WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
One of the biggest reveals in the whole two-hour Doctor Strange journey came after Stephen Strange and newfound ally America Chavez are imprisoned in unbreakable chambers at the “Illuminati” headquarters. When the lineup revealed itself, audiences were in an uproar, cheering and clapping for the alternate-universe characters. Marvel Studios have captured the authentic reactions and posted them to Twitter as promo for the cameo appearances in Multiverse of Madness.
The Illuminati, which is based in an alternate reality known as Earth-838 (with the MCU as we know it acting as Earth-616), consists of several mighty heroes who provide council and protection to New York City. Those heroes are familiar faces within the MCU, but not as we know them. For context, the Doctor Strange of Earth-838 was the individual who founded the Illuminati and therefore brought its members together; when 616-Strange arrived in Earth-838, the Illuminati agreed to reside at a hearing to decide whether Strange should be executed, assuming him to be as dangerous and reckless as 838-Strange. Years prior, 838-Strange was executed after using the Darkhold (a book containing sinful and forbidden spells) to dreamwalk, resulting in a multiversal incursion.
Check out the video below, showing Marvel audiences losing their minds over the Illuminati reveal.
Long story short, after Strange and Chavez are captured, the Scarlet Witch invades the Illuminati facility, hoping to take Chavez’s powers for herself. In retaliation, the Illuminati stand and fight the Scarlet Witch, enlisting the help of Captain Carter (an alternate version of Peggy Carter that receives the super-soldier serum instead of Steve Rogers and becomes Captain America), Professor X (Charles Xavier, almost identical to his Fox universe version), Mr. Fantastic (Reed Richards, the leader of the Fantastic Four), Black Bolt (King of the Inhumans), Captain Marvel (the Illuminati version of Brie Larson’s character is Maria Rambeau, the former co-pilot of Carol Danvers). One after the other, the Illuminati are brutally murdered by the Scarlet Witch, who continues to storm the complex and hunt America Chavez.
Audiences were blown away—to say the least—by the shocking reveals, all of which welcomed some iconic characters back to the MCU. Hayley Atwell earned plentiful gasps as Captain Carter, Patrick Stewart received theatre-wide applause as Charles Xavier and Maria Rambeau as Captain Marvel was a well-received addition to the Illuminati, just as much as if it were Brie Larson’s Earth-616 version. Although things didn’t turn out so well for the team, audiences clearly adored the brief glimpse into a different, exciting world.