Avengers: Infinity War almost featured a scene in which Doctor Strange donned the Iron Man Mark 50 armor - and here's how that could have worked. One of the most exciting elements of every Avengers movie is watching the unexpected team-ups. With Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely came up with a stunning number of unexpected alliances.

Of course, in reality Marvel run through a whole lot of ideas and pick the best of them. One of the most interesting ideas in Avengers: Infinity War seems to have been for Tony Stark and Stephen Strange to swap accessories. Concept art has shown Tony Stark wearing the Cloak of Levitation, while Doctor Strange dons the Iron Man Mark 50 armor. It's a fun idea, entertaining enough to have made it into the comics, with Doctor Strange becoming the so-called Iron Mage.

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Concept artist Phil Saunders has recently published the full Iron Mage concept art on his ArtStation account. It's a stunning design, and it gives a sense of just how unique an approach this would have been. Unlike traditional Iron Man armors, the Mark 50 was centered around what Marvel insiders called an "RT" unit. The name seems to have been lifted straight from the comics, where the so-called "Repulsor Tech node" is a fusion-powered unit with far greater capacity than the Arc Reactor. But Doctor Strange's Iron Mage armor features the Eye of Agamotto itself, suggesting the Mark 50 is literally being powered by an Infinity Stone.

It's a breathtaking idea. Infinity Stones appear to be an inexhaustible energy source; that was proved with regard to the Tesseract in Captain America: The First AvengerThe Avengers, and even Captain Marvel. It's fascinating to imagine what the Mark 50 nanotech suit could have done running on that kind of power. Gerry Duggan and Patch Zircher's Savage Avengers #10 recently gave comic book readers an idea of what a synergy between magic and Iron Man tech could look like, probably loosely inspired by this design. In the comic, Strange effortlessly blended science and sorcery, combining repulsors and Pym Particles with incantations in remarkable and creative ways.

In narrative terms, other samples of concept art have suggested Stark originally gave Strange the Mark 50 armor in order to save him from Ebony Maw. He had the Mark 50 form around Doctor Strange to protect him from Ebony Maw's torture, and Strange then bonded with it and used it as a formidable weapon. While that would have been an interesting approach, it's easy to understand why Marvel pivoted away from it; they needed to find a way to incorporate Spider-Man into the rescue, and they realized Peter Parker would come up with something quite different. As a result, the Iron Mage has been relegated to the comics - and, given the MCU has since seen the death of Tony Stark and the destruction of the Time Stone - that's probably not going to change.

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