As November approaches, so does the release of Marvel’s latest cinematic offering, ‘Doctor Strange‘. In addition to featuring the cinematic debut of a classic Marvel character, the much anticipated film promises to broaden the scope and possibilities of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by introducing magic into its world (and doing so in a much more concrete way than either of the Thor films, which presented Asgard as something closer to “sufficiently advanced technology which is indistinguishable from magic”). But it may be introducing more to the MCU than magic, as a recent interview with Screen Rant saw star Benedict Cumberbatch allude to the existence of the Illuminati in the film.
In Cumberbatch’s own words:
“I think playing any iconic role when you’re stepping into big shoes, into the shadow of people who have come before you and you can’t process that in a movie to movie basis… I’m excited to see where the Illuminati and whatever else might happen, how that works, and where it ends up. So, yeah, I’m aware of his place within the comic pantheon of it all, the Marvelverse, but I don’t email Kevin saying, “When are we doing next film?” I’m excited to see. I’m excited to see. And as you know, from all these previous incarnations, the play out in unexpected ways from the comic format and journey, so they manage to both fulfill that magical space of doing things that seem to please diehard fans and bring something new as well. So, I guess that’ll be the centerpiece for this guy’s journey.”
As portrayed in the comics, the Illuminati is a shadowy group of the Marvel Universe’s most powerful individuals who shape events from behind the scenes. Of course, Cumberbatch’s comments don’t necessarily mean that the Illuminati will appear in ‘Doctor Strange’ or indeed in future Marvel films. He could just as easily be making reference to possible future developments based on whatever knowledge of the comics he possesses. But supposing this does mean that the Illuminati are making the jump to the screen. What form would the organization take? After all, when they were introduced ten years ago, the group consisted of Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Mr. Fantastic, Namor, Black Bolt and Professor X. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the bulk of that list is made of character who either have yet to be introduced or to whom Marvel does not currently hold the movie rights. A hypothetical MCU incarnation of the Illuminati would therefore have to take at least a somewhat different form. And then there’s the chance that Cumberbatch could be referring to an organization in the film that simply shares a name with the familiar comic book iteration. The possibilities, of course, are endless, and we will no doubt have to wait until the film’s release before we have any sort of definitive answer.
The latest installment in the sprawling Marvel Cinematic Universe, ‘Doctor Strange’ will land in theaters on November 4, 2016. The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Benedict Wong, Mads Mikkelsen, and Tilda Swinton.
Would you like to see the Illuminati in the MCU? What role do you think they should fill if they do appear? Let us know in the comments below!