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In the episode 4 of Marvel's What If? Series there are certain creatures shown which are used by Doctor Strange to gain certain powers. What are these creatures?

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  • cool to see Shuma-Gorath back as well
    – NKCampbell
    Sep 1 '21 at 16:57
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    I'm sure the montage also included a golden draconic figure that may have been Fin Fang Foom, but it's not shown in any of your screenshots.
    – F1Krazy
    Sep 1 '21 at 16:58
  • There are some more creatures which are not included in the picture
    – codeczar
    Sep 1 '21 at 17:10
  • And who was the poor cute little gnome guy who got eaten first? Sep 2 '21 at 10:17
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By my counting we see a total of 12 monsters and then we see 6 versions of Strange being transformed without seeing the monster that did it. I don't think we have any explicit confirmation on what the monsters are yet and I don't have an answer for them all but I'll do my best.

Strange looks up at a tentacled creature over-reaching him

This is most likely the same tentacled creature we saw in episode 1, "What If... Captain Carter Were the First Avenger?", known as the Champion of Hydra. As per this related Q/A for episode 1 this is most likely Shuma-Gorath

A gnome monster emerges from a red summoning circle, it has glowing blue eyes

I'm not sure there is anything directly lining up to the more stereotypical gnome in Marvel. This could just be a pure joke, similar to Alligator Loki from Loki, but it could also be referencing the Gnomes; a species of magical beings native to Asgard.

A man-sized bug emerges from the red summoning circle wearing a cape of levitation

This giant bug is wearing a version of the Cloak of Levitation so I've seen people guessing it's an alternate reality version of Doctor Strange, a Variant of. It does also seem to have vague similarities to Ghaszaszh Nyirh, one of the Old Ones who does have some crossover with Doctor Strange in the comics.

A dark massive bird spreads its wings and is coated in a blue light, it has six eyes

This looks like a raven/phoenix. The clear guess would be this is the Phoenix Force. However, I don't think the colours match and we've yet to see X-Men content in the MCU. There's also some resemblance to Red Raven but again this seems unlikely.

Close on the head of a dragon like creature

This looks like Jormungand, who was prophesised to be killed by Thor during Ragnarok.

Close on the heads of a 2 headed goat creature with green eyes and mouths

I can't think of a two headed goat-like creature in Marvel. This could be a reference to Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder though; the goats that pulled Thor's chariot.

A man shaped spirit with a skull head with antlers glowing green with a billowing cape behind

Again it doesn't seem to match up directly but this does look somewhat like Suma-Ket, the Lord of the Old Ones.

A massive dragon-like creature with a bat face

This one almost exactly matches Batragon so I'm pretty confident in saying it is meant to be him. However, I have seen theories that this could be James Santini aka Batwing but I find this unlikely.

A mystical stag with a lion-like mane and glowing blue eyes

I'm not sure this ties up to anything explicitly. The closest things I know of are Oranah and Ceryneian Hind but neither really have a close appearance nor a connection from the comics to the MCU.

A wyvern flies through the air

This one looks like the Fire Dragon that we saw in the opening to Thor: Ragnarok on Muspelheim.

An "ice wolf" runs mouth wide open

The only creature I know of that matches "ice wolf" would be Hoarfen, the child of Fenris Wolf and an unnamed Frost Giantess. It doesn't quite match but seems close.

A twisting snake

It does look rather generic, albeit large, so I'm not sure we can easily pin this to a specific snake in the comics. It could be Set but there's only one so this seems unlikely. It could also be Fu-Hsi, King of the Vipers. I also quite like the idea that this is a meta joke to the joke in Thor: Ragnarok and it's a reference to the snake Loki transformed into even if that is unlikely:

Thor: Yes, me too. On many, many occasions. There was one time when we were children, he transformed himself into a snake, and he knows that I love snakes. So, I went to pick up the snake to admire it and he transformed back into himself and he was like, "Yeah, it's me!" And he stabbed me. We were eight at the time.

Thor: Ragnarok


Next we see the 6 versions of Strange transforming without seeing the monsters. I'm not really sure what we can correlate these too without seeing the monsters. That said number 4 does bear a resemblance to Dormammu. He does have 3 eyes though so it might not be Dormammu but could be another creature from the Dark Dimension.

A transformed muscly Strange with spikes out of his back A transformed Strange with a head coated in fire

A transformed grey skinned Strange with spikes out of his back A transformed Strange with 3 purple eyes and lined skin

A transformed Strange with 4 eyes and big spikey teeth A transformed Strange with all orifices flowing yellow and cracked skin with the yellow shining through

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    Any suggestions for improvements here are welcome, I'm not the most well versed with Marvel comics history.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Sep 2 '21 at 10:08
  • “this is most likely Shuma-Gorath” — I think we should start calling them Cal, for short. Sep 2 '21 at 10:19
  • I was waiting for Dormammu.
    – Valorum
    Sep 2 '21 at 11:36
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    With the exception of the tentacled creature (which could well be Shuma-Gorath), I'm not convinced that any of these are based on existing comicbook characters. The resemblance to any characters I'm familiar with is tenuous at best, and it seems improbable that Strange would be absorbing power from the likes of Jormungand or the Hoarfen, when he has no real history with them in the comics that I'm aware of. If the writers wanted to use characters from the comics, it'd make more sense for them to use characters more firmly entrenched within Dr. Strange lore. Sep 2 '21 at 14:44
  • 1
    @Valorum: with beings from dimensions that don't even have time, you're going to be waiting a lot. Sep 2 '21 at 15:46

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