The messy Marvel Cinematic Multiverse is about to come under some new management... or rather, new managers are about to be revealed in the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Because as this newest teaser for the film has revealed, the erstwhile Sorcerer Supreme is about to be hauled in front of the Illuminati for his rampant reality-tampering.
The Illuminati, if you’re unaware, is/was a secret council in the Marvel Comics universe comprised of Doctor Strange, Iron Man, Professor X, Namor the King of Atlantis, Black Bolt the King of the Inhumans, and Reed Richards, aka Mister Fantastic of the Fantastic Four, who were stealthily working together to “mold and shape the status of the superhuman world and the world around it,” according to Marvel’s official bio page for the group (Black Panther was invited to join, but declined), after the events of the Kree-Skrull War. The rumors that the Illuminati would be a part of Multiverse of Madness erupted when Patrick Stewart’s distinctive voice was heard in the movie’s last full trailer, leading fans to suspect the actor would be reprising his role as Professor X from the (now Disney-owned) X-Men movie franchise. This is almost certainly true, now that this teaser has confirmed the Illuminati are real:
They also seem to be in charge of governing the multiverse, unless Marvel Studios is going to retcon the X-Men movies into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which seems highly unlikely (surely they’d want a clean mutant movie slate, although thanks to multiverse shenanigans Stewart could again play Professor X in the new movies, just as J.K. Simmons returned as J. Jonah Jameson in the Spider-Man movies). But how the Illuminati do or don’t mesh with Kang, the other guy who appointed himself in charge of the multiverse in the Loki TV series, will definitely require an answer.
Still, the bigger question is, who else will be part of the Illuminati? Because it can’t just be Xavier sitting up there. Will Robert Downey Jr. come back to play a Tony Stark from another reality, or will someone else step in? Those are Ultron-esque bots leading Strange to the council, after all. Might Anson Mount from the Inhumans miniseries make an appearance? Hopefully not, because Inhumans remains the very worst MCU-adjacent thing Marvel has ever made, and after all, he’s busy commanding the Enterprise. Could the movie introduce Namor or Mister Fantastic, or will other characters fill their seats? Will someone other than a white man/inhuman make the cut?
We will find out very shortly, as Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness premieres on May 6. Oh, and just because there are a lot of empty chairs in the teaser doesn’t mean they won’t be full in the movie; remember, Marvel has a habit of photoshopping characters out of promo material they want to keep secret...
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