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The world is not what it ought to be. Humanity longs for the eternal, for a world beyond time, because time is what enslaves us. Time is an insult. Death is an insult. Doctor, we don't seek to rule this world... We seek to save it.
~ Kaecilius to Doctor Strange about what he wants to do with the Earth.

Kaecilius is the main antagonist of the 2016 Marvel Cinematic Universe film Doctor Strange.

He is a dark and powerful sorcerer, who was a member of the Masters of the Mystic Arts, but became corrupted and vile. Kaecilius is based on a servant of the villainous Baron Mordo from the Dr. Strange comic books, but in the film, he takes center stage as the powerful nemesis of Dr. Stephen Strange. Kaecilius was created by the late Stan Lee and the late Steve Ditko.

He was portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen, who also played Le Chiffre in Casino Royale, Chick Hicks in the Danish version of Cars, Captain Rochefort in The Three Musketeers, Randall Boggs in the Danish version of Monster's Inc, Hannibal Lecter in the television series Hannibal and David Prentiss in Chaos Walking, Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore.

Marvel's Doctor Strange

Early Life and Becoming a Sorcerer

Time is unmerciful... I knew before the doctor even set foot in that room that you were lost to me, just as our son was lost to us, and you were going to be joined together in a place I could not follow. I failed you both...
~ Kaecilius to his deceased wife and son.

As told by Mordo and revealed in prequel comics for the movie, Kaecilius was once a contented husband and father who lived a happy life in Copenhagen with his wife Adria, despite having to deal with the death of their son under unexplained circumstances. One day, while they were ambling near the Nyhavn Canal, Adria was struck with a terrible illness which took hold of her. Despite Kaecilius' best efforts, he could not save her and lost his wife, a loss which broke his heart and led him to desperately seek out some kind of understanding of why. This eventually led Karl Mordo to guide him in his travel to the mountains of Tibet to be trained to overcome his grief by the powerful Sorcerer Supreme known as the Ancient One who trained him in the art of magic. Kaecilius quickly proved to be the Ancient One's most brilliant student and she intended to confer the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme upon him but Kaecilius was proud, stubborn and lusted after power.

At one point during his training, Kaecilius also involved in the fight between his fellow sorcerers of Masters of Mystic Arts and the Witch over a powerful relic called Dark Specter, the fight that he and his allies won before resumed their training.

Becoming Corrupted and Serving Dormammu

When he discovered that the Ancient One was channeling energy from the Dark Dimension to keep herself alive, he abandoned her tutelage, stealing pages from her spellbook and turning instead to the service of the Dread Dormammu, an evil being who exists in the Dark Dimension and seeks to enslave all of creation, in particular the Planet Earth. Believing Dormammu to be a benevolent spirit, Kaecilius sought to release the being into our universe, thinking that all death would end and humans would become immortal. Kaecilius most likely believed that he would be reunited with his wife and child when all worlds became part of the Dark Dimension and time and death were destroyed. In actuality, although Dormammu did have the power to offer immortality, the immortality he offered would be a Hell rather than the paradise Kaecilius imagined it to be but the dark sorcerer was too blinded by inconsolable rage and wishful thinking to realize or acknowledge this.

Fighting Strange

Kaecilius fought the Ancient One's new apprentice, Dr. Stephen Strange for possession of the Ancient One's spellbook. Despite Kaecilius' superior experience and skill, Strange was able to subdue and trap him in a magical suit of armor. Kaecilius told Strange that he was a fool for serving the Ancient One, describing her as an unjust oppressor and himself as the world's true savior, stating that the Ancient One kept all power for herself and despite describing the Dark Dimension as a realm of pure evil, drew on power from it for herself whilst forbidding her disciples. Kaecilius escapes from his suit of armor but is forced to flee along with his acolytes when the Ancient One arrives along with her students Wong and Baron Mordo, forcing them into a retreat. Kaecilius ultimately wounds the Ancient One fatally and takes possession of her spellbook in order to empower the Zealots.

The Final Showdown and Imprisonment

Kaecilius (Mindless One).png

Kaecilius then used the book's power to open a portal to the Dark Dimension for Dormammu to pass through but Dr. Strange passes through the portal, bringing time from our dimension and into the dark one where he confronts Dormammu, trapping the two of them in an endless time loop in which the two are doomed to relive the same moment for eternity. Strange offers to release the two of them from the spell on the one condition that Dormammu leaves Earth in peace forever and takes his worshipers with him. Dormammu reluctantly agrees and Strange releases him. Kaecilius and his zealots are dragged through the portal as Dormammu turns away from the Earth, their bodies disintegrating as they pass into the world they wanted, presumably to suffer for eternity.

Powers and Abilities

Kaecilius is an extremely powerful sorcerer, able to fight Dr. Strange and even the Ancient One on equal footing. He draws on power from the Dark Dimension which corrupts its user and has caused his face to develop large dark stains surrounding his eyes, but augments the abilities of its user to frightening proportions. Kaecilius is also extremely intelligent, able to understand complex spells and formulate strategies and plans. His power and intelligence caused the Ancient One to regard him as a potential successor but he turned away from her when she refused to share all of her knowledge. In addition to his intellect and magical abilities, Kaecilius is a truly formidable and vicious hand-to-hand combatant able to wield a variety of magical and mundane weapons with prodigious skill.

Personality

Kaecilius is driven by blinding rage and despair over the loss of his family whose deaths he has never fully come to terms with. Unlike Strange, he is unable to countenance that personal tragedy is a natural part of life and as such he views death itself as an injustice. Although not obsessed with himself, he is arrogant and prideful, suffering from a deeply entrenched Messianic complex that drives him to release Dormammu from the Dark Dimension, believing that this will bring mankind to the natural culmination of its evolution by extinguishing death. His megalomaniac plans for apotheosis are predominantly driven by a wishful desire to see his wife and family again.

In spite of his intelligent and philosophical nature, Kaecilius suffers from magical thinking, being selectively oblivious to the evil of Dormammu and choosing instead to see the Ancient One as an unjust oppressor for not sharing her knowledge and power with her students or more specifically him. He believes that he is a good man on a quest not to rule the world but to save it but his sheer ruthlessness and disregard for human life shows the hypocrisy of his delusion of heroism. He regards the lives of the innocent people he slays as insignificant next to the achievement of his mission.

So stubborn and proud is Kaecilius that he refuses to entertain the idea that anyone but him could possibly be right. Nevertheless, while cruel and ruthless, Kaecilius is not really sadistic, taking no pleasure from hurting or killing anyone but being willing to do so in the pursuit of his goals. Despite being driven by anger, bitterness and grief, Kaecilius always maintains great dignity and emotional composure, even in his final moments before banishment. He is a cultured warrior philosopher who speaks politely to his opponents and is possessed of a bitingly dry sense of humor, sometimes making wry witticisms even in the heat of battle.

Relationships

Family

  • Adria † - Wife
  • Son †

Allies

  • Zealots - Subordinates
    • Lucian
    • Blonde Zealot
    • Brunette Zealot
    • Tall Zealot † - Follower turned Victim
  • Dormammu - Master

Enemies

  • Masters of the Mystic Arts - Former Colleagues
    • Ancient One † - Master turned Victim
    • Karl Mordo
    • Daniel Drumm † - Victim
    • Sol Rama
    • Tina Minoru
    • Wong - Attempted Victim
    • Stephen Strange - Attempted Victim
    • Kamar-Taj Librarian † - Victim
  • Witch
  • Nervous Zealot † - Follower turned Victim
  • Preist † - Victim

Gallery

Trivia

  • Kaecilius is essentially a dark mirror image of Stephen Strange, sharing the nihilistic and Lovecraftian belief in humankind as "meaningless specks of time" that Strange possessed before his journey of self-discovery, the difference being that Strange overcame his childlike belief that the universe revolved around him. Kaecilius represents the man Strange could have become if he had allowed his feelings to rule his life.
  • In the comic books of Doctor Strange, Kaecilius was a mere servant of Baron Mordo whereas in Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise, he is the main villain with Dormammu as the even Bigger Bad. According to his actor Mads Mikkelsen, MCU's incarnation of Kaecilius is a combination of different antagonists in Doctor Strange comics, Baron Mordo included. This explained why the character's personality draws on aspects of Mordo in the comic, being a former student of the Ancient One who turned to the path of evil and served Dormammu, becoming a rival to Stephen Strange in the process.
    • Kaecilius' adaptation as main villain in MCU with characteristics drawn from antagonists who faced Strange in comics also reason why MCU's incarnation of Mordo (who in this franchise better known as Karl Mordo) who turned evil like his comic book counterparts by the end of the film given different course of character development into villain: Rather than betraying Ancient One out of power hunger and jealousy with Doctor Strange, Mordo become evil due to his inability to understanding Ancient One and Strange's willingness to resort to breaking natural law to do what was right.
  • As it was revealed that Mads Mikkelsen is portraying the villain in the film, it was rumored that he is portraying Dormammu. But, this rumor was ultimately denied as it was revealed to be that Mikkelsen portrays Kaecilius, who becomes a servant of Dormammu.
  • Mads Mikkelsen is the third Hannibal actor to portray a Marvel character.
    • The first was Brian Cox who portrayed the villainous William Stryker.
    • The second was Anthony Hopkins who portrayed Odin in the Thor films which also takes part in the MCU.

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Doctor Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme: Dormammu | Baron Mordo
Doctor Strange (2016): Zealots (Kaecilius & Lucian Aster) | Karl Mordo | Dormammu
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: Scarlet Witch | Karl Mordo | Sinister Strange | Ribbon Demon | Gargantos | Chthon

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