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NOTE: This article is about the incarnation of Dormammu from the Marvel Cinematic film series. The mainstream version can be found here: Dormammu (Marvel).
Villain Overview

You've come to die. Your world is now my world, like all worlds.
~ Dormammu welcoming Doctor Strange in the Dark Dimension.
No! Stop! Make this stop! Set me free!
~ Dormammu to Doctor Strange, having enough of his entrapment.

Dormammu is the overarching antagonist of the 2016 Marvel Cinematic Universe film Doctor Strange. A variant of him appears in What If...? as a cameo antagonist in the fourth episode "What If... Doctor Strange Lost His Heart Instead of His Hands".

He is the gigantic primordial inter-dimensional ruler of the Dark Dimension who seeks to spread his malign influence to all other worlds. He recruits the Ancient One's former apprentice Kaecilius and his Zealots by offering to bring the Dark Dimension into Earth so they can all be "immortal".

Portrayal

Dormammu was voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch in motion capture, who also played Doctor Strange in the same film, Smaug and Sauron in The Hobbit film trilogy, Khan Noonien Singh in Star Trek: Into Darkness, William Ford in 12 Years a Slave, and also voiced Shere Khan in Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle, The Grinch in the 2018 film of the same name, and Strange Supreme in What If...? It was Benedict Cumberbatch's idea to perform motion-capture for Dormammu, as he felt that the character should be an evil reflection of Doctor Strange. In-universe, Dormammu's physical resemblance to Strange is a form Dormammu assumed to mock Strange. Cumberbatch's voice whilst portrayed Dormammu was being blended with that of a British actor. Neither Cumberbatch nor the unknown actor were credited for this role. Furthermore, the producers originally intended to have Tony Todd voice Dormammu as an alternative to Cumberbatch.

History

Doctor Strange

Dormammu is a resident of the Dark Dimension, a place that exists beyond the passage of time, and wishes to merge all existing universes with it. Despite his sinister plans, a group of Zealots mistakenly believes that Dormammu should be allowed to merge Earth with the Dark Dimension, believing that this would eradicate time and death and would thus grant eternal life. The Zealots, led by Kaecilius, contact Dormammu who grants them strength through the powers of the Dark Dimension. He tasks Kaecilius with destroying the sanctums of magic in Hong Kong, London and New York to allow Dormammu to spread the Dark Dimension on Earth. Kaecilius succeeds to destroy the three Sanctums, creating a portal in Hong Kong through which Dormammu spreads the Dark Dimension on Earth.

However, Dr. Stephen Strange (a new member of the Masters of the Mystic Arts) reversed the time by the use of the Eye of Agamotto and the Infinity Stone inside it to undo the sanctum's destruction, and then flew into his dimension to negotiate with him. Dormammu immediately refused and quickly killed Strange by blasting him with energy, but to his confusion, Strange reappeared on the Dark Dimension surface, repeating himself confidently.

Perplexed, Dormammu killed Strange again, only to have him reappear again, repeating his intention. Stunned, Dormammu angrily demanded to know what was happening; the Doctor then revealed that he had used the Eye of Agamotto (containing the Time Stone) to create an infinite time loop, with them spending eternity together in an endless cycle, the only trap Dormammu could not escape from since the Dark Dimension was a place beyond time itself and therefore Dormammu had no power over it.

Eventually, Dormammu was okay with killing Doctor Strange multiple times to no avail, but then Strange points out that this technically makes him his prisoner. Upon hearing this, Dormammu gets furious and demands to be freed from the time loop and reluctantly gives in to bargain with Strange. At this point, Strange offers a deal: Dormammu must banish himself and the Zealots from the Earth forever and never return, and Strange will break the loop to return the favor. Having no other choice, Dormammu accepted the deal, turning the Zealots and Kaecilius into Mindless Ones and dragging them into the Dark Dimension forever, and kept his own word for now, sealing the portal between the dimensions. While not confirmed, it can be implied that Dormammu honored his promise to Strange and never returned to the Earth, remaining in his own realm for all eternity.

Personality

Dormammu appears to be a being of pure and utter malevolence, seemingly focused only on expanding his Dark Dimension realm and conquering all other worlds and dimensions of the Multiverse, in order to fuse them in as well. He takes utter delight in causing pain to others, evident of when he tried to kill Strange multiple times until he realized that he's stuck in a time loop.

Despite his ruthlessness, Dormammu is willing to honor those who make deals with him, as he reluctantly kept his end of the bargain with Strange by ending his assault on Earth and remaining in the Dark Dimension in order for Strange to break the time loop. However, he only did this not because he felt it was the right thing to do, but because he was forced to do so, therefore being dishonorable.

Powers and Abilities

  • Mystical Entity Physiology: Dormammu is an entity comprised of eldritch mystical energies. His position as the absolute monarch of the Dark Dimension also gives him further increased mystical power.
    • Immortality: Being beyond time itself, he is an immortal. It is unknown if he can actually be destroyed.
    • Power Bestowal: Dormammu can bestow anyone whom directly contacted him powers. Powers that Dormammu bestowed are Immortality, which allowed to live forever; Reality Warping, ability to warp and twist the landscape of area around user, without being inside of Mirror Dimension, run on walls and ceilings while completely disregarding gravity, and enhanced one' momentum to the point where he could easily send someone flying with one's attacks even while defying gravity; and Space Shard construction, ability to shape space around user into glass-like material that also can be formed into weapons. However, it comes at the terrible price that Doctor Strange later revealed: The bestowed powers would established a bond between Dormammu himself and those whom gained the said powers, allowed him to absorb them into his Dark Dimension at will, causing them to rapidly turn into decayed, fossil like figures with glowing red symbols of the Dark Dimension on their heads. He bestowed them to Kaecilius and the Zealots in order for them to challenge the strength of the Ancient One.
    • Energy Projection: Dormammu can project powerful energy blast from his mouth, these energy blast are strong enough to kill humans immediately.
  • Dimensional Lordship: Being the absolute monarch of the Dark Dimension, he has complete molecular control over the entire dimension.
    • Reality Warping: Dormammu has absolute control over the Dark Dimension, likely due to being the absolute monarch of the Dark Dimension. His potent ability to manipulate reality can be seen when he killed Doctor Strange in variety of brutal ways: Summoning Crystalline shards that either hurled from nowhere or sprouting under the sorcerer's feet to impale him, conjuring sharp stalgmites from underneath of a planetoid, and summon tendrils of energy that tore him apart.
    • Body Manifestation: Being an entity of pure energy, Dormammu actually had no definite form of his own. He counteract this by warped a portion of Dark Dimension terrains to create a body (usually in colossal size) to physically interact with his surroundings as seen in his confrontation with Strange.
    • Absolute Strength: Dormammu possesses Immeasurable levels of strength, due to his size and spatial warping abilities; shown when he manifested a massive hand to crush Dr. Strange as if he were a mere insect.

Relationships

Family

  • Clea - Niece

Allies

  • Zealots - Disciples turned Victims
  • Mindless Ones - Servants

Enemies

  • Masters of the Mystic Arts
    • Agamotto †
    • Ancient One †
    • Doctor Strange - Attempted Victim
    • Wong
  • Karl Mordo

Trivia

  • Rather than being wreathed in flame like in the comics, Dormammu appears to be a being of pure shadow and darkness but with bright purple eyes, although he does appear to have red "shadows" surrounding his entire body - this may in fact represent the "flames".
  • Dormammu was going to make a cameo in Avengers: Endgame, where the Ancient One demonstrates what would happen if the Infinity Stones were to be removed from her reality.
  • While he doesn't win, Dormammu is one of the few villains in the MCU to not have a punishment or be stopped, as Stephen's deal was that he just stay away from Earth but otherwise he is free to keep conquering worlds from being too powerful to permanently defeat.

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