Succulent, juicy spoilers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness ahead.
Even though Michael Waldron did eventually get around to admitting he floated the possibility of having Tom Cruise play an Iron Man variant in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it sounds as though the writer managed to assemble exactly the Illuminati dream team he always envisioned.
That’s not to say it would have been easy, when the various members of the multiversal brain trust have wildly disparate origins both in and outside of canon. Hayley Atwell said she was done with Peggy Carter following Avengers: Endgame, while Patrick Stewart had been adamant that Logan marked his last stand as Charles Xavier.
Anson Mount headlined the worst Marvel Studios-adjacent project we’ve ever had the misfortune of seeing as Inhumans‘ Black Bolt, Lashana Lynch’s Maria Rambeau was killed offscreen during the Blip, and John Krasinski’s Reed Richards had always been kept to the realms of fan-casting above all else, so it looked nigh-on impossible on paper.
It was a hell of an introduction, though, one that sent theaters the world over into a state of rapturous excitement, with Waldron revealing to The Hollywood Reporter that he still can’t believe he pulled it off.
“No, that scene wasn’t even in my outline. I just wrote it in, and they were like, “This is cool. We should do it.” And then it was a constant back and forth of figuring out who’s the right mix of characters. Who makes sense to actually be in an alternate universe Illuminati? And who we ended up with felt like that was the impossible group. We never thought we’d get all of those people, but we did.”
It remains to be seen what the future holds for any of the Illuminati, but even if we never see them again, it was an unforgettable moment in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.