One of the most buzzed-about elements of Multiverse of Madness prior to its release has been the introduction of the Illuminati, the secret organization of some of the most powerful superhero figures in the universe. While the Illuminati have very specific comic roots, their appearance in Multiverse of Madness takes a decidedly different shape — and includes some surprising characters. Here’s what you need to know about the members of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness‘ Illuminati. Obviously, major spoilers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness lurk below! Only look if you want to know!
(Photo: Marvel Studios)Our first exposure to the world of the Illuminati comes from Strange and America meeting the Baron Karl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) of Earth-, who has become the Sorcerer Supreme following the passing of his Earth’s Stephen Strange. From the jump, this version of Mordo appears to have a more positive relationship with Strange than his Earth-616 counterpart, until it is eventually revealed that he encouraged his Strange’s death so he could take his power for himself.
Surprisingly, 838-Mordo is one of the few characters among the Illuminati to not get killed by Wanda (who was dreamwalking through the body of 838-Wanda). That being said, he’s essentially left in a literal hole in the Illuminati headquarters during the fight, and we don’t see him for the remainder of the movie.
(Photo: Marvel Entertainment)One of the first surprises among the Illuminati roster is Peggy Carter / Captain Carter (Hayley Atwell), who is billed as being “the First Avenger.” Fans will recognize Captain Carter from 2021’s What If…? animated series, which chronicled an alternate reality in which Peggy took the super-soldier serum in the 1940s instead of Steve Rogers.
While the live-action Peggy sports a costume and a shield that are essentially identical to how she’s portrayed in What If…?, it is unclear if this is meant to be the same exact version of the character. After all, we know that What If…? has more story to tell with Peggy in future seasons — which would potentially be undercut or narratively complicated by the fact that Multiverse of Madness‘ Peggy is chopped in half with her own shield by Wanda.
(Photo: Marvel Studios)Also among the Illuminati roster is Captain Marvel — but not the Carol Danvers incarnation that fans might recognize. Instead, an alternate version of Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch), Carol’s best friend and fellow test pilot in the Air Force, is the one who acquired cosmic powers and the Captain Marvel identity in this universe.
(Photo: Marvel Entertainment)Multiverse of Madness also manages to include characters who were on the Illuminati in the comics — but with a twist. In particular, the team features an alternate version of Blackagar Boltagon / Black Bolt (Anson Mount), the ruler of Attilan and the leader of the Inhuman royal family. While Mount previously portrayed Black Bolt on the critically-panned Inhumans ABC series, Multiverse of Madness gives him another shot at playing the role, complete with a comic-accurate costume and headpiece that were missing from his first portrayal.
Black Bolt ends up playing a surprisingly key role in the goings-on of the Illuminati, as his highly-destructive and deadly vocal abilities are used to kill 838-Strange with a literal whisper. This then backfires when Wanda uses magic to take away Black Bolt’s mouth, and the vocal reaction he has to that unintentionally traps his powers within his head, exploding his skull and killing him violently.
Perhaps the most shocking cameo among the Illuminati, for an array of various reasons, is Earth-838’s version of Reed Richards / Mister Fantastic (John Krasinski). Not only does this mark the first instance of any Fantastic Four characters, or elements tied to the iconic team, being significantly folded into the MCU, but it serves as the culmination of years of fans wanting to see Krasinski in the role, as the The Office and A Quiet Place star has remained the most popular fancast for the character.
Over his very brief appearance, we learn that 838-Reed is not only in charge of the Baxter Foundation (which 838-Christine Palmer works out of), but he also already has children with his wife, Sue Storm. Unfortunately, Krasinski’s Reed is not long for this world, as Wanda’s magic uses his stretching powers to stretch out his body into small strands and kill him.
(Photo: 20th Century Studios)And finally, the months of speculation and rumors kicked off by Multiverse of Madness‘ Super Bowl trailer come to pass, with the reveal that Charles Xavier / Professor X (Patrick Stewart) is, in fact, part of the Illuminati. While Stewart’s previously portrayals of Professor X have traversed time and space and included some interesting elements, the aesthetics of his Multiverse of Madness version bear a surprising resemblance to the version of the character in the 1990s X-Men: The Animated Series, complete with a green suit and a bright yellow hovering wheelchair.
Professor X is one of the last Illuminati members to face off against Wanda, and he briefly utilizes his telepathic powers to try to free 838-Wanda from the dreamwalking controls. Ultimately, it proves to be futile, as 616-Wanda telepathically snaps his neck — which then also kills him in the real world.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now playing exclusively in theaters.