The only villain among the remaining characters from Doctor Strange is one of the Zealots: Lucian Aster, portrayed by martial artist Scott Adkins. Along with Kaecilius and his teammates, Lucian makes a deal with Dormammu to obtain eternal life and to have his powers increased, in exchange of an access to Earth. He’s the one who duels with Strange from London to New York, in a fight that’s much more physical than the ones we’re used to in the comics, and that continues also between dimensions. As many other guys in the movie, Lucian is a magic user in the comics as well, but he has nothing to do with the Zealots nor the Masters of the Mystic Arts, and he’s a secondary enemy of another well-established superhero team. Let’s see together.
Lucian Aster lived in Los Angeles, California, but nothing is known about his family or his early life. A successful businessman and entrepreneur, he had founded a publishing house, Pan-Dimensional Publishing, specialized in books about occultism, magic and mysticism. Actually, several of the books were written by Aster himself, as he was an amateur sorcerer in the first place. Magically speaking, Lucian never accomplished much until, while trying ancient rituals, he ended up opening a portal to an unknown dimension, home of a demon, the Wild One. The Wild One promised him infinite power, and a place at his side in the new world he would have built; Aster agreed to help him arrive on Earth, and started following his instructions: he was told how to open a portal to Strange World to summon its Sorcerer Supreme, Shanzar, and ordered to find a body strong enough to be a host for Shanzar; he then had to sacrifice 666 demons and to spill the blood of a single pure soul to release him from captivity, and to imprison a scion of Neptune as a catalyst. To provide the hundreds of demons, the Wild One taught Aster a spell to turn normal people into demons, and Lucian cast it the best way he knew: he bonded it to a book, and published it as Spelling Made Easy, the first book of necromancy for amateurs. The book was an announced success, and a lot of people bought it… but all who read it were turned into demons, ready to be collected by Aster and imprisoned waiting to be sacrificed. In the meanwhile, Aster had summoned Shanzar, and together they had identified the “scion of Neptune” with Namor the Sub-Mariner, king of Atlantis, who was amnesiac after a clash with Master Kahn. They imprisoned his mind into one of the demons, who once was Jill Walker, while Shanzar occupied Namor’s body. Everything was going as planned, if not for a detail: Namor’s mind broke free of control, and while in the demonic form he escaped and looked for help from one he knew he could trust… the Incredible Hulk.
While Aster and Shanzar were summoning the pure soul, the Silver Surfer, on Earth, Namor had moved to Rick Jones‘ body, contacted the Hulk, and sought the help of Doctor Strange: Lucian was worried for the presence of all the Defenders, but Shanzar reassured him, saying that they were too late to stop them. When the three heroes arrived at Pan-Dimensional Publishing building, Aster briefly confronted the Hulk, but then he teleported away along with Shanzar, the demons and a Namor-possessed Rick Jones. On the bottom of the Mariana Trench, Aster and Shanzar prepared a magic shield as a trap for the Silver Surfer: when the hero tried to pass through it, it siphoned his cosmic energies, empowering a dagger. The 666 demons attacked the three heroes, and realising they were not human anymore, the Defenders slew them… unwillingly making the first step of the sacrifice. Then, Shanzar stabbed the Surfer with the cosmic-empowered dagger, and a single drop of his blood was sufficient to complete the ritual and open a portal: the Wild One arrived on Earth, promising he would have rewarded Lucian Aster and Shanzar later. The Defenders tried to stop the Wild One, but he was far too powerful; the demon said he only wanted to play with Earth for a while, and that Lucian and Shanzar would have inherited anything that was left of the world when he was finished. Aster told the Wild One this wasn’t what they bargained for, but the demon was deaf to his protests, and he eventually tried to use his mystical weapon (a guitar) on him… but Strange shielded Aster, saving his life. Upon realizing the Wild One had no intention of keeping his word, both Aster and Shanzar allied with the Defenders, and they helped them destroying the demonic horde. Ridden with guilt, Aster offered himself as a living trap: he would have transformed into Strange, and cast a spell so that, when the Wild One would have attacked him, his body would have become a portal to the super-dense Strange Dimension, sucking the Wild One in and hopefully crushing him. This, of course, would have costed his life, but saving the world was the least he could do, after nearly destroying it.
Lucian Aster is an ambitious and greedy man, always searching for something more to gain and to conquer; a cunning and smart businessman, he’s but a naive boy in the mystic world, but his arrogance makes him blind on his lack of preparation. An amateur sorcerer, he is but a second-rate summoner at first, but with the help and teachings of the Wild One and Shanzar he gains much more power than he would have on his own, now being able to accomplish far greater deeds, to travel between dimensions, to perform ancient and dangerous rituals. More avid than truly evil, Lucian Aster plays with forces he barely understands… and the consequences risk to be dire for the entire world.