In Marvel Studios’ epic adventure-horror, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), the eponymous sorcerer finds himself traversing across the multiverse with companion, America Chavez. After zipping through various different universes (including one made of paint), the pair find themselves on Earth-838 – a world in which the Doctor Strange of this reality is long since dead.
Shortly after arriving and learning of the 838-Doctor’s demise, Doctor Strange and America Chavez meet the 838-version of Karl Mordo. But Mordo is distrustful of Strange and puts him in front of a secret cabal of heroes, known as the Illuminati.
The Illuminati converse with Strange and reveal the important role they play in protecting the multiverse. They want to ensure that this Strange isn’t a threat to their world or a threat to the wider universes.
The Illuminati is comprised of six members, all of whom are already familiar to audiences in some way, shape, or form. But if you’re not sure who they all are, you may be asking the question: Who are the Illuminati and where have these heroes previously appeared?
The six members of the Illuminati are as follows:
- Karl Mordo
- Captain Peggy Carter
- Captain Marvel/Maria Rambeau
- Black Bolt
- Professor Charles Xavier
- Mister Fantastic/Reed Richards
Karl Mordo is played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, who first appeared in 2016’s Doctor Strange. As for Captain Marvel, she is played by Lashana Lynch, who played the role of Maria Rambeau in 2019’s Captain Marvel.
Captain Peggy Carter is played by Hayley Atwell, who first appeared as Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), before reprising the role for Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Ant-Man (2015) and Avengers: Endgame (2019), as well as the television shows Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and Agent Carter. The character started off as a regular human before getting an upgrade to the super-soldier known as Captain Carter in the animated television series, What If?.
Black Bolt is played by Anson Mount, reprising the role from the television series, Inhumans. As for Professor Charles Xavier, actor Patrick Stewart returns to the part, having played the mutant telepath in multiple X-Men movies dating all the way back to 2000’s X-Men and running through X-Men 2 (2003), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), The Wolverine (2013), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), and Logan (2017).
The only actor not reprising a role within the Illuminati is John Krasinski, who takes on the part of Mister Fantastic – the leader of the Fantastic Four. Richards has previously appeared in movies, including 2005’s Fantastic Four, 2007’s Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, and 2015’s Fantastic Four, where he was played by Ioan Gruffudd in the first two films, and Miles Teller in the latter movie.
So, why did Krasinski take on this role, rather than an actor who is previously associated with the role? Well, this was largely to tie into some online fan-casting.
For some time, Marvel fans have made it known that they would like to see Krasinski take on the role of Reed Richards in a Fantastic Four film. Marvel quietly agreed with the fans, and cast the actor for the part, so that he could appear in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness as this version of Reed Richards.
So, there you go. Six members of the Illuminati, all present and accounted for.
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