Marvel introduced the Illuminati in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. They appeared in an alternate universe, so they’re not necessarily the Illuminati who will appear in the MCU, but they were fan favorites nonetheless. Now that viewers have seen them, screenwriter Michael Waldron and director Sam Raimi addressed the Illuminati.
[Warning: This article contains spoilers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.]
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is out on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD July 26, but it is already available digitally. In the bonus features and commentary, Waldron and Raimi detailed their plans for the Illuminati.
Marvel let Michael Waldron break the movie
By the time Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness reveals the Illuminati, things have gotten pretty crazy. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) has ventured into another reality where he meets Christine (Rachel McAdams) and learns that version of Strange died. Then, he faces the Illuminati.
“The idea for the Illuminati came from me thinking oh, we’re in the second act,” Waldron said in the bonus features. “Something’s got to happen. All right, let’s break the movie and do something really nuts.”
Raimi chose the Illuminati for the fans in ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’
The Illuminati who appear in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness are not the exact same members as in the comic books. Raimi chose the characters he thought would make the fans happy.
“When Marvel first wrote about the Illuminati, Dr. Doom was among them. Reed Richards, Dr. Strange but we had to make a selection,” Raimi said in the bonus features. “And so we did take into account what the fans wanted to see. We wanted the fans to go, ‘Oh, how cool.’ That really was our goal. We wanted to give the fans what they wanted, just not exactly what they expected.”
In the commentary track. Raimi credited Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige with selecting John Krasinski as Reed Richards.
“It’s so funny that Kevin cast John because the fans had a dream of who the perfect Reed Richards would be,” Raimi said. “And because this is an alternate universe, I think Kevin said, ‘Let’s make that dream come true.’ I’ve always really enjoyed all of his performances.”
Other Illuminati Easter eggs
The commentary also points out that Richards’ costume pays homage to the comics, and he even teleports into the scene using Dr. Doom’s time door.
“Alternate Peggy Carter, Captain Carter that got the serum,” Waldron said in the bonus features. “That’s awesome to see her kick ass. Hayley Atwell is obviously somebody that the fans love. Maria Rambeau as Captain Marvel is so cool. Lashana [Lynch] brings so much to that character. And then the big surprise, Professor X. It’s just an honor for me to get to sit and type those words and introduce him in the world of the MCU. Everybody making comic book movies owe him a great debt so we pay him off by killing him violently.”
Raimi added that the decision for who would be in the Illuminati cut it pretty close.
“Your changes to the script came in late as far as introducing the Illuminati, you worked on it in August of that year,” Raimi said in the commentary. “It was quite a surprise probably to Graham Churchyard to have five new superhero costumes suddenly thrust upon him that were necessary for delivery in such a short amount of time. He really came through.”