Forming A New Illuminati Might Be Doctor Strange’s Best Hope To Beat Kang

When Kang the Conqueror finally comes toe-to-toe with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in Avengers: The Kang Dynasty, Doctor Strange may find that his best chance at defeating the villain is by forming his own version of the Illuminati comprised of his fellow heroes on Earth-616. As the Avengers prepare to take on a bigger threat than they have ever faced before, heroes like Doctor Strange will undoubtedly need to devise new strategies to defend their reality–including the formation of a clandestine council that governs world events. Given Doctor Strange’s experience with the Illuminati, he is the perfect person to assemble this team–building a better version than the one he encountered previously.


In Marvel Comics, the Illuminati was the brainchild of Iron Man, designed as a council of Earth’s greatest minds who could make the difficult decisions that the Avengers couldn’t. The organization was finally adapted for live-action in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which introduced an alternate-reality version of the Illuminati on Earth-838. While this team was unceremoniously slaughtered by the rampaging Scarlet Witch, a version of the Illuminati could still very well come to exist in the MCU’s mainline timeline, Earth-616.

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Earth-838 Gave Doctor Strange The Idea For A Better Illuminati

The Illuminati of Earth-838 may not have succeeded in their attempt to stop the Scarlet Witch, but their failures also taught Doctor Strange exactly how to build a better version of the team. Strange saw the Illuminati’s hubris and death by Scarlet Witch as they wrongly believed that they could not be toppled by a single assailant. In his experience with Earth-838’s Illuminati, Strange detected their unwillingness to listen to his warning, which ultimately spelled their own demise. As chairman of his own version of the Illuminati, Doctor Strange would now be able to ensure that they didn’t make the same mistakes.

The Illuminati of Earth-838’s biggest mistake, however, was that the members lost sight of their true purpose: defending the people of Earth. Though they performed the functions of Earth’s defenders, the Illuminati became apathetic, going so far as to kill one of their own without a second thought after he read from the Darkhold. The fall of this Illuminati is a warning for Doctor Strange, who functioned under a similar adherance to “the grand calculus of the universe.” After the events of Multiverse of Madness, however, Strange should now see that operating out of cold necessity is not the most effective way to protect his reality from powerful, looming threats.

Why Doctor Strange Needs The Illuminati To Defeat Kang

The Illuminati is an absolute necessity when it comes to defeating Kang at the end of the Multiverse Saga. When Kang arrives, he likely won’t be by himself. The villainous dictator is known for his many different variants from throughout the Multiverse. These variants have, at times in Marvel Comics, united to form the Council of Kangs, combining their knowledge and skill sets to become a massive threat to the Avengers. With the combined might of Kang’s variants, including Pharaoh Rama-Tut, from all corners of the Multiverse, it will take much more than the full brawn of the Avengers lineup to stop the Conqueror.

The great minds of the Illuminati are Doctor Strange’s perfect answer to the Council of Kangs. The Illuminati is especially useful against a strategic villain like Kang because it employs its members’ combined intellect to solve problems. It makes sense that Doctor Strange would build his own Illuminati in anticipation of Kang’s arrival, an organization built to battle the supervillain on an intellectual level. With the lessons Strange learned from the Illuminati of Earth-838, his lineup would be better equipped to survive the murderous Kang and his variants.

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Who Could Be On Doctor Strange’s Illuminati Team

Traditional comic book representations of the group include Tony Stark, Stephen Strange, Reed Richards, Black Bolt, Namor, and Charles Xavier, with later iterations including Steve Rogers and T’Challa. While this lineup of the Illuminati is far more powerful than Earth-838’s, Earth-616’s lineup could look somewhat different than its comic book counterpart. While Strange, Richards, and Namor are strong contenders, the absence of characters like Stark, Black Bolt, Rogers, T’Challa, and Xavier begs the need for other characters to fill their positions.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe already has several characters who could easily step into its next depiction of the Illuminati. One of the most compelling replacements is Nick Fury, whose covert exploits thus far in the MCU have already displayed his resourcefulness, secrecy, and vast intelligence network. In fact, given his expansive sphere of influence and vast array of experience, Nick Fury would perfectly fill the Illuminati lineup. His presence would also allow for Fury’s continued involvement in the MCU, which has been sporadic at best following the destruction of S.H.I.E.L.D. It also bears mention that Samuel L. Jackson’s presence in any council scene is always much appreciated.

While it doesn’t appear that the Illuminati yet exists on Earth-616, it isn’t inconceivable that the groundwork for forming a clandestine council has already been laid, perhaps unknowingly. One theory suggests that Captain Marvel, Wong, and Bruce Banner may have the makings of a new Iluminati council already. Their secret meeting in the post-credit scene of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings could depict the very first Illuminati meeting in the MCU, even though the group wasn’t strictly labeled as such during the film’s events. Even if this is not the case, Carol Danvers, Banner, and Wong would each make excellent members of Strange’s team.

Although all attention is currently focused on who might make up the MCU’s first lineup of the Illuminati, it is also important to note that the group is certain to grow and change as the franchise moves forward. Charles Xavier, for example, is a shoo-in for the team once established in the MCU. Similarly, after being introduced in Fantastic Four, Reed Richards will certainly join the Illuminati of Earth-616. Regardless of the team’s future lineups, however, Doctor Strange’s first team of super-intelligent individuals must be the best that Earth-616 has to offer if they are to have any hope of achieving victory during the events of Avengers: The Kang Dynasty.

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