Stephen Strange is no stranger (no pun intended) to breaking the multiverse, but the inclusion of the Illuminati in the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness might just be one of the biggest revelations in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. No, we're not talking about the purported organization referenced in real life by internet conspiracy theorists. The Illuminati is a group within the Marvel universe who may expand the MCU even further.
After the reality-altering repercussions in Spider-Man: No Way Home and Loki, sorcerer Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) travels beyond his own world and into the multiverse to confront the cracks being made between universes. He even goes so far as to consult Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen), who was last seen learning how to harness chaos magic as the Scarlet Witch. Chiwetel Ejiofor reprises his role as Karl Mondo and Xochitl Gomez stars as dimension hopper America Chavez.
Recent trailers might have just teased the introduction of the Illuminati, and with it, a revelatory expansion of the franchise.
Who is the Illuminati in 'Doctor Strange 2'?
In the original comics, the Illuminati is a secret organization comprised of several powerful heroes. The group was initially formed as a think tank for some of the universe's greatest minds to prepare for world-ending threats and otherworldly enemies. Members included the likes of Doctor Strange, as well as Black Bolt of the Inhumans, mutant leader of the X-Men Charles Xavier, Fantastic Four member Reed Richards, and even Tony Stark among others.
Unfortunately, the members of the Illuminati would usually fail to meet eye to eye, especially on topics like the Superhero Registration Act that would eventually result in Civil War. The Illuminati would often disband, only to regroup when a certain enemy proved great enough to require these great minds to cooperate once again. Ultimately, the Illuminati would disband for good after shape-shifting Skrulls infiltrated their ranks.
While the Illuminati hasn't been active in the comics for quite some time, the Marvel Cinematic Universe looks like they're getting their own Illuminati. Unveiled during Super Bowl LVI, the most recent trailer for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness might have just revealed the organization as a part of the popular film franchise. As Strange is confronted for tampering with the fabric of reality multiple times, he is restrained and made to appear before a mysterious counsel.
Strange is brought before a strange hall in front of a line of chairs. Some are filled while most are empty. And a mysterious voice ponders what to reveal to Strange, suggesting that they "should tell him the truth."
Plenty of fans seem to recognize Patrick Stewart's voice in that scene, and one of the actor's best known roles is Charles Xavier in the live-action X-Men films. This could all but confirm the X-Men finally crossing over with the Marvel Cinematic Universe through the multiverse.
But given previous Illuminati members in the comics such as Reed Richards, the X-Men might not be the only family meeting the big-screen Avengers. Having the Illuminati in this film opens up all sorts of possibilities for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will premiere in theaters on May 6, 2022.