The Masters of the Mystic Arts are sleeping on the job in Ms. Marvel episode 4 – but there’s a reason the new Sorcerer Supreme is bad at his job.
This article contains spoilers for Ms. Marvel episode 4.
The Masters of the Mystic Arts really aren’t very good at their job in the MCU’s Phase 4 – and Ms. Marvel episode 4 reinforces the point. The Masters of the Mystic Arts are sworn to protect the Earth from interdimensional threats. According to the Ancient One, she has averted countless apocalyptic futures – but since her death, the Masters of the Mystic Arts don’t seem to have been doing particular well.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness strongly implied Stephen Strange chose to ignore the Westview incident, convinced Wanda Maximoff would put things right in the end. In so doing, he unwittingly allowed Wanda to become the Scarlet Witch – the greatest threat to the multiverse to date. Meanwhile, Ms. Marvel episode 4 revealed the bangle Kamala Khan stumbled upon has the potential to destroy the entire world. According to the Red Daggers, should Kamala use the bangle to open the veil between the dimensions for the ClanDestine, the Noor Dimension will overtake this plane and Earth will be destroyed. Again, the Masters of the Mystic Arts are nowhere to be seen.
The most likely explanation for the Masters of the Mystic Arts’ apparent incompetence lies in the events of Avengers: Endgame – in which Thanos destroyed the Time Stone. The Time Stone was the Masters’ greatest weapon. In her death scene in Doctor Strange, the Ancient One revealed she used it to explore the future, identifying threats and neutralizing them – although she could not see beyond her death. ,I’ve spent so many years peering through time,” she noted, “looking at this exact moment. But I can’t see past it. I’ve prevented countless terrible futures. And after each one, there’s always another. And they all led here, but never further.” This, it seems, is how the Masters of the Mystic Arts operated; they looked into the future, and worked out when it would be necessary to intervene. Without the time stone, they’re clearly struggling to adapt to a new status quo .
The destruction of the Time Stone means the Masters of the Mystic Arts are now forced to react to threats when they come to their attention. This fits with Wong’s cameo in Shang-Chi‘s post-credits scene; the new Sorcerer Supreme only knew about the Ten Rings when Shang-Chi unwittingly sent a pulse across the dimensions, one Wong could even detect in Kamar-Taj. Presumably, they conduct magical sweeps as well, seeking out other disruptions. But the bangle, and its activation of Kamala Khan, just hasn’t come to their attention.
All this means Earth is more vulnerable than ever before. Under the leadership of the Ancient One, the Masters of the Mystic Arts saved the world countless times. But they can no longer be dependent upon to step in and save the day, because there’s simply too much magic in the world. That certainly makes the MCU a lot more exciting, as Ms. Marvel is proving, because anything can happen without them getting involved.
More: The MCU Just Made Its Alternate Dimensions Even More Confusing
Ms. Marvel releases new episodes Wednesdays on Disney+.
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