Doctor Strange is shaping up to be a great movie, but it hints a new direction for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Yes, the film sets up Baron Mordo as a villain, and Dormammu makes an appearance. According to Comicbook.com, there is a more subtle nod to yet another Marvel character.
During Stephen Strange’s training, he learns about mystical items. At one point, Baron Mordo teaches him about weaponry. One such item is his weapon, which he calls “The Staff of the Living Tribunal.” It may look like a wooden staff, but there is more than meets the eye.
Although the film doesn’t elaborate, the Living Tribunal is a big deal in Marvel lore. He serves as the guardian of alternate realities. His biggest role is in the Infinity Gauntlet storyline, during which Thanos attempts to become a god. As the story unfolds, the Tribunal decides to split up the Infinity Gems for safety reasons.
The character’s existence could hint at a future appearance in the movies. We know Thanos will be the villain in Avengers: Infinity War. Assuming the movie follows the comic, the Living Tribunal could play a role in the plot. If not, it is quite possible the character could show up later on in Phase Three.