WARNING: Massive spoilers ahead for “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”
We’ve met SHIELD, HYDRA and SWORD in the MCU, and now with “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” we’ve met the Illuminati. So, who exactly is in it?
The “Doctor Strange” sequel, now playing exclusively in theaters, introduces us to the secret society on Earth-838. Apparently, they were formed by Strange himself — at least, that universe’s version of him — to quietly keep tabs on things and maintain order in the universe. Among those things was Strange himself, as he revealed he had been dream-walking.
Obviously, the previews gave some hints as to who made up the secret society. Fans immediately caught onto Patrick Stewart’s voice of him; but he’s not the sole member of the Illuminati. So let’s run it down.
Professor Charles Xavier
As mentioned above, fans immediately latched onto Patrick Stewart’s voice in early trailers for the film. So we can confirm that yes, Charles Xavier does appear in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” as the head (pun only slightly intended) of the Illuminati.
As an added bonus for comic fans, he even shows up in the classic bright yellow hoverchair his character is known for. “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” doesn’t exactly make it clear whether his school for mutants and the X-Men themselves exist, but odds are probably more than a little good.
In the trailers, it was Mordo himself who revealed the existence of the Illuminati, so it only makes sense that he is part of the secret society.
In the first “Doctor Strange,” Mordo was an ally to Strange when he first arrived at the Ancient One’s doorstep. But in the end, he became disillusioned by magic, and sought to take every sorcerer’s powers from them, seemingly positioning him as a baddie for “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”
But, as it turns out, Mordo never fully turned evil on Earth-838. When he meets with Strange in the film, he welcomes him literally with open arms, referring to the former Sorcerer Supreme as “my brother.” That said, Mordo does drug Strange and America Chavez, and as Stephen deduces later, he might’ve definitely harbored some latent hostility toward his “brother of him.”
If you watched Marvel’s animated series “What If…?” over on Disney+ last year, then you definitely recognized Captain Carter when she showed up. Though realistically, even if you didn’t watch “What If…?” you should have recognized her too.
Hayley Atwell returned as Peggy Carter in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” but not the Peggy Carter we’ve known in live-action so far. On Earth-838, Peggy was actually the one to receive the super soldier serum instead of Steve. She even tosses out her beloved catchphrase, “I can do this all day.”
When Peggy became Captain Carter, she infused her British origins into it, which is why the shield and uniform aren’t boasting their usual stars and stripes.
After months and months of speculating and hoping, Reed Richards did indeed make his MCU debut in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” And, as throngs of fans hoped, he was played by none other than John Krasinski.
Reed Richards is obviously best known as the leader of the Fantastic Four. When he as his crew of him pass through a cosmic storm in space, they’re each given abilities. In the case of Reed, he becomes a man virtually made of elastic, and can stretch himself and morph into insane shapes at will.
We don’t learn anything else about the MCU Fantastic Four during “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” but we do learn that on this earth, Reed Richards has kids.
Viewers might’ve been expecting a surprise Brie Larson appearance after Mordo introduced Captain Marvel as part of the Illuminati, but that is not what they got. Instead, Lashana Lynch returned once more as Maria Rambeau — Earth-838’s version of Captain Marvel.
When we first met her, Maria Rambeau was just a pilot, who lost her best friend Carol Danvers (Larson) in a plane crash. She helped Carol and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) save the Skrulls, but she was still very human at the end of things.
It’s a cute full circle moment to see Rambeau as Captain Marvel, considering her daughter Monica just recently obtained her own powers over on “WandaVision.”
Like “Hawkeye” before it, “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness” managed to tie in another Marvel TV show. “Inhumans” only ran for one season on ABC, but one of its stars got a surprising return thanks to the Illuminati.
Rounding out the secret sextet was Anson Mount, returning as the Black Bolt of Earth 838. For those who are unfamiliar with the character, Black Bolt is a superhero whose can literally destroy people with his voice. In fact, that’s how he killed the Doctor Strange of his earth from him. Once the Illuminati deemed him too dangerous to keep alive, Black Bolt uttered the words “I’m sorry” as the killing blow to Strange.
Black Bolt marks the final member of the Illuminati — at least, the incarnation of it that we met. But there’s always room for different members, considering what happened to each of them in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”