By now, you’ve probably seen the full trailer for Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness and are pretty excited for its cinematic release at the beginning of May. The Superbowl trailer may have been released some time ago now, but it got a lot of people buzzing due to the apparent confirmation that Patrick Stewart’s Professor X will be joining the MCU. But it gets even wilder from there. We’re going to dive into a popular theory concerning the movie and what it could mean for upcoming titles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Potential spoiler alert
I didn’t even want to say what I was potentially spoiling until a few lines down, so it’ll be nice and hidden. Because, unlike other publications that like to throw spoilers into their headlines, we don’t do that here.
So as we can see, or rather hear, Professor X is coming back to the big screen thanks to the lack of rules given to Marvel in the Multiverse post-Fox acquisition. But more interesting than the reveal of Charles Xavier is the room he’s standing in. We see Strange entering a large room, with large chairs displayed in a long row. The shot is incredibly quick, but it’s perhaps one of the most telling in the trailer. That’s because this is likely our first confirmation that the Illuminati will finally appear in a Marvel movie. But unless you’ve read the comics, you’re probably wondering to yourself, just who are the Illuminati?
In the comics, the Illuminati are a secret society of superheroes operating behind the scenes. Created in 2005 by Brian Michael Bendi and thanks to the power of retcons, we know they were established in the wake of the Kree/Skrull War. The group consists of six members, who each represent a unique ideology or class found within most superheroes. So let’s break down who we can see in the Multiverse of Madness.
The Mysterious Six
So who are the six members? Like the Sinister Six, the lineup does change depending on the comics, but the original six are the ones we’ll focus on today. Of course, we know there’s Professor X, leader of the X-Men, who’s there as a representative of the often persecuted mutant community and will seemingly be played by Patrick Stewart yet again. Doctor Strange is also a member of the group and this movie could be his indoctrination into the group. As a sorcerer, he’s there as the representative of the mystical side of the superhero pantheon.
The remaining four members showcase where things will get weird and interesting, especially if it follows the original lineup. First up, we have Blackagar Boltagon, aka Black Bolt, who was played by Anson Mount in the TV series Inhumans. The show wasn’t well-received by fans or critics, so it will be interesting to see if the silent Black Bolt transitions to the big screen. If Black Bolt does show up, and of all the characters he’s very much the wildcard I’d say, I would be surprised if Mount returns as the character, as he was committed to filming Star Trek: Strange New Worlds at the same time and COVID-19 lockdowns in Canada made traveling difficult, as Multiverse of Madness shot in England.
Next, we’ll have the debut of Namor, King of Atlantis and Marvel’s answer to Aquaman. In the comics, Namor is something of an interesting character, as he’s both a hero and villain, depending on your point of view. He’s certainly helped in his own heroics, but has brought the nation of Atlantis to conflict with Wakanda before. Considering Wakanda Forever is on the horizon this year as well, this could be the introduction of Namor for the primary plot of that movie.
Next up we have Iron Man himself. Yup, Tony Stark is part of the Illuminati and already, questions are asked. As we all know, Tony died at the end of Endgame, but the multiverse opens up the possibility that he could return. Not only that, but it also opens up the chance that a new actor could take on the mantle of Iron Man. Without any superpowers, Tony is there to represent the common folk and how working with the government, such as with the Superhero Registration Act (the comic version of the Socovia Accords), can be beneficial. Time will tell if Tom Cruise can finally don the armour, as the Mission: Impossible actor actually turned down the role of Tony Stark before it went to Robert Downey Jr. What’s more, is that one part of the trailer seems to showcase Dr. Strange being flanked by Iron Legion or Ultron soldiers (or something to that effect), heavily implying Stark’s involvement.
The final member is an interesting one, as there’s a popular fan casting for the role. That’s none other than John Krasinski as Reeds Richards, aka Mr. Fantastic, leader of the Fantastic Four. With Disney now owning Fox, the MCU can incorporate America’s First Family into their toy box. Richards is there as the representative of the scientific community within the superhero ensemble. Friend of the site Mizuri has done an artist interpretation of what Krasinski could look like as Richards and you can read more about him in our profile here, which includes links to his social pages
It seems there’s a good chance we’ll see most, if not all, of the members of the Illuminati on the big screen now, purely based on this tease and the fact that the multiverse is open, largely thanks to Disney’s merger with 20th Century Fox, which owned the Marvel X-Men films. We’ve already seen the company play with its new toybox with characters like Evan Peters’ Quicksilver showing up in WandaVision, so the sky is really the limit for the studio and fans at this point.
But what do you think? Are we getting the Illuminati in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness or is this a pipe dream? Let us know in the comments!