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We never lose our demons, Mordo. We only learn to live above them.
~ The Ancient One to Karl Mordo.
We don't get to choose our time. Death is what gives life meaning. To know your days are numbered and your time is short. You'd think after all this time I'd be ready. But look at me. Stretching one moment out into a thousand... just so that I can watch the snow.
~ The Ancient One to Doctor Strange.

The Ancient One is the overarching protagonist of the 2016 movie, Doctor Strange, and a minor character in Avengers: Endgame.

She was the Sorcerer Supreme and the leader of the Masters of the Mystic Arts, who mentored Doctor Strange in the use of magic following his car accident.

She is portrayed by Tilda Swinton.

Biography

Background

The Ancient One's past remains a mystery, as Karl Mordo notes that no one knows her age but that she is of Celtic origin. She comes from a lineage of sorcerers who were dedicated to defending the world from mystical threats, and maintaining the natural law of the world. Once she was given the title of sorcerer supreme, the Ancient One would teach anyone who would travel to Kamar-Taj, and they would become her disciples. Believing that the world needed to be protected from dangerous threats, the Ancient One would harness energy from the dark dimension to live for centuries. By modern day, the Ancient One learned of Doctor Stephen Strange, knowing that he would become her successor and believed that he would be one of the best sorcerers of the millennia.

In 2012, when the mad Titan Thanos tasked the Norse god Loki with invading Earth, he also intended for his minion to obtain the Infinity Stones to wipe half of the universe. Knowing that the time stone was in danger of being taken, the Ancient One protected the New York Sanctum from the Chitauri. The threat was stopped by the avengers, who managed to destroy the Chitauri's command center and apprehend Loki. The Ancient One continued to help her students live and go beyond their demons, but failed with one named Kaecilius, who decided to get energy from the dark dimension to obtain immortality. Though she had forbidden this, Kaecilius learned that she was harnessing energy from the dimension, and decided to leave the mystic arts with his followers. She would battle her former disciples, but failed to defeat Kaecilius, as he escaped to another location.

Doctor Strange

Stephen Strange arrived to Kamar-Taj with Karl Mordo, and the Ancient One managed to convince the skeptic that magic was real. Despite him begging to be taught how to use it, the Ancient One denied him, as he reminded her of Kaecilius with his arrogance and persistence. However, she would go back on her word after being convinced by Mordo, and she decided to teach him how to harness eldritch magic alongside Karl. During his training, Kaecilius and the Zealots arrived to the temple, and after they were briefly subdued, Strange accused her of drawing power from the dark dimension. She denied his accusations, but the truth was revealed by Kaecilius in New York's mirror dimension in front of both Strange and Mordo. The Ancient One then attempted to stop Kaecilius, but was mortally wounded by him before falling to the Earthly plane.

Despite her injuries, Strange decided to take her to Metro General Hospital and have her receive medical attention from Christine Palmer and Nicodemus West. Before dying, the Ancient One left her body into the astral world to speak with Strange, where she revealed that she knew when she would die and that she hated drawing power from the dark dimension. She then explained that she did so because sometimes to bend the rules, and that Strange understands that. The Ancient One also advised him to work with Mordo to stop Dormammu, and vanished from the astral plane. Strange would heed her final words, and managed to stop Dormammu by making a bargain to leave Earth alone and to take the Zealots with him.

Legacy

After Dormammu was stopped, Doctor Strange was given the title of "sorcerer supreme", and continued to serve the mystic arts to protect the world from threats. However, the Ancient One's actions also had a negative effect on Mordo, who became disillusioned with her cause after she harness magic from the dark dimension, and Strange abusing the Eye of Agamotto when dealing with Dormammu. As a result, Mordo would start to travel across the world to eliminate sorcerers who were abusing their powers.

Avengers: Endgame

In order to reverse the Decimation, the surviving Avengers went back in time to retrieve the Infinity Stones. Bruce Banner, Steve Rogers, Tony Stark and Scott Lang traveled back in time to the Battle of New York in 2012 to retrieve the Space, Mind and Time Stones. Banner sought the Time Stone and met the 2012 Ancient One.

Personality

I know that she is steadfast, but unpredictable; merciless, yet kind.
~ Karl Mordo

According to Karl Mordo, the Ancient One is "steadfast, but unpredictable; merciless, yet kind." This is shown when she was willing to kill multiple Zealots in combat and initially refuse to help Stephen Strange when he first came to Kamar-Taj due to his arrogance, though she did so for the sake of protecting the world from the rogue sorcerers and to ensure that other sorcerers did not become like Kaecilius and his followers.

While she enforced rules on the Masters of the Mystic Arts against breaking the laws of nature or using their power for god-like feats, such as manipulating time or becoming immune of death, she was willing to break her own rules to continue to personally ensure that they were followed and that the world was safe, though she never wanted to do so.

This lead her to draw power from the Dark Dimension to become immortal, an act which she herself forbade. Since Doctor Strange was similar to her in her breaking the laws of nature to save the world, she believed that he and Mordo, the latter of which was completely devoted to following her rules, would need to balance each other out in order for them to protect the world when she died.

Powers & Abilities

  • Master Sorcereress: As the Sorcerer Supreme and the leader of the Masters of the Mystic Arts, the Ancient One was the most powerful member of the order, possessing tremendously mastery and knowledge of the mystic arts, which she uses to defend his native reality. Having successfully prevented countless threats during her long life, the Ancient One's immense power and mastery of the mystic arts was very well known throughout the Multiverse, such that her presence on Earth was sufficient to keep many threats from the other dimensions from invading.
    • Eldritch Magic Manipulation: Ancient One was able to create, shape and manipulate Eldritch Magic into weapons, shields or spells.
    • Teleportation: Using a Sling Ring, the Ancient One was able to open a fiery portal to another location, gaining ability to move tremendous distances instantaneously.
      • Interdimensional Travel: Ancient One was capable of traveling from the Mirror Dimension to Earth. Additionally, she was able to project Strange's consciousness across various dimension's of the Multiverse.
    • Astral Projection: Ancient One was capable of separating her astral form from her body and accessing the Astral Dimension. She notably pushed out Stephen Strange's astral form from his body and later communed with him in the Astral Plane in her final moments. When an alternate version of her interacted with Bruce Banner, she was able to project his astral form from his body and interact freely with him without separating from her physical body.
    • Chronokinesis: Using the Eye of Agamotto, the Ancient One was able to control the flow of time, be it on a small or massive scale, she was known to be able to use the Eye to gain a limited power to peer through time. Within the Astral Plane, she was able to slow time around her to a crawl so she could watch the snow fall before her death.
    • Telekinesis: The Ancient One was able to influence objects and people with mere gestures. In the 2012 Time Heist, the alternate Ancient One moved the body of Hulk towards Bruce Banner's astral form to return it to his body. While using this ability, a golden mist appeared around the object she was influencing.
    • Immortality: Ancient One draws power from the Dark Dimension to fuel her ageless life. However, she can still be mortally wounded.
    • Reality Warping: Ancient One's connection to the Dark Dimension allowed her to warp space in the Mirror Dimension. It was unknown if she could achieve this feat on Earth like Kaecilius could, but it was likely that she can due to her being more powerful than him. Ancient One also displayed being able to counter a shockwave from Kaecilius's warping of reality and even repel Kaecilius also by slamming her hand to the ground and summoning a shockwave of her own.

Gallery

Images

Trivia

  • Unlike previous incarnations, the Marvel Cinematic Universe's version of the Ancient One is female instead of male.

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