I mentioned last week that Doctor Strange is a storyline-based character. There have already been rumors of Rachel McAdams playing a form of the Night Nurse and the implications of this for the storyline of the film. If McAdams is a Night Nurse, then we are likely looking at some adaptation of The Oath, a storyline from 2006-07, in which Doctor Strange investigates an attempted murder on his life.
If this does end up being the basis of the film, what implications does that have for the MCU Doctor Strange, our knowledge of the film, and the future of the franchise?
Before we get too far into this, here is a brief run-down of the story of The Oath.
Doctor Strange is assaulted in his home and shot through the chest. He is taken to the Night Nurse, who stitches him up and joins him on his investigations for who the shooter was an why. Wong, Strange’s partner, is dying from a brain tumor, which Strange had been attempting to cure.
The Oath itself refers to the Hippocratic Oath, which was the first Oath that Doctor Strange ever took. The storyline poses the question, “How far will Strange go to fulfill his Oath to his patients?”
If Doctor Strange is based on The Oath…
…Mads Mikkelsen will likely be playing Nicodemus West.
In the story, one of the villain characters is Nicodemus West. West was a surgeon who performed on Strange in his origin, repairing his hands. In the following years, West found his way to the Ancient One, where he also learned the ways of magic. He eventually posed himself as the villain of The Oath, as he attempts to destroy an elixir with healing capabilities.
While many have said that Mads Mikkelsen may be playing Dormammu, this comes from the assumption that the Eternity Saga (or other Dormammu-based storlines) will be the focus of the story. If the Oath is the basis, then there is really no one else that Mikkelsen would likely be playing. Frankly, if he were to play West, he would be perfect for the roll.
…The origin story could be folded within.
Because The Oath revisits the origin of Strange through the character of Nicodemus West, a retelling of Strange’s origin could very well be in order. It would be an excellent way of providing the origin without making an origin movie.
…Baron Mordo’s roll would have to be played up.
With Baron Mordo cast in the film, but not appearing in The Oath, his roll would have to be played up in the film. This could be in the form of the origin retelling (see the previous point), or in the form of a build-up for a future Mordo-villain roll.
…It would be a good way to slowly introduce magic.
Because most of the storyline takes place on Earth, as opposed to the multidimensional realms that Strange fans are accustomed to, it would be a good way of easing the audience into the realms of magic in the Marvel Universe.
…It would mean a build-up to Eternity
While in the comic timeline, Strange had his famous Eternity storyline almost immediately, using the Oath first and building up to Eternity would be an excellent way of making the series a complete set, with a very satisfying conclusion.
…It wouldn’t have to be an exact adaptation.
As seen with Iron Man 3 “adapting” the Extremis story arc, using a storyline as the basis for a film doesn’t mean panel-for-frame remaking it (sometimes it does, as in the case of Sin City, but mostly not). It could take elements from the story, the general idea, and run with it in an original way.
…It would make for a darn good movie.
The storyline is ripe for the picking. It’s a good one that would be adapted for screen very well, as well as introducing the characters in the world. I think that Doctor Strange could be one of the most important Marvel movies of Phase 3. How its handled, what it builds up towards, and basically its success are all paramount to the future of the MCU, as it breaks out into new territories.
As for all of that, however, only time will tell.
Also, if you wanted to read The Oath, I would recommend it. You could buy it on Amazon for pretty cheap.