Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness introduced viewers to the wonderfully weird world of Earth-838, where people go on red and stop on green. More importantly, however, the reality is also home to the Illuminati, an extremely powerful group protecting the world in the shadows—yes, even after Tony Stark's Ultron program was successful.
Thanks to Wanda and her dream walking, the group didn't make it to the end of the movie. But, when they were alive, how peaceful was their world actually? A secret society ruling from out of sight usually isn't something that brings happy-bubbly feelings for the everyday folks living in that universe.
Yet, everything seemed to be in order. Supervillains weren't running around the streets, and this world's Wanda was even able to retire. Well, a new interview with the film's writer has revealed an unspoken secret about that timeline that paints a darker picture over their peaceful existence.
The Illuminati Universe's Dark Secret Revealed
According to the writer, Earth-838 "[is] a little bit of a police state." This is so much the case that any memories that happen to pop up on Memory Lane from visitors there "[could] be admissible in a court of law:"
"The funny thing about Memory Lane is that... It's not in there, but my secret history of 838 is it's a little bit of a police state. And you can see, everybody is dressed uniformly, it's like a little bit of an Orwellian feel to it. Cause I was always like, 'Alright, why does this Memory Lane thing exist?' I wrote a bunch of what was essentially fine print that I do think we recorded, but it just doesn't... You can't quite hear it, but it's like the guy is saying in the background, he's like, 'Disclaimer: Any memories of crimes committed or so-and-so can be admissible in a court of law...' Memory Lane is really the state's attempt to minority report you into admitting a crime you committed. That's my dark secret about Memory Lane."
Waldron continued to elaborate in a separate interview with Vanity Fair, noting how "[he doesn't] know how much of that translates on the screen," but that the authorities could "store your memories and if they find any crimes committed, you can be liable."
He then talked about Xochitl Gomez's America Chavez, and when it is they decided to add the backstory about her two mothers. Waldron admitted that the real specificity of her with her parents came a little bit later in the process" and that he initially felt they should hold back some of that information for "America's [potential] solo outing:"
"Getting into the real specificity of her with her parents came a little bit later in the process. It felt, at least to me initially, that maybe we should hold some of that back. It felt like the sort of stuff you’d rather answer when you’re getting into America’s solo outing. But as we continued to build the story, we found that we wanted to know more about her. And, really, Strange would want to know more about her. It was just honest to their relationship and conversations."
The Illuminati Might Not Be Great in Practice
While the dark secret revealed by Waldron wasn’t directly stated in the movie, it’s not exactly a surprise. With how quickly the Illuminati got a hold of Strange and apprehended him, they clearly have a tight hold around the goings-on in their world.
The big question - since Earth-616 will almost certainly see its own group of Illuminati come into play, will the MCU see its prime timeline become ethically questionable with the group active in the shadows? Their entire existence is meant to pose a big philosophical dilemma, as it’s a running theme of their existence—so it’s safe to expect a further exploration of these concepts going forward.
Though, at least with Earth-616, the world doesn’t have a successful Ultron program, which undoubtedly would have been a little oppressive in order to protect everybody to the extent it was designed for. Add on the Illuminati, and both of those things probably make for a situation that isn’t as great as it may seem on the surface.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now streaming on Disney+.