Let's Break Down The Illuminati In Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness

Read with caution. Spoilers for "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" are below.

The multiversal madness has begun. Marvel Studio's first film of the year, the highly anticipated, Sam Raimi-directed "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," is finally here. As expected, the movie features many new characters and trippy battles. It also presents new magical artifacts (did you get a good look at the Book of Vishanti?). Still, there's one show-stealing scene that was met with thundering applause; the long-awaited appearance of the Illuminati! The superhero secret society was first introduced in 2005's "New Avengers #7" and featured the characters of Professor Charles Xavier, Doctor Strange, Reed Richards, Iron Man, Black Bolt, and Namor.

In the film, Doctor Strange and America Chavez (who belong to the designated universe of Earth-616) are arrested by the multiversal, Earth-838 version of Baron Mordo and brought to stand a trial before the Illuminati. The secret society admits their concerns about this new Doctor Strange because the one in their universe went over to the dark side and triggered an event that killed trillions. Crazy, right? Anyway, we then meet the members of the Illuminati!

The multiversal version of the secret society also includes six super-powered beings, but they're different from the comics. There's Baron Karl Mordo, Professor Charles Xavier, Black Bolt, Mister Fantastic, Captain Carter, and Captain Marvel. These superheroes meet frequently and plan defenses against wars and conflicts across the universe, especially "incursions" — events where two multiverses collide with each other. The Illuminati officially making their first-ever MCU appearance is a big deal, so let's examine the organization, member by member, and look at the role each of them play!

Baron Karl Mordo

Baron Mordo is the first to reveal himself as a member of the Illuminati in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness." Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor plays a multiversal version of his character Baron Mordo on Earth-838, who was last seen in "Doctor Strange." In this alternate reality, Mordo isn't Doctor Strange's adversary, and neither is he dedicated to stripping wizards of their power. This one likes to greet his guests under false pretenses and spike their tea before betraying them.

This version of Mordo is the Sorcerer Supreme; he is a formidable sorcerer who was friends with Doctor Strange (who, by the way, founded the Illuminati) before he got corrupted by the book of the damned and was executed for it. As an Illuminati member, Mordo helps the others strategize and uses his powers to keep otherworldly threats at bay.

Professor Charles Xavier

It's real, you guys. Professor X's cameo is perhaps the most anticipated "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" cameo since the character was glimpsed in the film's trailer. And it's totally real. We see Patrick Stewart reprising the role of Professor Charles Xavier, aka Professor X, from the X-Men universe. He's not the same character, though, but an alternate version of him, and represents mutants in the Illuminati. Professor X is the leader of the Illuminati and is seen seated in a floating yellow chair. We also see a glimpse of his telepathic abilities as an omega-level mutant in the scene.

Captain Carter (Peggy Carter)

Hayley Atwell plays a version of her "Captain America" character Peggy Carter — the SHIELD co-founder, MI6 agent, and friend/love interest of Steve Rogers in the movie. Captain Carter is the first Avenger here, and a similar storyline was previously explored in an episode of the Disney+ series "What If ... ?", where Peggy receives the super-soldier serum instead of Steve. During her first appearance as a member of the Illuminati on the MCU's Earth-838, Captain Carter is seen fighting and flying around (she wears a jetpack on her back), and wielding a badass vibranium shield with the Union Jack displayed on the front.

Captain Marvel (Maria Rambeau)

Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) adopts the mantle of Captain Marvel on Earth-838, sometime before joining the ranks of the Illuminati. Her powers appear to be identical to those of Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) from Earth-616 — she can fly and shoot energy blasts and has superhuman strength. She's the character from the trailer that everyone speculated over, imagining that Tom Cruise was playing an alternate Iron-Man! As the Disney+ series "WandaVision" revealed, Maria Rambeau has a daughter named Monica (Teyonah Parris) on Earth-616 who recently got her superpowers and is known to become the second Captain Marvel.

Reed Richards (Mister Fantastic)

As a leader of the Fantastic Four and member of the Illuminati, John Krasinski's Reed Richards, aka Mister Fantastic (previously played twice by Ioan Gruffud and Miles Teller), is a scientist. He has the power of enhanced corporeal elasticity — he can stretch and mold his body at will. The superhero has expert knowledge of engineering, physics and biology, and appears to represent the scientific side of the superhero community (did you know he's smarter than Tony Stark and has an IQ of 267?) in the Illuminati.

Fans have been yearning to watch "The Office" star play the character for a long time, so it's a bit of a letdown that we didn't get to see him utilize his powers (successfully). The scene in question also divulges that this version of Reed Richards is married and has two children — which gives us hope for the existence of the Fantastic Four family in every universe!

Black Bolt (Blackagar Bolton)

Black Bolt is the same hero who executed the Earth-838 version of Doctor Strange after a decision made by the Illuminati to take action against the Darkhold-corrupted sorcerer. Portrayed by Anson Mount (who reprises his role from the "Inhumans" series), Blackagar Bolton is an Inhuman, a member of a genetically altered race of humans, whose power is his hypersonic voice. Only a whisper from him can bring down an entire city. He can fly really fast and has superhuman strength, but unfortunately, we didn't see much of that. The character is known to remain tight-lipped and usually communicates via a spokesperson or through sign language. This is the first time the Inhumans have appeared in the MCU (the ABC series only lasted one season and was poorly reviewed). Here's hoping there's an Earth-616 version of the superhero that pops up soon!

"Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" is currently playing in theaters.