Dormammu, I've come to bargain.

The title pretty much says it all: How many times did Dr. Strange loop to his death until he could convince Dormammu to leave our universe alone?

In the movies we are shown something like tens of deaths, but maybe the scripts or the comics could tell more?

As a bonus question, was Dr. Strange able to remember he had just previously died? Or did each try feel the same from his point of view?

  • 2
    I kind of feel like this falls under off-topic due to trivia but to be fair, I am not familiar with the comics so don't know if it is revealed there.
    – sanpaco
    Commented Nov 9, 2016 at 18:21
  • I don't think it's off-topic because we have precedent: movies.stackexchange.com/questions/44307/…
    – RMalke
    Commented Nov 9, 2016 at 20:41
  • 2
    A similar question doesn't doesn't qualify something as being on topic. Most identify questions are off topic due to poor quality or lack of details but there are some that are on topic or were asked before the site guidelines were set to make them off topic. However this is probably a discussion for meta and I haven't down-voted or voted to close as of yet because I think there's definitely a gray area on this one.
    – sanpaco
    Commented Nov 9, 2016 at 22:16

5 Answers 5


Unfortunately, we just don't know the answer to any of those questions, though I think we can make an educated guess on at least one.

To start with, Strange's first battle with Dormammu in the comics did not involve the Eye of Agamotto. (I believe he was actually given the eye by the Ancient One because he defeated Dormammu). In the comics, when Strange goes to the Dark Dimension to confront Dormammu, Dormammu's retaliation ends up releasing a horde of Mindless Ones (very dangerous extra-dimensional beings). Dormammu needs Strange's help to stop them, and in exchange, Strange demands an oath to leave Earth alone.

In addition, the way the montage scene is written, its clear that we're not supposed to know exactly how many times it happened; I haven't seen any leaks of early scripts of the movie to know, but I'm skeptical that they ever gave a specific count. The best we can do is just count the number we specifically see on-screen, which is around a dozen or so.

However, it does look like both Strange and Dormammu do remember each loop. It's obvious that Dormammu remembers; the whole point is that, after enough repeats, Dormammu gets frustrated and makes a deal just to escape. If he didn't remember the previous iterations of the time loop, there's no reason for him to ever get frustrated. Also, note that Dormammu tries something to kill Strange different every time, implying that he knows his previous attempts didn't succeed.

But Strange, too, changes his behavior as his loop repeats. In his opening line to Dormammu, he starts to sound bored and frustrated, which only makes sense if he knows he's done this before. Also, IIRC, he seemed prepared for Dormammu's various attacks after they'd been used on him once, which only makes sense if he remembered them.

  • Or the simple fact that he didn't restate his entire introductory explanation each time (or so I think).
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 10:15
  • 3
    IIRC, part of his speech is prompted by Dormammu asking what's going on; I also can't rule out the possibility that they just "edited out" that bit for time, but you're probably right.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Nov 10, 2016 at 11:28

This was discussed on the news today. There is a line cut from the movie-where Dr. Strange says "We've been thru this a 1000 times" - which would have made for a better moment if it had been left in. Dormammu would probably get that "they say our love won't pay the rent" feeling, and would definitely want the cycle to stop.


  • Is there any chance you could find that news article somewhere to back this up a little?
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Nov 24, 2016 at 12:16
  • 2
    Nowhere in your linked article any lines cut from the movie are mentioned. All that the screenwriter says is that he probably looped "dozens of times, if not hundreds of times". So where do you really have your information from? You might want to flesh out the answer in this regard.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 14:20
  • The thing is, the phrase "we've been through this 1000 times" is a common, generic, non-literal one that gets used all the time, so that's not especially telling, IMO. Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 18:16

What i believe it was an infinite loop made by Dr. Strange. If i remember he said something like this, "We can do this all the time and the world be safe", similar meaning to this.

Dr. Strange says "We've been through this a 1000 times", he made the loop so he can make the bargain with Dormammu and stop the destruction of Earth.


Considering the fact that Dormammu is being off infinite proportions and lives outside of time, pretty much a god like being, would have not yielded after any finite amount of times, they would have been at it for an eternity before Dormammu would have given up.

Any number of times less than an eternity would have meant Dormammu would have not been an infinite being as mentioned earlier in the move.

They should have emphasised that they have been at it for an eternity, they made it look like they were at it for 20 minutes or so.


Okay, I read online that a leaked transcript of this scene has been leaked. Dr. Strange mentions that they had done this a thousand times already.

So to answer your question as to the writer's idea was .. 1,000 times 10 to 15 minutes? So it really wasn't that long.

  • Thank you for assisting the community. Ideas for framing an answer may include describing your sources along with a synopsis of what they said, and/or adding links to the resources and visuals you’ve found. I hope you enjoy participating.
    – John
    Commented Nov 24, 2016 at 3:44
  • Is there any chance you can find the online source that spoke about said leaked transcript to back this answer a little more (and thus make it any different from the already two weeks old answer that makes exactly the same unbacked claim)?
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Nov 24, 2016 at 12:18
  • I've used that line on ex-spouses, kids, teammates, idiots on the comments page of political articles, and I've never literally meant 1000 times, so I don't think the line is all that much help in quantifying. Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 18:17

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