I just saw Doctor Strange and I thought I saw someone with what looked like the Staff of One - is Nico Minoru from Runaways officially part of the MCU?

Near the end of the film,

when Wong and a team of sorcerers prepare to defend the Hong Kong Sanctum,

there was a brief glimpse of a younger asian woman wielding a gold staff with a ring on top that looked familiar:

enter image description here

Can anyone confirm what I saw? Is the similarity just an easter egg or does it have ramifications for a Runaways TV show, which would theoretically follow the plot of from the before the Runaways discover their powers?

  • A Runaways TV show is already in production, so this might be a tie-in, or an easter-egg that will eventually be ignored. I haven't seen the movie so I can't comment on it specifically (though I did read an article that suggests that it was, at some point officially called the Staff of One in the movie and that suggested the character was intended to be Tina Minoru, Nico's mother). – starpilotsix Nov 11 '16 at 20:59
  • @starpilotsix That's awesome, I didn't know they were finally making the pilot. I'm editing the question. Can you link to the article about Tina? Why would she be fighting with the sorcerers if the whole point of runaways is that their parents are super villains? – dunraven Nov 11 '16 at 21:03
  • I have no idea if it's true/deliberate, but I can confirm you aren't the only one thinking this, because I like watching "easter egg" videos and at least 3 unrelated youtube channels all made this exact same guess. – Ixrec Nov 11 '16 at 21:09
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    Apparently her toy has been added to the range of Chinese-made plastic crap that's linked to the Dr Strange film; toywiz.com/… – Valorum Nov 11 '16 at 21:11
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    @Valorum That is the only piece of Chinese-made plastic crap linked to the Dr Strange film that I need though! – starpilotsix Nov 11 '16 at 21:17

That was Nico's mother, Tina

It's been reported for ages that Linda Louise Duan was cast as Tina Minoru in the film; Duan's personal website reported in late October 2016 on a promo piece in the Essex County Standard:

enter image description here

MoviePilot.com also had an interview with Duan in October 2016, where they claim that her scenes were cut from the final film; evidently she initially had a larger role then what we ended up seeing. The article includes the following clip of her:

enter image description here

Nico and Tina are both confirmed for the Runaways TV show

Marvel released some of their casting decisions early in February 2017, and both Nico and Tina have been cast:

  • Nico will be portrayed by Lyrica Okana:

    Lyrica Okano ("The Affair," "Unforgettable") Nico Minoru – tough, intelligent, and independent–embodies teenage angst. A budding “Wiccan,” Nico’s carefully crafted goth appearance isolates her from her peers and family, but maybe what she really needs is someone to talk to.

  • Tina will be portrayed by Brittany Ishibashi:

    Brittany Ishibashi ("This Is Us," "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows") as Tina Minoru – a perfectionist "tiger mom." In her professional life, she is a brilliant innovator and ruthless CEO. Emotionally, she is less confident, often shying away from difficult conversations with her daughter Nico and careful to avoid explicit displays of her feelings.

    How Tina goes from Doctor Strange to The Runaways has yet to be revealed.

Why is Tina allied with the "Good Guys"?

In the interview I linked to above, Duan states that the Tina Minoru we see in Doctor Strange is a younger version of the character:

The Tina in Doctor Strange is obviously a younger Tina than in The Runaways, so that gave me space for my own interpretation of who she is. She has never been explored before at this point in her life, not even in The Runaways comics.

This is somewhat borne out by the casting announcement I linked above; while Duan is a fairly young actress (her exact age appears not to be public, but her IMDB biography states that she graduated acting school in 2015), while Ishibashi is rather older (born in 1980)

Presumably, as with Baron Mordo, the Tina seen in the film has yet to experience her "Start of Darkness"1.

1 Warning, TVTropes link. It's dangerous to go alone

  • Oh yes, that's the gif I was waiting for! Glad I'm not crazy. – dunraven Nov 11 '16 at 21:21
  • @dunraven Happy to help; don't forget to accept if I've answered to your satisfaction – Jason Baker Nov 11 '16 at 21:28
  • Is there any word from anyone with a little more authority on MCU continuity than the actress herself, who they probably didn't share future plans with? It also looks like she appears in some kind of prequel comic series? – dunraven Nov 13 '16 at 0:02
  • @dunraven Yes, Tina Minoru also appeared in the Prelude comic, allied with the Masters of the Mystic Arts. Unfortunately I've been unable to find any more official word on how her appearance in Doctor Strange relates to the Runaways show; I suspect that's something we'll have to wait until the show comes out to learn – Jason Baker Nov 13 '16 at 0:22

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