In Dr Strange, in the final battle, Strange and Mordo arrive at the Hong Kong Sanctum to it having been destroyed and the Dark Dimension leaking(?) in.

Strange immediately realizes the only weapon is the Time Stone and immediately uses it to reverse (global?) time and reverse back to before the destruction of the HK sanctum.

Kaecilius and the zealots managed to "warp themselves" out of the reversal and fight Strange and Mordo.

If that's the case, why wouldn't Dormammu be able to break out of that time loop himself?

  • @F1Krazy thanks for correcting my misspellings... Kaycelius looks quite sillius after seeing corrected spelling. lol
    – enorl76
    Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 17:25
  • No worries, it's a hard name to spell!
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Oct 29, 2018 at 20:06

3 Answers 3


Dormammu couldn't break out of the time loop because he does not understand the concept of time. Time simply does not exist in the Dark Dimension, which is why Dormammu is so confused when things start repeating themselves; he can barely comprehend what Strange is doing, let alone begin to fathom how to break free of it.

Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a clean copy of the script anywhere for me to grab the relevant quotes, but it definitely is mentioned in the film that time does not normally flow inside the Dark Dimension.

  • 1
    I found this but not sure this is the script you were looking for
    – Vishwa
    Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 7:07
  • 1
    Dormammu must have some concept of time, otherwise he would be the worst at planning, e.g. the Sanctums must be destroyed before he can conquer Earth. He must be able to distinguish between a moment where he has done something and one where he hasn't yet.
    – Oliver_C
    Commented Oct 23, 2018 at 17:50

Another thing to consider is that Dormammu himself may not actually trapped in the time loop. The entire universe around him is. He is noted as a creature that lives "beyond time", and that seems to be taken literally.

During the time loop scene, he is clearly experiencing all the time loops and has full memory of each one of them. He becomes increasingly agitated with each loop. He does everything in his power to stop it (which seems to be just kill Dr. Strange in a lot of different ways). When he finally gives up, he makes the deal.

Likewise, the zealots are human, so they live in time and they were initially trapped when Dr. Strange reverses time. It's noted during the movie that magic is energy drawn from other universes, so it may be that the zealots pulled energy from Dormammu's universe which let them break from time.

  • The entire dimension Dormammu is in is unaffected by time. It is just Doctor Strange who is in the time loop.
    – TylerH
    Commented Dec 27, 2018 at 16:45
  • 1
    OH! Thats actually a great point I hadn't thought of... Quite a gamble by Strange to assume he himself would be looped without having tried first.
    – enorl76
    Commented Jan 3, 2019 at 18:45

The Ancient-One, when she showed Strange that there begins a world of Mystery lying above his senses, she explains that there is a lot more unexplored out of the world Strange thinks of.(Strange looking only through a keyhole).

Meanwhile, exploring the galaxies and stuff, she takes him to remote areas, the unexplored worlds (like one where mind and matter meet) and finally gives him a glimpse of the Dark-dimension, a world filled with hunger, where powers OLDER THAN TIME lye.

Coming back to the question, The Ancient-One gave us(fans) a hint of what Dormammu actually is, an entity for whom time is nothing, this situation also came up with Ego the planet,simply because years, centuries millenniums and even eons (Asgardian term) are literally nothing to what they have seen.

And moreover, Dormammu's realm is unaware of the concept of time. Strange uses the time loop to simply repeat a particular timestamp to tire off Dormammu and eventually give up, there was no possibility he could overpower him.

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