While the powers that be and the contract writers over at Marvel Studios are notoriously hard-nosed and particular about the information cast members in the MCU films can disclose, sometimes it seems things just slip out. According to ScreenRant, during an interview with Benedict Cumberbatch about his experience during the filming of the forthcoming Doctor Strange movie, the actor may have let a bit more slip than intended…
I think playing any iconic role when you’re stepping into big shoes, into the shadow of people who have come before you and you can’t process that in a movie to movie basis … I’m excited to see where the Illuminati and whatever else might happen, how that works, and where it ends up.”
Wait! What? “The Illuminati”?
This would seem to be a reference to the group of superpowered individuals who have supposedly been together pulling the strings and manipulating the events of the comic side of the Marvel Universe since the Kree-Skrull War (though their existence was only made known in 2005). The group is designed to be composed of leaders in the superhero community who bring different worldviews to the attention of other members of the group who may not be aware.
The original group consisted of Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Namor the Sub-Mariner, Black Bolt, Mr. Fantastic, and Professor X. Each of these heroes represents one or more different aspects of a superpowered Earth: Standard heroics, magic, the seas, the Inhumans, advanced science, and mutants. They attempt to influence what is going on in the hero community on Earth and head off any issues that may threaten the world.
What is readily apparent is that the first four names on that list are, or could be, Marvel Studios properties, while the last two are not. In addition, in the comics, Black Panther, obviously, a Marvel Studios property, was originally invited to join the group but declined.
So what does this mean concerning the Doctor Strange film? Is it possible the Illuminati will show up? Are they already formed or do they form as a result of Doctor Strange’s emergence? The coming of Thanos would certainly register on their “We-Should-Do-Something” scale one might think. And with whom in the MCU would those two characters that other studios hold the rights to be replaced with?
Given the “what will happen?” nature of what will likely come to be called The Cumberbatch Slip (trademark pending), it sounds like a setup. Something briefly mentioned and then left to hang. Something that begs more questions than it answers. Something that piques excitement, curiosity, and buzz. Something that could be the very definition of the MCU Post-Credit Scene.
You can see it, surely. The screen goes black at the end of the acknowledgments. Everyone is sitting in the dark…murmuring…wondering what it’s going to be. Then, lights raise a little, barely lit mist swirling about, maybe you see legs or feet, as the camera pans up…to reveal…
Well, probably Tony Stark/Iron Man, I mean, come on, it’s the MCU, the guy’s got his armored fingers in everything.
And probably Doctor Strange, it’s his movie after all.
And maybe Black Bolt. The Inhumans have been downplayed a bit lately, but this might be a good opportunity to introduce them to the movie side without too much trouble or commitment.
The same thinking with Namor. Perhaps a good time to introduce him without any real explanation. The way they did with Thanos.
(Though I believe if it’s NOT Namor or Black Bolt, Thor will go in there)
And that leaves the Reed Richards and the Professor X slot.
My guesses would be Black Panther of course, accepting the invitation he did not in the comics.
And…Captain Marvel. It’s so obvious once I say it, isn’t it? Who ELSE would be in the Illuminati? And what better time to introduce her? It all makes perfect sense!
And what are they talking about? Why, what to do about the Hulk of course.
(I’m pretty sure it’s this level of speculation that is behind Marvel’s reasoning about keeping the cast QUIET!)
Of course, it’s all guessing, from top to bottom, and if I’m not mistaken, we won’t find out until literally the final minutes of Doctor Strange, which opens on November 4.
Who do YOU think is in the Illuminati? Will there even really be an Illuminati? Was this a real slip, or was it intentional? In the spirit of the Illuminati: let’s hear your theories, which seems only fair since you just sat through mine!