Dr. Stephen Strange is the Marvel Universe’s Sorcerer Supreme, and he has been for more than a half-century of published history at this point. But that doesn’t mean there haven’t been other Sorcerer Supreme candidates over the years, or that Strange hasn’t had to step aside a time or two. There’s also all those supreme sorcerers who came before Strange to consider.
The legacy list of Sorcerer Supremes is a lengthy one and dates all the way back to the earliest days of the Marvel Universe. Essentially the head honcho in charge of keeping Earth safe from all magical threats, it’s one of those roles that always needs to be filled, lest the multiverse descend into chaos - though, it’s worth noting that with names like Loki and Tony Stark on the list, not all those chosen for the gig are as qualified as Doctor Strange.
The trio of god-like entities known as the Vishanti decide who wears the mantle and wields the Eye of Agamotto, and they’ve been known to make some peculiar choices.
When Was He The Sorcerer Supreme? On and off since the 15th century.
The individual known in the pages of Marvel Comics as the Ancient One is significantly different than the one portrayed by Tilda Swinton in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This Ancient One was born Yao sometime around the year 1430 AD in Kamar-Taj, located within modern-day Tibet. While still a youth, Yao saved Kamar-Taj from an evil warlord and then set about seeking magical mastery, ultimately joining a group of wizards known as the Ancient Ones.
In time, Yao outlived all the other Ancient Ones, becoming the Ancient One in the process, and thereafter met with the physical embodiment of Eternity, who granted Yao the Amulet of Agamotto and the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme. At the time, Yao believed he was the first Sorcerer Supreme in history, though that was later proven false.
Yao remained in the role for centuries, occasionally handing the job off to one sorcerer or another on a temporary basis, before finding a permanent replacement in the form of Stephen Strange.
When Was He The Sorcerer Supreme? Briefly in 2018.
Surprising no one, Loki Laufeyson became Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme through trickery. What is surprising, however, is that it was ultimately benevolent trickery. With all magical energy on the planet greatly reduced following Doctor Strange’s fight with the Empirikul, Loki peered into the future and glimpsed upcoming threats that Strange and other sorcerers would be unable to handle. He then used his illusory powers to trick Strange into thinking the Vishanti had transferred the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme from Strange to Loki.
This prompted Strange to hand over the Eye of Agamotto and the Cloak of Levitation to Loki. With these magical items, Loki was able to access a spell that would allow him to "kickstart" the return of the planet's magic by drawing it into his godly body. Strange became aware of the ruse before Loki could complete the spell, which led to an epic clash (and the loss of Strange's dog, Bats).
In the end, however, the god of trickery was successful. After restoring magic to its former potency, he willingly handed the role right back to Strange.
When Was He The Sorcerer Supreme? From 2009 until late 2010.
After failing to predict or prevent the Skrull’s secret invasion of Earth, a ploy aided in part by their own mystics, Stephen Strange began to question his qualifications for the role of Sorcerer Supreme. He intended on naming his own replacement - as the Ancient One had once done - but the Eye of Agamotto had other ideas. Leaving Strange, it set out on its own to find its next wielder.
The Eye settled on Jericho Drumm, a sorcerer known as Brother Voodoo and usually accompanied by his morally ambiguous ghost sibling. At that point, Drumm was serving the New Avengers under the moniker Doctor Voodoo, and so filled the dual roles of Sorcerer Supreme and Avenger for about a year. That is, until Agamotto themself showed up on Earth, demanding their Eye back.
Doctor Voodoo gave his life to repel the ancient entity, after which the Eye and the title of Sorcerer Supreme passed back to Strange.
When Was She The Sorcerer Supreme? Unknown.
The past of Margali of the Winding Way is so ambiguous, it’s not clear when exactly she served as Sorceress Supreme or even whether or not it actually happened. She’s been described by other characters as a former holder of the title whose mastery of the mystic arts rivaled even Stephen Strange’s, but that period of her life has yet to be depicted on the page.
What is known about Margali Szardos, however, is that later in life she settled down as a Romani fortune-teller to raise her children in Germany. It was there that Szardos encountered an infant Kurt Wagner, recently abandoned by his real mother Mystique, and decided to raise him as her own. Wagner would eventually grow into the circus star and X-Man better known as Nightcrawler.