Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: What is an Illuminati?  Marvel’s Secret Society Explained

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

But The Multiverse of Madness by Sam Raimi, which brings back Benedict Cumberbatch in the titular role, goes further, much further. From what we know (and can guess) so far, the film has characters venturing into different universes of the MCU multiverse to counter a new threat that puts all reality in jeopardy.

The film, due to its plot, includes several Marvel characters, both returning and new, and if the rumors come true, newer versions of familiar characters. For example, Elizabeth Olsen is in the film as Wanda, but there are also alternate universe versions of the same character, and we expect to encounter several so-called variations of the characters we already know.


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

Here’s everything you need to know about the Illuminati

In the real world, the Illuminati are often linked to wild conspiracy theories. Among other things, many believe that they secretly control the world. But it was a very real organization, or rather very real organizations. Literally, “the enlightened” in Latin, the organization most often referred to as the Illuminati, historically speaking, is the one that was established on May 1, 1776. As the term signifies, the members of the organization were learned people, or at least they thought they were learned.

Their goals were noble enough to oppose injustice, superstition, tyranny, etc. So far from the sinister reputation of the Illuminati in the modern age of social media.


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

Illuminati, Illuminati marvel Illuminati in Marvel Comics.

But its origins, like its real-world counterpart, are not centuries old. It was formed after the Kree-Skrull War. His 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 list, it should be noted, keeps changing.

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

These superheroes worked together to neutralize potential threats to earth. The Illuminati also had an evil counterpart, appropriately called the Cabal. These were characters as nefarious as Norman Osborn, Doctor Doom, and Loki.

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

We see Doctor Strange captured and interrogated by the Illuminati. At least one member is Professor X, a mutant leader possibly from another universe within the Multiverse. There are hints that Tom Cruise could 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 be many more members who we suspect will wow us collectively. Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Mordo or an alternate universe version of the character called Master Mordo can also be a member of the Society. Hayley Atwell’s Captain Carter is probably there too.

Either way, we won’t have to wait long to find out what the MCU version of Illuminati looks like. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness hits theaters on May 6.

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