Marvel Comics Universe has elaborated into a diverse extension of the current world. The Astral Plane has brought about a sense of depth and understanding to the Marvel Comics Universe. Marvel’s inclusion of this concept in MCU has seen the vast plots that may be charted out in the storyline. The parts of the Astral plane are only accessible to a few known individuals and these individuals are capable of manifesting their minds within the temporal space of the Astral dimension. Here one’s mind and spirit become one and are as powerful as one believes in his/her mind to be. The Astral dimension does not operate with the laws of the living world, it is a distant dimension that provides one’s soul and mind to escalate matters beyond the normal tendency. This is done to either achieve a higher understanding or to decipher an existing issue, by running multiple rhetorical scenarios, to judge the best possible outcome. So, in this article, we would be discussing 15 facts about the Astral dimension.
Made of Ectoplasm
Similar to how ghosts exist in the universe of Ghostbusters, the astral plane constitutes or is rather made up of Ectoplasm. Something similar to the 4th element of our blood cells which is also known as plasma. For this very reason, a transition into the Astral dimension does not require any special gravitational physics. As the user’s body is already linked to the dimension through the plasma which is already present in our bodies in the form of blood cells. Also, the transfer is quite instantaneous and does require any special apparatus except one’s mind.
Accessible by Magicians, Psychics and by the heart-shaped herb
The Astral dimension can be accessed by the following members. Magicians can access it because of an in-depth study of the human brain. Body and soul. Psychics are born with the ability to access this dimension since birth and the Wakandan Kings who consumed the heart-shaped herb can visit their ancestral plane, which is part of the Astral dimension. This possible as the heart shape herb not only unlocks the true potential of the body but also that of the mind and soul.
The host’s the influential ancestors of Wakanda
The ancestral plane or the astral dimension is home to several living and non-living beings. One such existence is that of the former Wakandan Kings who were the rulers aka the Kings of the Wakandan empire and had consumed the heart-shaped herb. The herb is known to have properties that it seemed to have gained when the Vibranium meteorite hit the country of Wakanda and changed the terroir of the area surrounding the vibranium meteor.
Shadow King’s prison
The greatest psychological threat to the X-Men is the astral embodiment of The Shadow king. The sharpness of his mind is only projected by the sturdiness of his ethereal character. His true age is unknown and may have seemed to lost his corporeal form a long time ago.
Charles Xavier got injured here
In the astral dimension, if one is to get injured in his/her spiritual or astral form the results are not that adversely visible in the living realm. But if one was to lose one’s life or rather get one’s astral projection killed in the Astral dimension. Then that person would suffer the same fate back in the living world as well. In the movie the X-Men: Apocalypse, we witness Charles battle it out with En Sabah Nur and gets beaten to a bloody pulp, or at least his astral projection does. But, in the Marvel comics, a showdown with the shadow king left him paralyzed in the real world.
Cassandra Nova was imprisoned here
Professor X’s biological twin Cassandra Nova was killed by Charles during the time of their birth. Once Charles realized the kind of evil that was forming next to him and killed the twin fetus even before she could conjure or accumulate the life force to witness or materialize in the living world. It was this fetus that eventually grew up in the astral dimension and became a Mummudrai, a denizen of the Astral Plane.
It first appeared in Strange Tales
Marvel Comics first introduced the Astral Plane into their universe in 1963 with issue #110 of Strange Tales. In an early Doctor Strange story from the occult anthology series, the villain Nightmare launches an attack on the Sorcerer Supremes’ psyche while he is asleep. The realm of dreams and slumber isn’t new to the world of comics, but this is the first mention that Marvel had made of the existence of another plane within the same realm.
Home of Mummudrai, Proteus and Shathra
The astral dimension serves as the home for many Mummudrai, Proteus the non-biological son of Professor X and Moira McTaggart, and Shathra the spider-wasp entity who feeds on the spider’s subconscious astral projection. All these beings are extremely powerful in their rights, thus have been imprisoned in the astral dimension.
Time passes slowly
Time passes at a very rate in the astral dimension compared to the actual reality. This trait of the astral realm is often used by the magicians or psychics of the MCU to wage wars which would generally take a lot of time or just frustrate out the enemy.
Connection to Cosmic power
Similar to the cosmic energy wielded by Galactus and the silver surfer. The astral dimension also shows the cosmic link to the powers generated across the universe with similarities in the ways these powers resemble each other. With the capability of bending reality, mind control and telepathy. It might just be possible that the astral dimension may just be another source or a subsidiary source of being able to extract massive amounts of cosmic energy.
Can battle using mental energy only
The astral dimension grants its users limitless powers, which may include the power to battle one’s enemies using only the power of one’s mind. With the power of the mind being able to mold reality as per one’s liking, a battle of minds may be also possible in the Astral dimension.
Different from Mirror realm, Quantum realm and Dark Universe
The astral dimension is very distinct from the Mirror realm, the quantum realm, and the Dark universe. All these realms are having their own distinct features. The mirror realm works as a playground for all the sorcerers, with them able to practice the extents of their magic without the effects of mortality affecting them. The Dark Universe is the hideaway realm of Dormammu, instead of conflicting with the prime reality realm the dark universe exists within its own timeline. Finally, we have the Quantum realm which is a microscopic realm of the present reality, but instead of a different dimension. Is present as a similar realm tied within the reality of the current time construct.
Home to Bats
The astral dimension serves as the home to Bats, who is the speaking canine companion of Doctor Stephen Strange. Former medical doctor, Stephen Strange did turn into a veterinarian to atone for his selfish blunders and found a kindred spirit in a living, but aged, dog up for adoption at his clinic. Later the dog died and reappeared in an astral form with complete knowledge of the English knowledge and capable of conversation in its astral form.
Parallel to reality
There’s no requirement to get into fortunetelling or probe into pseudo-science, but it’s important to note, that when considering the future development of Astral Plane’s potential specifications. The Astral Plane isn’t traveled to, so much as reached, or attained, by a being with self-sufficient skill. Both the reality and the astral realms take up the same area of existence. This means that while embodying an astral form, one can walk the streets of New York City, but there is a slight disconnect possibly compressed by the term of the frequency.
While there is a barrier, there are some paths between the material world and the astral reality. Not only in the talent of projection, but fans can look to the battle in Doctor Strange (2016), between the master of the mystic arts and Lucien, one of the lead villains. In this battle, Strange is almost defeated until he gets a supercharge from the hospital defibrillators. He is then able to channel that energy, from the material world, into his astral projected enemy. This is the first time in Marvel narrative that has permitted the flow of electricity between dimensions like that, but it makes sense that some forms of energy would be able to reach across the breach.
Linked to Soul Stone
Currently, no such iterations or plausible explanations have been linked to the Soul Stone. But, with the current events unfolding in the WandaVision arc. And the return of Doctor Strange 2, chances are high that we may be entertained to a logical connection of the Astral dimension to the Soul Stone. The continuity of the soul stone in the MCU is likely to resurface, with already the stone being linked to several souls within the MCU timeline. The souls in mention are that of Gamora, Red Skull, Adam Warlock, Black Widow. The soul stone post the destruction by Thanos may transform into an astral form as it was already believed to host a different set of powers which at a given point in time almost felt like held the essence of a being which was being held within the time stone.