Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness has received mostly positive reviews from critics and is already the third biggest film of the year at the worldwide box office.
There were also fans who cheered and applauded at the sight of the many versatile cameos, some of which were featured in the trailers and others were closely guarded secrets.
Who are these familiar faces of fans who have had diehard Marvel headlines in a frenzy, and what does this mean for the ever-expanding and seemingly endless Marvel movie universe (MCU)?
Read on to find out more, but beware – here are spoilers.
What in the multiverse is the Illuminati?
Most of the cool cameos that have fans spilling their popcorn and spitting their soda come from a mid-movie performance by a group known as the Illuminati.
much like with the real conspiracy theorythe Illuminati of the Marvel Comics is a secret cabal of some of the best and brightest who are secretly running the world.
The group was formed by Tony Stark (aka Iron Man) in the wake of an intergalactic battle that threatened Earth after Stark realized that several super-powered individuals had important information about the aliens involved, but did not share it with each other.
The first draft of the Illuminati comic book featured Iron Man, Reed Richards (aka Mr Fantastic), Professor Charles Xavier of the X-Men, Black Bolt of the Inhumans, Black Panther of Wakanda, Sorcerer Supreme Dr Stephen Strange and Namor the Sub – Sailor of Atlantis.
Over the years, the group has met in secret to discuss how to deal with major threats, including the decision to launch the Hulk into space because he proved too great a threat to Earth (which totally backfired). in the excellent World War II Hulk comic series).
They’ve also tackled Incursions, which are mentioned in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and occur when two adjacent multiverses threaten to collide and destroy each other unless one can be destroyed.
The members of the Illuminati have changed over the years and the group has broken up a few times, but their mission to save the Earth remains a common way for comic book writers to explore morality, sacrifice, philosophical ideas and the idea that even the smartest people can do incredibly stupid things.
But what you really want to know is who is in the MCU version of the Illuminati?
Here goes – last chance to save from the spoilers.
Patrick Stewart – Professor Charles Xavier
There has been talk of a Marvel reboot or crossover of the X-Men since Disney bought 20th Century Fox in a deal finalized in 2019.
It finally kind of happened here with Professor X appearing as part of the Illuminati on Earth-838 (that’s the number assigned to the Illuminati multiverse).
The OG Xavier, played by Stewart for the eighth time, appears on the sound of the nostalgic theme from the 90s X-Men cartoon, and doesn’t look like he’s aged a day since 2017’s Logan.
Stewart’s cameo not only officially crosses the streams of the Fox X-Men movies and the MCU, but suggests that there are other mutants in this universe and that his School for Gifted Youngsters probably exists.
John Krasinski – Reed Richards (aka Mr. Fantastic)
Portrayed by Miles Teller in 2015’s Fantastic Four, Ioan Guffudd in 2005 and 2007, and Alex Hyde-White in the legendary unreleased 1994 versionKrasinski’s iteration of Mr Fantastic received much acclaim and cheers in movie theaters.
A closely guarded secret, Krasinski as Reed Richards is a casting for a dream fan, and the reaction to his appearance confirms this.
While we don’t see Richards using his ultra-stretch limbs much before meeting a painful ending, it’s probably a safe bet to say that this won’t be the last time we’ll see Krasinski’s Mr Fantastic in the MCU, given his popular reception and the fact that a Fantastic Four reboot is in development.
But it begs the question: Will we see the equally popular fancasting of Krasinski’s wife, Emily Blunt, as Richards’ wife Sue Storm (aka the Invisible Woman) in the MCU?
Hayley Atwell – Captain Carter
One of the best episodes of the Disney+ animated series What If introduced us to Captain Carter, the answer to the question, “What if Peggy Carter got the super soldier serum instead of Steve Rogers?”
Captain Carter’s big-screen debut gives Atwell the chance to put a new spin on the popular character Peggy Carter, who was last seen slow-dancing with Captain America in the closing moments of Avengers: Endgame.
The live-action version of Captain Carter gives fans hope that we’ll see her again – while her Earth-838 version comes to a grisly end via her own shield, she turns out to be just as cool as her animated counterpart, if not even cooler because she has a jetpack and everyone knows that jetpacks make everything cooler.
Lashana Lynch – Captain Marvel
There have been a number of Captain Marvels in the comics, including one called Monica Rambeau, who took the name before handing it back to Carol Danvers and becoming known as Photon, then Pulsar, and finally Spectrum – this sort of thing happens a lot in the comics.
Monica Rambeau has appeared in the MCU before; as a child in 2019’s Captain Marvel and as an adult government agent in the Disney+ series WandaVision.
But it’s her mother, Maria, played by Lashana Lynch in Captain Marvel, who shows up here as the hyper-powered space fighter, suggesting an intriguing alternate path where Maria becomes Captain Marvel instead of her best friend and fellow fighter pilot Carol Danvers.
This may be the last we see of Maria, but daughter Monica appears in the upcoming movie The Marvels, fueling speculation that she’ll become Photon – or is that Pulsar? Or spectrum?
Speaking of speculation, a split-second shot of Maria Rambeau in action in the trailer caused a frenzied online buzz that Tom Cruise would be appearing as an alternate multiverse Iron Man, but it wasn’t to be.
Take that as you wish.
Anson Mount – Black Bolt
It was a cameo that gave Scarlet Witch the best episode of the best line in the movie – “What mouth?” — and also one of the film’s most horrific deaths.
Black Bolt previously appeared in the one-season TV series Inhumans, which received such bad reviews that only the most diehard Marvel fans bothered to watch it.
It’s a shame it was such a failure, because Black Bolt is a cool character – not that we get much of a chance to see it in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness before accidentally blowing his own brain with his super-powered voice.
Given how poorly received Inhumans was, this could be Mount’s last appearance as Black Bolt.
Of course, the death of all of these characters doesn’t necessarily preclude them from resurfacing in the MCU in another movie or their own spin-off TV shows – after all, this is the multiverse, so there are infinite versions of these superheroes in an infinite number of universes. populate.
But what about Charlize Theron?
Theron recently took to social media to reveal her mid-credits appearance as Clea, a sorceress who magically appears on a New York street and Dr. Strange asks to follow her to the Dark Dimension to help prevent a raid.
In the comics, Clea is the niece of Dormammu (the villain in the first Dr. Strange film) and Strange’s lover, who accompanies him on a series of increasingly strange adventures.
Since Dormammu is still around and Clea’s appearance in the film is over just as quickly as it started, it’s safe to say she’ll have a substantial role in future Dr Strange movies.
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