
- Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
- Avengers: Endgame (2019)
- What If…? (2021)
- Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
- Doctor Strange In the Multiverse Of Madness (2022)
Keep in mind that Doctor Strange will certainly appear in more MCU projects. However, nothing has been officially announced as of yet. We’ll probably get some cameo roles for Stephen Strange before we get to a third Doctor Strange movie.
Doctor Strange Movies In Chronological Order: Fully Explained
1. Doctor Strange (1978)
IMDb Rating: 5.1/10
Synopsis: “Thomas Lindmer (Sir John Mills), a world-weary sorcerer, foresees the return to Earth of his ancient adversary Morgan LeFey (Jessica Walter), who has been granted dominance over men’s souls by The Nameless One (David Hooks).
In order to combat her evil magic, Lindmer must pass the Guardianship of the Light onto a young psychiatry-resident, Dr. Stephen Strange (Peter Hooten), who has no inkling of his destiny.”
Why you should watch it: This representation of Stephen Strange is as goofy as the age when it was created. However, it’s the first Doctor Strange representation on the big screen ever, and if anything, you’ll have a good laugh. Strange’s appearance is so “seventies,” with a thick mustache and curly hair. And the acting is as ridiculous as the costumes.
In this particular version, Strange is a young psychiatrist who had been chosen by the previous Sorcerer Supreme to take over and fight an ancient sorcerer known as Morgan LeFey. It’s a bit different backstory from the surgeon Strange we all know from the MCU, that sought to learn the mystic arts himself after an accident.
2. Doctor Strange (2007)
IMDb Rating: 6.6/10
Synopsis: “Dr. Stephen Strange embarks on a wondrous journey to the heights of a Tibetan mountain, where he seeks healing at the feet of the mysterious Ancient One. But before his wounds can mend, Strange must first let go of his painful past and awaken a gift granted to very few.
The gift of magic. Empowered as the new Sorcerer Supreme, Dr. Strange now tests his limits, rising up against monsters that push at the gates, facing the most terrifying entity humankind has ever known.”
Why you should watch it: Doctor Strange (2007) came out as a part of the Marvel Animated Features that premiered from 2005 to around 2011 and included films such as Thor: Tales of Asgard, The Invincible Iron Man, Ultimate Avengers: The Movie, etc.
This version of Stephen Strange, voiced by Bryce Johnson, has a much more similar history to the MCU Strange – he was crippled and sought help from the Ancient One before realizing that his destiny was to let go of the past and become the new Sorcerer Supreme, the ultimate protector of Earth.
I loved these animated features as a kid, so I can’t tell you how good it is objectively. All I can say is that I loved it, and I still do.
3. Doctor Strange (2016)
IMDb Rating: 7.5/10
Synopsis: “Marvel’s “Doctor Strange” follows the story of the talented neurosurgeon Doctor Stephen Strange who, after a tragic car accident, must put ego aside and learn the secrets of a hidden world of mysticism and alternate dimensions.
Based in New York City’s Greenwich Village, Doctor Strange must act as an intermediary between the real world and what lies beyond, utilising a vast array of metaphysical abilities and artifacts to protect the Marvel Cinematic Universe.”
Why you should watch it: This is the first appearance of Doctor Strange in the MCU after only being mentioned in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Benedict Cumberbatch portrayed all of his glorious acting talents, going from an arrogant, self-centered neurosurgeon to the Doctor Strange we all know and love.
The movie itself was cool, too, although we haven’t received as much character development as we did later in the MCU. For those unacquainted with the character before the movie, Doctor Strange might’ve still remained a bit obscure. Luckily for us, that changed, and he became one of the household MCU characters.
4. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
IMDb Rating: 7.9/10
Synopsis: “Imprisoned on the other side of the universe, the mighty Thor (Chris Hemsworth) finds himself in a deadly gladiatorial contest that puts him against The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), his former ally and fellow Avenger.
Thor’s quest for survival leads him in a race against time to prevent the all-powerful Hela (Cate Blanchett) from destroying his home world and the Asgardian civilization.”
Why you should watch it: Thor: Ragnarok is one of my favorite MCU movies to this date. The soundtrack is awesome, and Taika Waititi is a brilliant, hilarious director that created one of the most colorful, vibrant, and exciting movies in the MCU ever.
Now, Doctor Strange only appeared in a cameo role near the beginning of the movie, but it was an awesome cameo. It showed a bit more depth to the Sorcerer Supreme – he played a short but crucial role in the movie, as he reunited Loki and Thor so that the movie’s plot could progress.
However, we’ve also seen just how awesome and powerful he is. The guy just toyed with the god of mischief and the god of thunder – one of the mightiest Avengers – like they were kids. It really put a stamp on the power level of the Sorcerer Supreme in the MCU’s bigger picture.
5. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
IMDb Rating: 8.4/10
Synopsis: “As the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, a new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos.
A despot of intergalactic infamy, his goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones, artifacts of unimaginable power, and use them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality. Everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment, the fate of Earth and existence has never been more uncertain.”
Why you should watch it: Many fans prefer Endgame, but in my humble opinion, Infinity War is still the best MCU movie to date and probably the best comics-based movie ever (apart from Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy). It was shocking and riveting, and the ending just blew me away.
Doctor Strange joined the Avengers to fight Thanos, a crazy purple alien guy who wants to wipe out half of all living beings in the universe. He’s after the Infinity Stones, and Doctor Strange swore to protect the Time Stone, located in the Eye of Agamotto, hanging around his neck. However, he chooses to give the Stone to Thanos.
In a shocking twist, he reveals it was the only way. What that meant, we didn’t know until a full year later, when Endgame came out.
6. Avengers: Endgame (2019)
IMDb Rating: 8.4/10
Synopsis: “After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the universe is in ruins due to the efforts of the Mad Titan, Thanos. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers must assemble once more in order to undo Thanos’s actions and undo the chaos to the universe, no matter what consequences may be in store, and no matter who they face…”
Why you should watch it: This was the most epic culmination of over a decade’s worth of movies ever created and something that everybody else is trying to replicate now. Due to being turned to dust in the previous movie, Doctor Strange only appeared near the end of the film, in the final battle, when the surviving Avengers undid Thanos’ snap.
We learn that Strange knew exactly what was going to happen and that everything that had happened was the only way it could’ve happened if they wanted to beat Thanos. If there’s still a person who hasn’t watched this film, I’ll refrain from additional spoilers, but it’s so well worth three hours of your time.
7. What If… Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead Of His Hands? (2021)
IMDb Rating: 8.9/10
Synopsis: “Dr. Stephen Strange survives the car crash, but his girlfriend Christine Palmer doesn’t. Strange discovers that the accident is a fixed point in time, and goes to any means necessary to gain enough power to resurrect Christine – no matter the cost.”
Why you should watch it: This is the only entry on this list that is not actually a movie but rather an episode of an animated TV series. However, I just had to include it because it was simply epic. It showed what would happen if Strange was corrupted by grief and to what lengths such a powerful person could go to achieve their goals.
It’s by far the best-rated episode of the entire first season of What If…?, so if you haven’t seen it, I strongly recommend you to do so.
8. Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)
IMDb Rating: 8.3/10
Synopsis: “Peter Parker’s secret identity is revealed to the entire world. Desperate for help, Peter turns to Doctor Strange to make the world forget that he is Spider-Man. The spell goes horribly wrong and shatters the multiverse, bringing in monstrous villains that could destroy the world.”
Why you should watch it: No Way Home was the best Spider-Man stand-alone movie in the MCU, with tons of fan service and a captivating plot that introduced the viewers to the concept of the multiverse much more thoroughly.
Doctor Strange played a pivotal role in the movie, as he was the one to cast a spell for Peter that subsequently went wrong and opened up the multiverse. We’ve seen it before in Loki and later in Doctor Strange 2, but all the consequences of the events from this movie still haven’t been explored completely. I can’t wait to see what the MCU has in store for us.
9. Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness (2022)
IMDb Rating: 7.2/10
Synopsis: “Doctor Strange teams up with a mysterious teenage girl from his dreams who can travel across multiverses, to battle multiple threats, including other-universe versions of himself, which threaten to wipe out millions across the multiverse. They seek help from Wanda the Scarlet Witch, Wong, and others.”
Why you should watch it: Last but not least, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is the last movie in the MCU (so far) in which Doctor Strange appeared. The movie is visually phenomenal, directed by Sam Raimi, and the plot was incredibly amusing. It introduced new characters, explored the multiverse, and showed who Strange is, not just as a Sorcerer but as a person.
Interestingly, Cumberbatch played three additional versions of Doctor Strange in this movie, and the one I loved the most was a zombie. Yup, that happened.
It’s unclear when and where we’ll see Doctor Strange again, but he will certainly return to the MCU sooner rather than later, especially after the post-credit scene in this particular film.