'Doctor Strange' Director Explains Why the Archnemesis Starts Off as an Ally

"I felt that we had to start by establishing who he was before he got into that arch villainy in the comics," Scott Derrickson says about Baron Mordo.
Courtesy of YouTube/ Marvel Entertainment

Longtime Doctor Strange fans were surprised to learn that the movie version of Baron Mordo, the character played by Chiwetel Ejiofor in November's big-screen adaptation, looked somewhat different from his comic book incarnation — and not because Ejiofor is a black actor playing a traditionally white character.

"It was a difficult character, [a] very difficult character to adapt because of the very basic archness that he plays all the way through there," director Scott Derrickson told ComicBook.com about creating the on-screen Mordo.

The villain is one of the longest-lived Doctor Strange bad guys, debuting just one issue after the hero, in 1963's Strange Tales No. 111. In that story — helpfully titled "Face-to-Face with the Magic of Baron Mordo!" — Mordo appears as a fellow student of Doctor Strange's mentor "The Master," who describes Strange as "his arch-foe" with no explanation why.

"I felt that we had to start by establishing who he was before he got into that arch villainy in the comics," Derrickson explained. "That's a lot of what we're doing in this movie."

Don't worry, though; the director suggested that even the cinematic Mordo would end up causing mischief before too long.

"We're sort of building a foundational understanding of who he was before the guy that you met in that comic, so that that turn isn't an arch turn," he said.

Well, now we have our villain for a potential Doctor Strange 2, it seems…

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