With the latest trailer for Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness showing just how crazy things are going to get in this movie, the hype is reaching Spider-Man: No Way Home levels. Everything from Wanda Maximoff's role, the idea of multiple Stephen Stranges, and the perceived Illuminati reveal has the internet dissecting everything from trailers to toys, to posters.
With so many open-ended possibilities on the table, when a theory has two points of validity, it rises to the top of the list.
It was revealed that Patrick Stewart will be featured as a part of the Multiversal Illuminati, presumably reprising his FOX-Men role as Professor Charles Xavier. But who else could be joining Prof. X in this cabinet?
Six chairs were counted and some hints were dropped to fill a few. The Illuminati is traditionally full of uber-powerful intellectuals and team-leaders from the Marvel Universe. There is reason to believe that Variant versions of those types of characters from former MCU projects will be showing up.
And the inclusion of one specific type of super-robot makes one powerful MCU intellectual at better odds than others to appear around the table with Professor X and friends.
Will Hank Pym Be A Member Of The Illuminati?
There are plenty of candidates for Marvel characters across the comics and cinematic universes to appear as members of the Illuminati in Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness. But when an established character played by a high-level actor checks multiple boxes on the application, it is hard not to make them a favorite. Hank Pym checks a wide variety of those boxes.
Hank Pym, played by Michael Douglas, is a Marvel Comics founder of The Avengers with elite-level power, intellect, and storylines throughout the history between the pages. However, his MCU adaptation is much different.
Pym was brought into the MCU as a much older version of Ant-Man who played a mentor role with a "wink-and-nod"-type backstory. There are a good number of Hank Pym stories and attributes that have not been put on screen. Not yet anyway.
One of, if not the most glaring omissions from the Hank Pym lore in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is his involvement with Avengers villain, Ultron. Ultron was given enough prowess in this universe to be the main antagonist of Avengers: Age of Ultron.
In the comics, Hank Pym is directly responsible for the creation of Ultron. That duty was passed down to fellow science-bro-geniuses Tony Stark and Bruce Banner.
So, what's a great way to kill two Ultron-bots with one repulsor blast and bring Ultron and Hank Pym's history to the big screen? Including Ultron-bots as security for the MCU Multiverse Illuminati's Hank Pym.
Pym has the intellectual prowess established in the MCU. Michael Douglas is an actor that brings a level of prestige to any scene he is in. And the Ultron storyline is a great clever way to bring comic book fans to their feet.
The inclusion of Ultron-Bots in this trailer does not confirm Hank Pym as a member of the Illuminati in the MCU, but it does put his name on the shortlist.
Familiar Faces in Unfamiliar Places
There have not been any members of the Illuminati officially confirmed by anyone involved with this show.
Patrick Stewart's Professor X is the only sure thing based on trailer footage. Baron Mordo is as close to the lock as possible given his time in the trailer, and the only moving silhouette from the mysterious wide-shot of the council. And a Maria Rambeau variant given the Captain Marvel treatment is the screenshot champion of the Illuminati guessing contest.
Stewart's Professor X is likely the biggest reveal of this team. There are names like Reed Richards and Namor the Submariner who have comic book ties to this team of super-minds that many believe will be making an appearance. Some water thrown on that fire is the idea that Marvel Studios would share this spotlight between multiple A-tier characters as Multiversal Variants of the versions we are likely to meet down the road in the MCU.
In a universe where fans have already seen the final boss version of Kang, three Spider-Men on screen at the same time, and ambiguous reveals of Charlie Cox's Daredevil and Vincent D'onofrio's Kingpin, it is hard to imagine more than one major character will be introduced in a similar fashion. Especially in a movie that is already featuring three variants of the title character.
Baron Mordo and Monica Rambeau are both heavy favorites based on their perceived inclusion in the trailer (but we know how that goes.). And of course, the Ultron theory makes Hank Pym another huge contender. So, with Stewart's Professor X being the special exception, it looks like Multiverse of Madness is trending towards rounding out the team with variants of MCU characters fans are familiar with, and not more character debuts with these circumstances.
Look for Captain Carter to be a popular name along with Tom Hiddleston's Loki, who was rumored to be a part of this film in the earliest stages of production. With so much mystery and high-stakes surrounding this movie, it is refreshing to find something substantial to build anticipation.