Many of the trailers, TV spots, and various other promos for Doctor Strange 2 — aka Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness — have featured a shadowy group taking the eponymous sorcerer prisoner. Ever since we got our first peeks at the group, rumors have flown about not only which actors and characters may be among them, but the nature of the group itself. Well, it turns out the prevailing theory was the correct one. A new video promo by Marvel confirms it — with Doctor Strange 2, The Illuminati is officially a part of the Marvel Movie Viewing Order.
In the video released on Monday, it’s Chiwetel Ejiofor as Mordo who confirms The Illuminati’s appearance in the film. The promo includes shots we’ve seen before, including Benedict Cumberbatch as Strange being escorted by the Ultron-like robots. At the end of the 30-second promo, Mordo says, “Stephen Strange, The Illuminati will see you now.” You can watch the video below.
The confirmation of The Illuminati’s appearance in Doctor Strange 2 is sure to have a swift reaction in the MCU’s fandom. While Patrick Stewart’s appearance as Professor X has already been confirmed, there have also been rumors about Tom Cruise appearing as the Superior Iron Man variant of Tony Stark and Wesley Snipes reprising the role of Blade. When you think about all the other non-MCU Marvel films that have been made, not to mention all the fan-castings that were never meant to be or the failed attempts to hook actors into specific Marvel roles, the possibilities of who we may or may not see among the Illuminati are as endless as the Multiverse itself. Considering we already know to expect at least a few variants of Doctor Strange in the film, it wouldn’t be surprising to find at least one of them in The Illuminati’s ranks.
From how the group has been presented so far in the trailers and other videos, most infer that in Doctor Strange 2, The Illuminati is some kind of group of heroes that looks after the integrity of the Multiverse. This would explain why they’ve taken Strange prisoner; presumably because of his actions in Spider-Man: No Way Home.
That isn’t precisely what The Illumiunati is in the comics, however. The clandestine team appearing in Doctor Strange 2 was introduced without explanation in 2005’s New Avengers #7. The group is further explained in the following year’s New Avengers: Illuminati Special. The latter story tells of how the group first formed after the events of the 1971-72 Kree-Skrull War event. The secret group is comprised of heroes either in prominent roles in their respective superhero teams, experts in specific fields, and/or world rulers. The original group is Iron Man, Mister Fantastic, Namor the Sub-Mariner, Black Bolt, Doctor Strange, and Professor X. Black Panther is invited but declines, though he joins later. Along with sharing information between the various hero groups and taking care of issues before they become problems, The Illuminati tends to employ the kinds of ethically shaky methods most hero groups would avoid, like when they trick the Hulk into a space shuttle and exile him into space. While The Illuminati eventually gets involved in the Multiverse in a big way, it isn’t their only concern, and all the members are from the same timeline.
Whether or not The Illuminati of Doctor Strange 2 will feature Tom Cruise, Wesley Snipes, Joaquin Phoenix as a variant Doctor Strange, Ben Affleck as Daredevil, Eric Bana as Bruce Banner, Michael B. Jordan as the Human Torch, or any other former or would-be Marvel stars; it won’t be long before we know for sure. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits theaters next Wednesday, May 4.