Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness finally introduced MCU audiences to a long-awaited Marvel team: the Illuminati. In the build-up to the blockbuster event, fans were eager to see which familiar faces would make up the roster, and the sequel certainly delivered with appearances from Baron Mordo, Charles Xavier, Captain Carter, Black Bolt, Captain Marvel, and Mr. Fantastic.
Benedict Cumberbatch's Doctor Strange bumped into the Illuminati during his adventures on Earth-838 as he sought to protect America Chavez from Scarlet Witch. Unfortunately, the Illuminati ultimately underestimated the threat and all fell victim to Wanda's wrath - with the one exception of Mordo.
Following the Multiverse-hopping blockbuster, Ms. Marvel just recently premiered as Marvel Studios' latest outing, introducing audiences to Avengers super-fan Kamala Khan. Given the obsessive fandom of Iman Vellani's hero, the series has been packed with references to the MCU's biggest heroes and events.
In the second episode, Ms. Marvel made reference to Multiverse of Madness' Illuminati, creating a significant inconsistency with a scene from the sequel.
Ms. Marvel Raises Doctor Strange 2 Questions
During the Eid Mubarak festival celebration, Nakia recruits Kamala and Bruno to assist in her campaign for the Mosque Board. The electoral candidate separates those at the event into six different groups: the Mosque Bros, Pious Boys, Sunday School Teachers, Insta Clique, Converts/Reverts, Mini Harami Girls, and Illumin-Aunties.
Nakia's naming of the Illumin-Aunties implies the existence of some concept of an Illuminati on Earth-616, whether that be the heroic Marvel team, another secret group, or just a general term for those working in the shadows. However, when Doctor Strange is first introduced to Earth-838's Illuminati, he reacts with confusion: "The Illumi-whaty?“
Strange appeared to be unfamiliar with the name, which seems peculiar considering that he of all people would know of such a term being a former Sorcerer Supreme. The fact Nakia, Bruno, and Kamala are aware of the term, even if it's just colloquially as a catchall for shadowy organizations rather than the MCU's rendition, creates an inconsistency: Strange should have at least heard of what an Illuminati is.
This somewhat ruins the scene as the all-powerful, all-knowing Stephen Strange has been shortchanged by a couple of high schoolers.
Earth-838's Illuminati included Variants of Baron Mordo, Black Bolt, Captain Carter, Captain Marvel, Professor X, and Mr. Fantastic - of which, only Mordo survived the encounter with the Scarlet Witch.
Even in the real world, the Illuminati is speculated to be a secret society of the world's elite who seek to establish the "New World Order." The purported organization was the subject of viral memes in the mid-2010s, so perhaps the youths of Marvel may be more aware of the term than someone like a more out-of-touch Doctor Strange.
This was likely a mistake on the writers' part, not thinking about the implication of using the Illuminati term for Ms. Marvel's groups of fearsome aunties. The writers of Ms. Marvel probably weren't even aware the Illuminati were coming to the MCU while writing the series. But, there could be a potential in-universe solution – although it's a flimsy one.
Does the MCU Have an Illuminati Already?
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness' placement on the MCU timeline could help in solving this problem. With Strange unaware of the concept of the Illuminati before Multiverse of Madness, the heroic team probably doesn't yet exist in the MCU.
If the Doctor Strange sequel occurs before Ms. Marvel, it's, in theory, possible that the former Sorcerer Supreme could have returned to Earth, set up his own Illuminati, and sparked rumblings that led all the way back to Kamala and her pals. Perhaps having now met Earth-838's team, the Avenging sorcerer will now move to assemble the Illuminati on Earth-616 in the wake of Thanos' attack on all reality.
The covert think-tank of heroes was first assembled in the comics in the wake of the Kree-Skrull war to exchange information and develop strategies to protect Earth.
In terms of who would be recruited to such a team, each member of Multiverse of Madness' roster was there to represent a different corner of the Marvel universe: cosmic, science, magic, Avengers, Mutants, and Inhumans. Following this template, the eventual MCU roster may include Captain Marvel, Mr. Fantastic, Doctor Strange, and Sam Wilson's Captain America, with slots open for Mutant and Inhuman representatives whenever Marvel Studios gets around to incorporating them.
Kamala Khan's latest adventures are streaming now, exclusively on Disney+; Doctor Strange's Multiverse-romp will be coming to the service on June 22.