- "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
Kaecilius is a sorcerer and a former member of the Masters of the Mystic Arts who became disillusioned with the Ancient One when he felt his mentor was not allowing other dimensions to come to Earth, which he believed could then reunite him with his deceased wife and son. He formed the Zealots with the intention of defeating the Ancient One and bringing the inter-dimensional being known as Dormammu to Earth, but was challenged by his former allies as well as Doctor Strange. He was defeated and became part of the Dark Dimension for all eternity, giving him the immortality that he had desired, but at a horrific cost that he had refused to understand.
Losing His Wife
- "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 Adria
Kaecilius and his wife Adria lived a happy life in Copenhagen, despite having to deal with the death of their son. One day, while they were ambling near the Nyhavn Canal, Adria was struck with a terrible illness which took ahold 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 introduce him to the Ancient One, who promised to help him find answers when he joined the Masters of the Mystic Arts and trained under her leadership.
Retrieving the Dark Scepter
Through 20 years of training with the Ancient One, Kaecilius became a trusted member of the Masters. When the Dark Scepter was stolen by a Witch in London, Kaecilius joined Wong, Daniel Drumm and Master Minoru in tracking it down. Engaging in a brief battle with the witch, Kaecilius and his allies were soon able to defeat her and retook the Scepter from the thief before returning to Kamar-Taj to continue their training.
Disillusion with the Ancient One
Despite everything, Kaecilius became more disillusioned and began feeling that the Ancient One had failed in her promise to help him find meaning to his wife and son's tragic deaths or found a way to bring them back together. Becoming angrier by this, Kaecilius formed the Zealots and rebelled against his allies, aiming to find their own meaning within the Mystic Arts that the Ancient One was hiding from them.
- "Master Kaecilius, that ritual will bring you only sorrow."
- ―Ancient One to Kaecilius
Kaecilius had heard of the Dark Dimension as a place without time where he and the Zealots would be immortal. He knew that the Ancient One herself drew power from the Dimension and believed her to be a hypocrite as she forbade others from doing the same. One night, Kaecilius and the Zealots went to the Kamar-Taj where they strung up the librarian and Kaecilius used his Scythe Daggers to behead him, dropping the librarian's severed head into a bucket underneath him.
Without alerting the other Masters of the Mystic Arts, Kaecilius and the Zealots moved through the library with the intent of stealing a spell to bring Dormammu to Earth. The Zealots soon found what they were looking before as they stole one of the pages from the Book of Cagliostro which held the spell which would allow them to complete their own plans to summon the Dark Dimension to Earth. Before they could leave Kamar-Taj, however, the Ancient One herself appeared, warning that whatever plan Kaecilius now had to make a deal with Dormammu, would bring him and his followers nothing but pain and sorrow, while Kaecilius readied both of his daggers.
Knowing the power of the Sorcerer Supreme, instead of fighting her, Kaecilius then fled with his followers to a portal which took them into the London Sanctum where they ran down the streets hoping to get away from the Ancient One. However, the Ancient One managed to corner the group before she dragged them into the Mirror Dimension, ensuring that nobody outside was hurt and making it harder for them to escape. As the Ancient One used power from the Dark Dimension to manipulate the world, Kaecilius called her a hypocrite.
The Ancient One used her Dark Dimension abilities to wrap the reality around them, twisting the buildings to give herself an advantage as she used her superior skills to fight several of his followers using just her spells and Tao Mandalas on the side of a London building. While many of them were now being defeated at the hands of the Sorcerer Supreme despite their efforts, Kaecilius accepted that he would not win the fight as decided to change his own battle tactics.
While many of his Zealots were being killed in the Mirror Dimension by the Ancient One as she turned the entire building onto its side, forcing them to hold on for dear life, Kaecilius focused on getting away. Instead of continuing to fight, Kaecilius used his Sling Ring to create a portal which Lucian Aster and the other remaining Zealots jumped through to escape still with the book pages, leaving the Ancient One behind and unaware of where they had all escaped to.
Having now obtained the Book of Cagliostro's vital pages, Kaecilius gathered together the surviving Zealots in order to read the page and contact Dormammu. Arriving at an old abandoned church, Kaecilius was questioned by one of the Zealots over what would happen if their plan did not work, although Kaecilius just insisted that it would as he had complete faith, while the Zealot noted that he may have deciphered the ancient and complex spell incorrectly.
Kaecilius then noted that if he was wrong then they would all then eventually die painful and natural deaths on Earth, but he once again insisted he believed Dormammu would be listening to them as he wished to return. Kaecilius began the ritual, summoning Dormammu, with the Zealots then gaining power from the Dark Dimension which showed themselves by burning symbols painfully into their foreheads as the Zealots repeated all of the words speaking together.
With the ritual complete, Kaecilius saw that Lucian Aster and the others had gained the burnt symbol onto his head, with the only Zealot without being the one who had questioned him earlier, proving that his faith in both Kaecilius and Dormammu was not strong enough. Unwilling to have a single follower who was not devoted to their own faith, Kaecilius told him that his death would not be natural before summoning a blade and cutting down the Zealot.
Eventually, Kaecilius managed to decipher the spell and used it to empower himself and all the Zealots, summoning some of the power from the Dark Dimension which increased their abilities and gave them unparalleled control while inside the Mirror Dimension. In order to unleash the new spell, Kaecilius found a church he had deemed suitable for their own upcoming ritual. Upon arriving inside, Kaecilius politely spoke to a Priest about the afterlife while all of his Zealots surrounded him, with Kaecilius promising to prove the afterlife was false by killing the priest by summoning a blade and violently cutting him down.
With the priest now dead, having been cut down by Kaecilius' blade which he summoned, the Zealots gathered together in a circle around the stolen page from the Book of Cagliostro as Kaecilius began to read the words contained in the pages which the Ancient One had hidden. The process turned the skin around their eyes dark purple and outlined silver and cracked while Kaecilius was given visions of Dormammu and the Dark Dimension.
Overflowing with these newly found abilities, Kaecilius began to use the power to manipulate the world around him, proving that he could affect the real world in the same way that the Ancient One could only affect the Mirror Dimension, making him even more powerful than his former teacher. Kaecilius and his Zealots then left the church in order to finally defeat the Masters of the Mystic Arts and then destroy the Sanctums in order to allow Dormammu to finally come to Earth and free them of the curse of time and pain as they desired.
Attacking the Sanctums
Kaecilius and the Zealots attacked the London Sanctum, battling and eventually killing its protector, Sol Rama who had just attempted to escape through the portal back to Kamar-Taj. As both Karl Mordo and Wong watched on in horror, Kaecilius and the Zealots caused a massive explosion which destroyed the entire Sanctum and ripped through Kamar-Taj.
With the first part of their scheme completed, the Zealots next went to the New York Sanctum where Kaecilius manipulated the world around him to gain access to the building. Once inside, they were challenged by Daniel Drumm, the Protector of the Sanctum. Kaecilius greeted his former ally, telling him that his role as the Protector only meant that he would die soon. They did battle and the Zealots soon overpowered Drumm, as Kaecilius mortally wounding him.
Before Kaecilius could deliver the final blow and kill Drumm, he was confronted by Doctor Strange who was watching the conflict. Not recognizing Strange, Kaecilius questioned how long he had been at Kamar-Taj, only to mistakenly assume Strange's name was Mister Doctor and when Strange noted his surname was Strange, Kaecilius agreed that it was indeed an odd name. Kaecilius then killed Drumm before charging forward to kill his latest enemy.
Kaecilius and the Zealots attacked Strange who summoned a whip made of pure energy to block their blades and attacks, however as Strange was outnumbered, he made an attempt to escape from the Zealots. Kaecilius used his new abilities to prevent Strange from running away by manipulating the hallways, twisting them around which caused Strange to be thrown painfully from wall to wall while Kaecilius was unaffected by all of the movements.
Once Strange stranded Lucian Aster and the Blonde Zealot in different locations by using the Rotunda of Gateways, Kaecilius attacked Strange himself and exchanged blows before Strange attempted to get away. Reaching the main room of the Sanctum, Kaecilius quickly caught up with Strange only to be threatened with the Brazier of Bom'Galiath which unnerved him until Kaecilius realized that Strange did not even know what he was currently holding.
As Kaecilius gained his upper hand in their battle, he eventually then began throwing Strange through several glass cabinets, which had subdued Strange for a short time. Just as Kaecilius was about to kill Strange, the sentient Cloak of Levitation intervened and blocked the attack before it fought back against Kaecilius. Kaecilius then threw Strange aside and managed to kick his enemy over the edge of the stairway, with the Cloak then following him down.
Much to Kaecilius' shock, however, the Cloak of Levitation was able to catch Strange and lifted him back onto the battle, as he created an energy whip which Kaecilius managed to block. They then continued their fight, as Strange managed to knock Kaecilius away as he then searched for a weapon. While Kaecilius was distracted, the Cloak of Levitation convinced Strange to lock Kaecilius in the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak, finally ending their long and brutal fight.
Confession to Strange
- "People think in terms of good and evil, but really, time is the true enemy of us all. Time kills everything."
"What about the people you killed?"
"Tiny momentary specks within an indifferent universe."
- ―Kaecilius and Doctor Strange
Thus entangled by the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak, Kaecilius was unable to move but once he had convinced Doctor Strange to take off the mouthpiece, he began to explain his beliefs to Strange. Kaecilius told Strange that he desired to merge the Earth with the Dark Dimension to ensure that everyone on the planet was granted eternal life of peace promised by Dormammu. When Strange questioned this, noting the people Kaecilius had killed, he claimed they were all just worthy sacrifices for the Zealots' cause.
While claiming that time and death was their true enemy, Kaecilius also explained how the Ancient One drew her power from the Dark Dimension using the spells from the Book of Cagliostro. As Strange commented on his disfigured face, Kaecilius laughed as he noted that Strange did not have his Sling Ring before Lucian Aster arrived and stabbed Strange through the chest. While Strange was attempting to escape from Aster, Kaecilius managed to escape.
Freed, Kaecilius tried to attack the Sanctum Sanctorum once again, however just before he could cause the explosion, Doctor Strange trapped him inside the Mirror Dimension where they could not harm the real world. However while Strange stole his Sling Ring, Kaecilius revealed the Dimension actually enhanced his abilities and he used them to change all the gravity within the Dimension.
Joined by his Zealots, Kaecilius chased after the Masters of the Mystic Arts throughout New York City, twisting the landscape to ensure that they could not escape through a Sling Ring portal and trying to make them fall to their deaths. Despite his best efforts, Kaecilius saw his enemies were still able to counter the distorted physics, Strange with the Cloak of Levitation and Mordo with his Vaulting Boots of Valtorr to survive Kaecilius' attacks.
Eventually, Kaecilius managed to separate Strange and Karl Mordo, leaving Mordo to be chased by his Zealots, while Kaecilius gave chase to Strange, using all the of changing the landscape to his advantage he managed to get ahead of his enemy and pinned him to the ground with great force. With Strange now defenseless, Kaecilius reclaimed his Sling Ring and summoned another Space Shard as he prepared to stab Strange once and for all.
Kaecilius almost killed Strange, however just before he could deliver the final blow, the Mirror Dimension was changed all around him, dragging Strange to safety and trapping them all in a battle arena. As Kaecilius looked around, he saw the arrival of the Ancient One who had arrived to save her allies. Much to Mordo's great horror, the Ancient One then confirmed she was using the power of the Dark Dimension to gain greater abilities for this fight.
As they walked around the arena preparing to fight, Kaecilius reminded his former mentor of how he had once come to Kamar-Taj seeking her help and was only fed lies. The Ancient One, however, tried to insist that she had been trying to save Kaecilius from himself and that what the immortality Dormammu promised him was not the eternal life he claimed it was by torment. Kaecilius called her a liar before letting all of his Zealots attack her all at once.
When the Zealots failed to kill the Ancient One, Kaecilius waited for her to be distracted by fighting the Tall Zealot and then stabbed her through his ally, mortally wounding them both. Satisfied by his action, Kaecilius threw the Ancient One into the Earth Plane, where she fell hundreds of stories to the ground below and suffered injuries that later killed her. Kaecilius then used his Sling Ring to escape towards the Hong Kong Sanctum with the remaining Zealots.
- "Isn't it beautiful? A world beyond time. Beyond death."
Kaecilius collected the Blonde Zealot from the desert and, upon arrival in Hong Kong with the use of their Sling Ring, Kaecilius and his Zealots found themselves challenged by the Masters of the Mystic Arts outside the Hong Kong Sanctum, with the Masters now being led by Wong, with Kaecilius telling Wong that he was on the wrong side of history, before attacking and killing Wong, who was armed with the Wand of Watoomb by trapping him underneath rubble. With Wong dead, it did not take long for Kaecilius and the Zealots to overpower the remaining Masters and kill Master Minoru, the Sanctum's guardian.
With nobody left to challenge them in their own mission, the Zealots quickly destroyed the Hong Kong Sanctum and at last, succeeded in bringing Dormammu and the Dark Dimension onto Earth. While the Zealots and Kaecilius looked on with great satisfaction at their work, many other civilians were killed in the battle as the Dark Dimension consumed the sky, causing buildings to fall apart and the innocent people to be crushed under rubble. Kaecilius was unaffected by their suffering and awaited the eternal life promised by Dormammu.
However as the city burned, Doctor Strange just arrived at the scene along with Karl Mordo in time to witness the destruction, with Mordo believing there was now no way to stop the Dark Dimension from destroying the world. However to Kaecilius' horror, Strange began to reverse time, using the Eye of Agamotto. Determined to ensure that Strange did not stop his plans, Kaecilius charged forward and dived at Strange, summoning a blade and attempting to kill him. However, Kaecilius was a moment too late and Strange pushed him back.
Using the power of the Dark Dimension, Kaecilius was able to merge himself and all his Zealots out of the time reversal and then attacked Strange, attempting to kill him and stop the time reversal before it could destroy all his plans while the Brunette Zealot fought against Mordo. However, Strange was able to use the reversing time to his advantage and managed to trap Kaecilius inside buildings that were still repairing themselves from all of the destruction.
Kaecilius kept fighting, however, using a dust cloud to sneak up on Strange while his Zealots were both defeated by Mordo. While still fighting Strange, Mordo came to his ally's rescue and, using the Staff of the Living Tribunal, managed to trap Kaecilius into a tiled wall, causing the enraged Kaecilius to yell out in frustration. However, he eventually broke free and caused a shockwave which then managed to stop Strange from completing the time reversal spell.
With time having been frozen all around them and ensuring that the Dark Dimension would come back despite Strange's best efforts, Kaecilius looked up and delighted in the thought of Dormammu finally coming to Earth to grant him eternal life. While Mordo and the resurrected Wong attempted to continue fighting, Strange instead used the Cloak of Levitation to fly into the Dark Dimension, Kaecilius initially believed he had finally joined their own side.
Gaining Eternal Life
While Kaecilius celebrated his victory over the Masters of the Mystic Arts, he was shocked to discover Doctor Strange had reappeared behind him. Kaecilius demanded to know what he had done only to discover that Strange had bargained with Dormammu for Earth's survival, using the Eye of Agamotto to provoke Dormammu long enough into leaving Earth after killing Strange multiple times while in an endless time loop.
Strange then promised Kaecilius that he would now gain the eternal life promised in the Book of Cagliostro, but he would not enjoy it. Kaecilius and the Zealots were angered of Dormammu's defeat and Strange's victory, but before they could do anything to stop it from happening, Kaecilius and the remaining Zealots began transforming into particles from where they stood and gravitated inside the Dark Dimension away from the Earth Plane, granting them the eternal life they had desired all along as the Mindless Ones, inhabiting Dormammu's realm and living in utter horrific torment forever.
- "When he first came to us, he lost everyone he ever loved. He was a broken man searching for answers in the Mystic Arts. A brilliant student, but he was proud, headstrong. Questioned the Ancient One, rejected her teaching. He left Kamar-Taj. His assistants followed him like sheep seduced by a false belief."
- ―Karl Mordo
Kaecilius was a proud and darkly driven man. Eerily similar to Stephen Strange, he displayed arrogance and an inflated sense of self-worth, but like Strange, Kaecilius had successfully mastered the mystical arts and suffered great loss in his life. The death of his child and wife fueled him with anger and hate, but he initially sought to heal himself of grief upon their deaths, seeking the Ancient One and Kamar-Taj to achieve this. Due to the pain and anger he felt, Kaecilius also used his duty as a Master to train the novices as a way to unleash his aggression, as evidenced when he remorselessly badly wounded the trainees that he was tasked to mentor to the point they needed a doctor to treat them. He is also rather strict and harsh in his teaching duties, as he had no qualms callously dismissing the aforementioned trainees' fighting ability as being sloppy and predictable.
Unfortunately, Kaecilius could not comprehend how death was a natural part of life rather than just a step behind humanity's evolutionary peak. Viewing time and death as the true enemy of everything, he was enraged by how the Ancient One did not permit access to other dimensions, but siphoned energy from the Dark Dimension to power herself anyway. Feeling cheated out of reconciling with his dead family by his hypocritical mentor, Kaecilius eventually went down a malevolent path - cold and nihilistic. However, Kaecilius came to believe that he was doing good as surrendering Earth to Dormammu would grant humanity immortality and rid the world of death, writing his actions to Strange as saving the world.
Additionally, he is a pure sadist as he is proven to be like that when he is preparing to kill anyone or destroying everything that comes along his way, in order to achieve his goal. As he explained his motivation to Strange, he was proven to be a pure megalomaniac when he confessed that the ritual in the stolen pages gave him "the power to overthrow the Ancient One and bring down her centers", which proves that the immense power he gained when contacting Dormammu through the ritual, came too much to his mind. His smirk after killing the Ancient One shows his sadistic side and strong hatred for his former teacher.
Even so, Kaecilius is ultimately still a delusional psychopath, as he remorselessly commits murder, despite his desire to cleanse the world of death, while justifying it to himself by claiming that his ends justified the means. His blinding hatred for life which proved him to also be a misanthrope and the Ancient One also gives him a selective magical view on the world. He views his endgame for defying the natural order as more important than the reasons of his former master; by considering her oppressive for not allowing him to use Dormammu's power to fuel his own, he also blinds himself to Dormammu's malevolence, while revering the demon as a benevolent figure. To put it bluntly, Kaecilius could not comprehend how the rules of nature occasionally needed to be broken to protect reality rather than just create endless life.
Although they expressed blind loyalty to their leader and to his ideals, as Karl Mordo and Doctor Strange indeed pointed out, Kaecilius had very little regard for his fellow Zealots and clearly valued them solely for their usefulness, making him a truly selfish and narcissistic man. He was never seen personally communicating with any of them, and never once mentioned a follower by name. He also did not seem particularly fazed when the Ancient One killed several of them in the Mirror Dimension nor did he shield any of them from her offensive Magic, focused solely on saving himself. He murdered one for questioning his actions and slew a second just because he was standing near his target, the Ancient One herself. Curiously, however, he did bother to go out of his way to rescue a follower that Doctor Strange had left stranded in the desert.
Despite his horrendous acts, Kaecilius did seem to genuinely believe he was benefiting the world by ensuring anyone who survived his mission would live forever. This was shown when he cried while conversing with Strange about time being the enemy of all existence, hinting that he was reminded of his wife and child during that conversation.
Powers and Abilities
Master Sorcerer: Noted as a brilliant student of the Ancient One, Kaecilius was one of the most powerful members of the Masters of the Mystic Arts, possessing a extraordinary mastery of the mystic arts and with the help of numerous mystical artifacts and relics, in addition to his astral powers, Kaecilius is able to gain access to a multitude of mystical powers. His overall skill in magic proved to be great enough to hold his own against his mentor the Ancient One.
- Eldritch Magic Manipulation: Kaecilius is able to create, shape and manipulate Eldritch Magic.
- Teleportation: Using a Sling Ring, Kaecilius is able to open a fiery portal to another location, gaining the ability to move tremendous distances instantaneously.
- Inter-Dimensional Travel: Using the same Sling Ring, Kaecilius can travel between different dimensions and universes, crossing over different planes of existence or traveling across various forms of reality.
- Teleportation: Using a Sling Ring, Kaecilius is able to open a fiery portal to another location, gaining the ability to move tremendous distances instantaneously.
- Dark Dimension Magic Manipulation: After performing the ritual to tap into the powers of the Dark Dimension, Kaecilius was able to manipulate space. This allowed him to warp and twist the landscape of the Mirror Dimension and the New York Sanctum, conjure Space Shards as weapons, and defying gravity by running on walls and ceilings. He could also augment his strength and resilience with conscious effort, to the point where he could easily send someone flying with his attacks, and effortlessly lift up and toss Strange with one hand, and withstand being sent flying into a wall with Karl Mordo's Staff of the Living Tribunal. Notably, Kaecilius would use his power to send shockwaves through the ground to cause damage to his surroundings and disorient foes and combined with the other Zealots, Kaecilius could create a large sphere of energy that when slammed to the floor, caused a powerful explosion that completely destroyed the London Sanctum, while he and his followers were unharmed. His connection to the dimension beyond time further allowed him to resist the effects of the Eye of Agamotto's Time Manipulation Magic, which was used by Doctor Strange to restore the Hong Kong Sanctum.
- Master Martial Artist: Kaecilius is a highly skilled martial artist, both armed and unarmed combatant. He maintained the upper hand in his duel with Stephen Strange and was only defeated after Strange managed to trap him. Kaecilius also held his own the longest out of the Zealots in the second fight against the Ancient One and even managed to ultimately surprise and kill her, although he needed the Ancient One to be distracted in fighting one of the Zealots to pull off such a feat. In the final fight, Kaecilius used his martial arts skill to battle Strange again and despite Strange using the reconstructing environment to his advantage, Kaecilius seemingly maintained the upper hand, forcing Strange to secure a bargain with Dormammu.
- Sling Ring: A mystical object which enables the wearer to open a fiery portal to another location. Kaecilius used his Sling Ring to open a portal to flee to a park-like area. The portal closed before the Ancient One could follow.
- Scythe Daggers: Kaecilius' personal weapon, a pair of curved daggers that he used to attack his enemies. Kaecilius used the curved daggers to behead the librarian when he decided to steal a page from the Book of Cagliostro in the library of Kamar-Taj.
- Kamar-Taj: To be added
- In the comics, Kaecilius is one of Baron Mordo's disciples who support him in his fight against the Ancient One and Doctor Strange.
Behind the Scenes
- This version of the character, according to Mads Mikkelsen, is a combination of different antagonists of Doctor Strange.
- Tomasz Krzemieniecki was a stunt double for Mads Mikkelsen in the role of Kaecilius.
- Sam Hare was a stand-in for Mads Mikkelsen in the role of Kaecilius.