The folks at Marvel Studios have always taken influence from and used certain elements of the story arcs showcased in the source material, but we’ve yet to see anything close to a direct adaptation, and some major character and plot alterations are to be expected in all of their films. However, this year’s Doctor Strange will see arguably the biggest change to an established Marvel Comics character yet in Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Mordo.
In the comics, Baron Karl Mordo does start out as a disciple of The Ancient One, but is exiled after his plot to murder his mentor is foiled by Steven Strange. The two become bitter enemies after this, but the movie version of Mordo is going to be a loyal ally of both The Ancient One and the Sorcerer Supreme.
Kevin Feige explained the decision to make Mordo a more noble character in Doctor Strange during an interview with Newsarama, and also seemed to dismiss any theories that fans may have about a final act betrayal.
[Mordo] is Strange’s advocate in the beginning of the movie. The Ancient One doesn’t necessarily see the potential in Strange that Mordo does, and Mordo is the one who talks the Ancient One into allowing him in. And for this film, he is a partner of Strange, and he is a mentor to Strange. You know that was something we wanted to play against in the comics. Because in the comics for as unbelievably creative and full of imagination as they are – we are desperate to recreate in cinematic form – there’s some things that are too obvious for modern day audiences. The jealous rival named Baron von Mordo, who turns against him when he shows any signs of talent – we specifically didn’t want to do that.
Feige’s comments here are interesting, but they do seem to leave the door open for Mordo to break bad at some point – could the demonic Dormammu facilitate his corruption, perhaps? Feige doesn’t say, but he does name-drop the fiery villain when discussing the various different realities the characters will visit in the film.
What we’re playing with in this world is that there are dimensions. That the other dimensions are not just parallel realities -although some of them are – but [there is the] Dark Dimension, where Dormammu inhabits. There are dimensions that are so mind-bending that you can barely perceive them.
Whether or not Mordo does switch sides, I’d say Dormammu’s introduction in the inevitable Doctor Strange sequel is almost a certainty, don’t you think?