I learnt from this question that Dormammu is a being who lives beyond time.

Generally, when you reverse time, you reverse everything including the memory of the person existing inside the time. Since Dormammu doesn't exist in the time, his memory does not get reset, therefore he gets tired of seeing repeated thing for many times and is defeated.

Hence he knows what is happening around him and that he's locked in a time loop. If Dormammu could acquire the Time Stone by force, he could have broken the time loop. Since he knows that Dr Strange has set a time loop, why did he not attempt to steal the Time Stone instead of trying to kill Dr Strange?

4 Answers 4


Dormammu knew that Dr Strange had trapped him in a time loop, but he didn't know how. All Strange told him was:

Doctor Strange: Just as you gave Kaecilius powers from your dimension, I've brought a little power from mine. This is time. An endless looped time.

If the time loop had continued, Dormammu probably would have realised eventually that the glowing green amulet around Dr Strange's neck had something to do with it, but even if he were to steal it, he'd face two more problems:

  1. It's unlikely he'd know how to use the Time Stone, given that he has no concept of time.
  2. Each loop only lasted about thirty seconds. Factor in the time it would take him to steal the stone from Strange, who's not going to give it up easily, and he'd have a very narrow window in which to break the loop before time looped again and Time Stone was back in Strange's possession.

The key point, though, is that Dormammu didn't try and steal the Time Stone because, to the best of my knowledge, he didn't know about it.

  • 1
    Eventhough all answers point same thing that Dormammu doesn't know how to use time stone. This answer adds extra detail that time loop duration is 30 seconds. So Dormammu has to steal time stone and break time loop ,ALL in 30 seconds. Hence accepting this answer eventhough others are correct
    – user63699
    Commented Dec 24, 2018 at 13:41
  • 21
    Additionally, (Infinity Wars spoilers!) when Ebony Maw is trying to get the Time Stone from Dr Strange, Strange talks about the spell protecting the stone by saying "It's a simple spell but quite unbreakable" and "You'll find removing a dead man's spell troublesome". It sounds like acquiring the stone by force might not be so simple. Commented Dec 24, 2018 at 14:20
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    @QuestionMarks, but was the spell put in place before the encounter with Dormammu? Commented Dec 24, 2018 at 15:49
  • 3
    @ArturoTorresSánchez It's possible that it's been put in place or changed since the events of the Dr Strange movie, but the device protecting the stone during the Dorammu encounter looks identical to what he had at the beginning of Infinity Wars. And considering he's not a complete novice during that encounter, I'd guess he could come up with and handle the "simple spell" to protect it at that time. Commented Dec 24, 2018 at 16:52
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    @Chloe that's irrelevant. This isn't a time crystal.
    – user64742
    Commented Dec 27, 2018 at 2:26

Your question implies Dormammu can use the Time Stone, which is not necessarily the case. Dormammu probably didn't try to get the Time Stone because he would have been unable to use it to break the time loop on his own. This could be explained by the Book of Cagliostro, as Dormammu did not read it. (This is just my theory though.)


I'll try my best to stick to the MCU.

Please note that Dormammu is introduced as an entity beyond time, it means he is unaffected and above the concept of time, time has no meaning for him, hence his dark powers enable his minions to live forever, viz serve him forever.

Please note that it took a very good photographic memory, over-eagerness for Dr. Strange to know about the Time Stone-using techniques, his eagerness almost led him to get caught in a time loop (the eaten apple scene in Doctor Strange).

On the other hand, we have nothing in favour of Dormammu, he is unaware of time related concepts, so using the Time Stone as per his will is out of context when referring to Dormammu.

Mystically, he over-powered Strange quite easily, his physical significance and capabilities aren't disclosed in the MCU, so to win over Dormammu, being able to use Time Stone provided the edge for Dr. Strange.

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    In what way did he almost get caught in a time loop during the apple scene? I only recall him rotating his hand to show the apple becoming more eaten and then less eaten. The sphere of influence in that scene was limited to the apple alone, until he transferred said sphere of influence over to the Book of Cagliostro in order to turn back time on it to read the stolen pages.
    – TylerH
    Commented Dec 26, 2018 at 17:08
  • @TylerH the other sorcerers scolding him indicated this. Perhaps the issue was regarding the potential to lose control.
    – user64742
    Commented Dec 27, 2018 at 2:28
  • a slight move of hand may have increased area under influence, maybe on others around him and himself, that's why Wong warns him "do you want to live your life living a particular second" viz getting caught in a loop himself Commented Dec 27, 2018 at 11:09
  • @TheGreatDuck The other sorcerers weren't there; the audience can see firsthand he pretty easily manipulated time in a quite controlled fashion. Remember the other sorcerers also tended to scoff at him being any good at being a sorcerer and yet he managed to become the Sorcerer Supreme within the span of a single movie.
    – TylerH
    Commented Dec 27, 2018 at 16:43
  • @TylerH that's irrelevant. You asked how he almost got caught. The other sorcerers said he almost got caught. We don't know exactly what was going on there. As the OP points out one wrong twitch of the finger and he could be simultaneously a corpse and a baby.
    – user64742
    Commented Dec 28, 2018 at 2:53

We learn in Infinity War that the Eye of Agamoto cannot be forcibly removed from Dr Strange, even by extremely powerful beings, even by killing him. See this answer for some more details.

  • That was multiple years later. Where is your proof that he had this ability beforehand?
    – user64742
    Commented Dec 28, 2018 at 3:10
  • ... other than neither Dormamu nor Kycileus taking it from him you mean?
    – Gaius
    Commented Dec 28, 2018 at 12:10
  • This spell is something he stated during infinity war after he became sorcerer supreme. There is nothing that shows he had made this spell beforehand during the events of Doctor Strange.
    – user64742
    Commented Dec 28, 2018 at 13:33

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