In Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Illuminati takes center stage at a pivotal moment in the film that leaves audiences in awe. On Earth-838, this group of defenders included several surprising names that made up the movie’s little carousel of fan-service cameos. Of course, the most talked about was John Krasinski’s Reed Richards, an appearance that appeased fans who vouched for the actor to play the part. Besides Krasinski, the film featured Patrick Stewart reprising his role as Professor X from x-men and Anson Mount as Black Bolt from Inhumans, two unexpected appearances that open up several possibilities for crossover stories set in the MCU.
But since the film was cut down to 2 hours and 6 minutes, several other scenes were deleted or never even made it past the draft stage. Michael Waldron, the screenwriter of the film, recently revealed that the Illuminati could have been different in previous versions he had prepared. Multiverse of Madness.
In the film commentary attached to its digital release (Going through The Direct), Waldron shed some light on how he wanted to include Wasp in an Illuminati release. Waldron said the idea came to him from the movie aliens and that Wasp was destined to suffer the same fate as the Illuminati members in the film. He revealed,
I think I watched Aliens and I was just thinking about how these Marines get slaughtered, and, yeah, I was glad it worked. I think Wasp was originally in some version of the Illuminati, and Wasp shrunk and flew to Wanda, and [Wanda] just clapped his hands and just crushed the wasp in the first draft.
The Illuminati meet a disastrous fate in the final version of the film, where Wanda brutally murders them all, with Black Bolt facing the worst of his wrath. Black Mount fell victim to his powers and died without a fight. If Wasp had made it in the movie, she’d be the one to make the cut for the worst death, in which Wanda humiliated Wasp’s most prominent powers.
Killing the Illuminati was the movie’s biggest milestone
People were thrilled to see the Illuminati come together on screen in Multiverse of Madness. But their murder came as a shock to them just ten minutes later. For a minute, the Illuminati reveal was a sting for multiversal crossover stories that could become a reality in future phases of the MCU. In a split second, Raimi decided to blow up those hopes.
Apparently, it wasn’t just shocking to the fans. In the commentary, producer Ritchie Palmer recalls reading the first draft and seeing Waldron’s plans for the Illuminati in the film. Waldron said the idea was just a hit and try for him earlier and it was just a swing he decided to take.
Waldron: I was just desperately trying to finish the first draft of the script in August 2020. I didn’t really have a second half of the second act and I had no idea where I was going. And I just thought, ‘Well, why don’t we take a swing and drop the Illuminati in there?
Reacting to Waldron’s statements, Palmer quoted,
Palmer: And swing you did. These Jonathan Hickman Illuminati comics were some of the greatest comics ever written, I think these New Avengers comics from the Secret Wars era. But, Michael, I remember reading your first draft of the Illuminati stuff and just bringing disbelief, saying, ‘She’s killing all the Illuminati?’ He made him kill all the Illuminati. We can never do that. Wait, can we do this? I wish we could do that.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness managed to appease fans with these cameos; however, the response to this was divisive as fans expected to see a lot more. At one point, both Waldron and Palmer were skeptical about the response they would get from Raimi on the Illuminati’s planned course, but it turns out they immediately gave him the green light. palm said,
I was so scared that someone would tell us we were going too far, and no one ever did. Sam, you always helped us get there. Kevin has always encouraged us to go further. Our other bosses, Louis D’Esposio, Victoria Alonso, everyone has supported us every step of the way to move this film forward.
Wasp may not have made it into the movie, but Illuminati now exists in the multiverse, and there could be a time when the group enters the main MCU timeline. It’s hard to say what will become of the group in the franchise, but they all have important roles to play in the comics. And who knows, Wasp makes the cut in another group release.