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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: What is Illuminati? Marvel’s secret society explained

Benedict Cumberbatch-starrer Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness includes multiple Marvel characters, both returning and new, and if rumours come true, newer versions of familiar characters. It also introduces the Illuminati from Marvel Comics, which is quite a bit different from its real-world counterpart.

Marvel Illuminati, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of madness, doctor strangeMarvel's Illuminati will debut in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. (Photo: Marvel Studios, 20th Century Fox and Marvel Comics)

With Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Marvel Studios appears to be trying to outdo itself. Spider-Man: No Way Home marked a big departure in MCU, in that it was the first movie in the universe to incorporate the concept of multiverse.

But Sam Raimi’s Multiverse of Madness, which brings back Benedict Cumberbatch in the titular role, takes it further, much further. From what we know (and can guess) so far, the film has characters venturing out into different universes in the MCU multiverse to counter a new threat that is endangering all reality.

The movie, by virtue of its plot, includes multiple Marvel characters, both returning and new, and if rumours come true, newer versions of familiar characters. For instance, Elizabeth Olsen is in the movie as Wanda, but there are also alternate universe versions of the same character, and we expect we will meet multiple so-called variants of the characters we know already.

There is also the Illuminati. While Marvel or MCU’s version of illuminati is clearly inspired by the real-world secret society, it is also different and has that comic-booky flavour.

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Here is everything you need to know about Illuminati

In the real-world the Illuminati is often connected to wild conspiracy theories. Among other things, many believe they secretly control the world. But it was indeed a very real organisation, or more accurately very real organisations. Literally, “the enlightened” in Latin, the organisation that is most often referred to as the Illuminati, historically speaking, is the one that was created on May 1, 1776. As the term means, the members of the organisation were learned people, or at least they thought they were learned.

Their goals were noble enough, to oppose injustice, superstition, tyranny and so on. So a far cry from the sinister reputation of the Illuminati in modern, social media-drive era.

But what about Marvel’s Illuminati? Comic-book writers have for decades borrowed concepts from the real-world to give an authentic feel to the stories. In Marvel Comics, the Illuminati is, of course, made up of superheroes. It is actually a superhero team, not very different from the Avengers, only it’s secret.

Illuminati in Marvel Comics.

But its origins, like its real-world counterpart, are not centuries old. It was formed after the Kree-Skrull War. Its initial roster included Tony Stark (representing the Avengers), Reed Richards (representing Fantastic Four), Namor (representing Atlantis), Black Bolt (representing Inhumans), Doctor Strange (Sorcerer Supreme of Earth), Professor Charles Xavier (representing mutants). Black Panther was invited, but refused to join. The roster, it must be noted, keeps changing.

The belief behind the organisation was that different superhero teams knew bits of information about the Kree and the Skrulls, and if they had worked together, the war would not have ravaged the planet.

These superheroes together worked to neutralise potential threats to the earth. The Illuminati also had a villainous counterpart, suitable called the Cabal. It consisted to such nefarious characters as Norman Osborn, Doctor Doom, and Loki.


How does it figure into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness?

We see Doctor Strange being captured and interrogated by the Illuminati. At least one member is Professor X, a mutant leader from perhaps another universe within the multiverse. There are hints that Tom Cruise may appear as Superior Iron Man, a less conscientious version of the Iron Man we know. If true, he may also be a member of the Illuminati. There will in all likelihood many more members that will, we suspect, blow our collective minds. Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Mordo or an alternate universe version of the character called Master Mordo may also be a member of the society. Hayley Atwell’s Captain Carter is probably there too.

In any case, we will not have to wait long to find out how MCU’s version of Illuminati looks like. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will hit the theatres on May 6.



First published on: 03-05-2022 at 08:05:51 am
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