In Doctor Strange 2, both Mordo and Agatha Harkness will be featured as villains. What could they be up to?
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is hitting theaters on May 6. On top of a plethora of comic characters making their movie debut, some mystic characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe will return, and interact with them for the first time. Namely Baron Mordo of the first Doctor Strange, and Agatha Harkness from WandaVision. What have these characters done in the comics? Is there a precedent for their interaction? Let’s find out.
Baron Mordo made his first appearance in 1963’s Strange Tales #111, by Ernie Hart, Dick Ayers and Stan Goldberg. Establishing himself as an antagonist from the start, the warlock poisons Doctor Strange’s teacher, the Ancient One. Using astral projection, he attempts to wring secrets from the Ancient One. Strange defeats him with a bluff, telling him he’ll make Mordo’s body uninhabitable, so the villain’s soul retreats back to his own body in terror.
His appearance in the movies differs heavily from his classic counterpart, but the motivations of his character more clearly defined. MCU Mordo (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor) begins as a disciple of the Ancient One, a loyal one as well. He’s repeatedly been a servant of Dormammu in the comics, but the movie’s version of Mordo works with Strange against the cosmic demon. His flaw, completely unlike the comics, is his altruism. When he learns that this universe’s version of the Ancient One once drew her power from Dormammu’s Dark Dimension, he decides that this magic has corrupted the natural balance. In a post-credits sequence, Mordo vows that the world should be purged of sorcerers.
Agatha Harkness was created in Fantastic Four #94 (by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby), introducing herself as an ally to the team. This issue marks the moment that Reed and Sue Richard choose the name Franklin for their son. Seeking help raising the child, they seek out Harkness, whom they know as an expert on the subject. Some villains attack the mansion, but Harkness disposes of them quickly with her sorcery. The Fantastic Four never see a moment of the fight.
Later stories would use Harkness as a mentor figure for Scarlet Witch. She’s been alive for centuries, even being persecuted at the Salem Witch Trials, so her expertise in chaos magic is formidable. When Mephisto absorbed Scarlet Witch’s illusionary children, Agatha wiped Wanda’s memories to save her from the pain in Avengers: West Coast #52 (by John Byrne and Bob Sharen). Despite this being an act of kindness, when Wanda discovered the truth, she murdered Harkness for deceiving her in Avengers #502 (by Brian Michael Bendis, David Finch, and Frank D’Armata).
Wandavision leaned away from Agatha’s supporting role, instead portraying her as a malevolent force. Her Salem origin is preserved, but the context differs wildly, suggesting she used magic that was forbidden even by her own coven. She tracks down Wanda into her fantasy realm, Westview, seeking to absorb the witch’s chaos magic. The plan backfires, and by the end of the series, she’s condemned to remain trapped in Westview indefinitely.
These two characters have never interacted in the comics before, so how they’ll operate together in the new film is anyone’s guess. Mordo has been changed from a dastardly villain to a fallen hero, and Harkness was changed from a misunderstood ally to child-kidnapping conspirator. Perhaps Mordo will use Harkness to track down and destroy Scarlet Witch, or perhaps he’ll merely absorb her power and leave her to die. Whatever the case, the Doctor Strange sequel is sure to be wild.
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