What’s Baron Mordo Up To In ‘Doctor Strange’? A Short History Of The Sorcerer Supreme’s Arch-Nemesis

And so, Captain America: Civil War has been and gone. Well, it’s not gone yet but it’s certainly been. And so we look forward to the next item on the Phase 3 slate of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the mind-bending, the mystical, the magnificent Doctor Strange, which is set to turn the MCU on its head with the introduction of dimension-hopping mysticisms.

Whilst we’re on the subject, how about that trailer? It was so good, we’re gonna watch it again, feel free to join us. And you can click over here for our breakdown of the trailer too.

Alright, so there’s still a lot of questions needing answered about this, the big one being: who the heck is Mads Mikkelsen playing? He doesn’t really bear that much of a resemblance to any of Doctor Strange’s major villains, though it looks like he might be a powerful dark magic user of some kind.

But in amongst all the mystery and speculation over Mikkelsen, it’s easy to forget the one very recognisable villain of the piece — the formidable Baron Mordo, who is portrayed in Doctor Strange by Oscar nominated actor Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Chiwetel Ejiofor is Baron Mordo (Marvel/Disney)

Chiwetel Ejiofor is Baron Mordo (Marvel/Disney)

The Origins Of Baron Mordo

Like Doctor Strange, the Romanian-born Baron Mordo was a student of the Ancient One, already well versed in the mystic arts by the time the nerve-damaged arrogant Strange showed up in Tibet.

Baron Mordo casts a spell against the Ancient One (Marvel Comics)

Baron Mordo casts a spell against the Ancient One (Marvel Comics)

Mordo took an immediate dislike to Strange due to the newcomer’s dismissive attitude and haughty manner, and also the little fact that he discovered Mordo was secretly plotting to do away with the Ancient One and succeed him as the powerful Sorcerer Supreme.

When Strange discovered his plotting Mordo bound him with a spell to stop him telling the Ancient One, and it was in order to gain the power to defeat Mordo and save the Ancient One that Strange stuck around in the first place.

Strange asks to study under the Ancient One (Marvel Comics)

Strange asks to study under the Ancient One (Marvel Comics)

When he agrees to stay and study with the Ancient One, his mentor reveals that he always knew of Mordo’s machinations and releases Strange from the spell he was bound under. Turns out he just kept Mordo around to keep an eye on him, as he thought the Baron too dangerous to be allowed to roam freely. That’s just how the Ancient One rolls.

The early-days Baron Mordo isn’t the most imaginative of villains, he spends most of his time trying to trick Strange into leaving his body in his ectoplasmic form so he can battle or attempt to trap him on the astral plane. He’s got a simple motivation too — to defeat Strange and the Ancient One so he can be the strongest sorcerer in the world.

Spirit forms: for when you can't be arsed coloring the characters (Marvel Comics)

Spirit forms: for when you can’t be arsed coloring the characters (Marvel Comics)

The Doctor Strange Baron Mordo

We didn’t see very much of Chiwetel Ejiofor in the trailer, with Baron Mordo only appearing in a few shots. We do see that the green-clad villain is present at the Ancient One’s Tibetan sanctuary though, which follows the comic book origins pretty closely as he’s presumably there as a student of the Ancient One at that time.

But then we see Mordo standing in what could be Chinatown, New York — since New York is where Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum is based — looking broody and not really saying all that much. But people are running around him in a panic, so presumably something is going down.

Whatever he’s up to, it’s pretty likely that it’s connected to Mads Mikkelsen’s plot, as Marvel Studios’ President Kevin Feige referred to Mikkelsen as the main villain and described him thusly (via Cinema Blend):

“Mads’ character is a sorcerer who breaks off into his own sect. [He] believes that the Ancient One is just protecting her own power base and that the world may be better off if we were to allow some of these other things through.”

So the most likely explanation for Mordo’s presence as the secondary villain in the piece is that he’s teaming up with Mikkelsen’s antagonist to assist him in his plan to usurp the Ancient One.

It’s also possible that the as-yet unnamed villain could also have been a trainee of the Ancient One in the past, perhaps a former friend or ally of Mordo. We can speculate upon this fact from looking closer at the symbol burned into Mikkelsen’s character’s forehead, one that looks awfully like the Seal of Vishanti — the Vishanti being the deities from which Strange and the Ancient One draw their powers.

The Seal of the Vishanti appears also in the Sanctum Sanctorum skylight design (Marvel/Disney)

The Seal of the Vishanti appears also in the Sanctum Sanctorum skylight design (Marvel/Disney)

But whilst Mikkelsen’s villain seeks to restore what he believes to be a balance between the human world and that of the mystical, Mordo’s motivations are likely more selfish, and similar to that of his comic book counterpart — to succeed his mentor and his rival as the ultimate master of black magic.

As to his means for attempting to do so, we’ll find out when Doctor Strange hits theaters later this year, with the mystical blockbuster set to land November 4, 2016.

What do you think Baron Mordo’s plot is in Doctor Strange? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

Katie Granger

Katie Granger

MP Staff Writer. Superheroes, comic books, Marvel and DC, film, sci-fi, video games. #TeamCap.