Bloggerverse of Madness: Maybe That's Not the Illuminati

Bloggerverse of Madness: Maybe That's Not the Illuminati

BY MATT TUCK, BLOGGER SUPREME

IG@matt.tuck.writer

FB@ The Comic Blog

Sure it looks like the Illuminati are in Multiverse of Madness, but don’t put it past Marvel to troll the entire world…again. The thing is, that council we see in the trailer may be totally different than what anyone expects.

ILLUMINATI CONFIRMED?

It would seem that Marvel’s shadowy puppet masters have been confirmed for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. The Super Bowl trailer set the fandom ablaze. There was so much packed into only minutes of footage, and it has spawned countless rumors and theories (which I conveniently put together in an organized list). We see America Chavez, Scarlet Witch, Gargantos, robots that look suspiciously like Ultron drones, Rintrah, a possible Iron Man variant, and even what could be the live-action Marvel Zombies. It’s enough to send any Marvel fan into overdrive, and the hype could make MOM the most popular MCU movie to date.

While there were fan-pleasing moments one after another, nothing got the pop like that unmistakable voice of Professor X himself, Sir Patrick Stewart.

After years of wondering, it would seem that the X-Men have arrived in the MCU. Although Marvel has yet to officially confirm Stewart’s casting as Charles Xavier, most theorists have taken it as a foregone conclusion. After all, who else would Stewart play in a superhero movie besides Professor X?

You will get no argument from me that Stewart is reprising his role as Professor X. With Charles Xavier comes the X-Men, so there’s little doubt that MOM in mere seconds of footage has successfully merged the worlds of the Fox X-Men films with the MCU. Since the Super Bowl ad premiered, there have been new rumors that either Hugh Jackman or a different actor will appear as Wolverine to truly bring the fandom to its knees. That also makes all the X-Men films MCU canon, and that presents a new problem from a continuity perspective. 

Since we assume Stewart is playing Xavier and his voiceover is used when Strange is presented before a mysterious council, the immediate reaction is that MOM confirmed the Illuminati. After all, that would explain how Professor X would fit into a Doctor Strange movie seeing as both characters were founding members of Marvel’s mysterious conglomerate. Then again, this is Marvel, and there could be something else up its corporate sleeve.

THE SWERVE

It all just seems too easy. The trailer appears to show Doctor Strange being marched in front of a six-member council. When we hear Stewart say, “We should tell him the truth,” it would seemingly acknowledge a longstanding rumor that the Illuminati is and has been pulling the strings of the MCU. No doubt, it’s an intriguing development, and it creates a world of stories with an added layer of mystery. Having them in the MCU could set the stage for adaptations of World War Hulk and the 2015 Secret Wars among many other chapters. 

The thing is, this feels more and more like a swerve. Marvel is known for pulling fast ones on its audiences. Last year, WandaVision had most of us believing that Evan Peters had reprised his role as Quicksilver only for it to devolve into a throwaway gag. Though some twists are better than others, the surprises and defied expectations keep fans on their toes. These days, the MCU relies more on surprises, Easter eggs, and cameos than the plot of its movies and shows. Throwing the audience for a loop is part of the thrills of watching a Marvel movie.

That being said, having the fans assume that the Illuminati are in MOM could be exactly what Kevin Feige and company want us to think. When they pull the rug out from under us, it will be all the more impactful.

KANG

That council that Doctor Strange is presented to could very well be the Council of Cross-Time Kangs, and Loki could hold all the evidence to prove that’s the case.

Don’t forget that Tom Hiddleston is reportedly appearing in MOM as Loki in a significant role. What’s more is that there are reports that both Owen Wilson and Sophia Di Martino will be in the film as Mobius and Sylvie, respectively. With a movie dealing with Doctor Strange, Scarlet Witch, Professor X, possible zombies, and the Illuminati, how would the cast of Loki fit in, much less have major parts in the plot? Three letters: the TVA.

Let’s hit the rewind button to ancient history, at least by Marvel standards - last year’s Loki finale. Loki and Sylvie met the Kang variant, He Who Remains (or is Kang a He Who Remains variant?), who was managing the TVA to protect the sacred timeline. Before Sylvie murdered HWR, he warned them that killing him would bring about a war involving his variants, namely Kang the Conqueror. In the show’s closing moments, the statues inside the TVA changed to reflect a comics-accurate Kang.

What does that have to do with Multiverse of Madness? Potentially everything. What if the futuristic citadel where we find Doctor Strange, the Ultron drones is actually the TVA that has been altered after the Loki finale? Instead of Strange being brought before the Illuminati, he is being presented to either the TVA judges or perhaps the Council of Cross-Time Kangs. 

First appearing in 1988’s Avengers #292, these were versions of Kang the Conqueror who each ruled their own dimensions. It was a matter of time before this group of megalomaniacs turned on each other, which would inevitably happen in an MCU version. Actually, it may have already happened, considering that He Who Remains mentioned ending a Multiversal war in Loki

THE X-MEN

Why would the TVA and the Council of Kangs arrest Doctor Strange? What would the TVA and Kang have to do with the X-Men? For that answer, we have to look back to 2014.

First of all, remember that the TVA is alive and well after the events of Loki. They’re a bit more ominous and authoritarian under Kang than He Who Remains. We can assume the TVA’s role of eliminating stray timelines is still being pursued, and the Council of Kangs may be attempting to stop the bleeding, as it were. 

Of all the characters in the MCU, Doctor Strange has the most dubious reputation for manipulating time and space. Sure, the Avengers had their time caper in Endgame, but that was explained as necessary in the Loki finale. When Strange possessed the Eye of Agamotto, he didn’t hesitate to use the Time Stone to his advantage, which he was warned not to do, and this could be why. That could potentially get the attention of Kang and the TVA. 

Since the Fox X-Men movies would be canon if that is indeed Professor X in the MOM trailer, that means the Avengers and Doctor Strange weren’t the first superheroes to meddle with the timeline. In the best X-Men movie and one of the best comic book movies of them all, 2014’s Days of Future Past, Shadowcat sent Wolverine’s consciousness back in time to change the future. In the context of the MCU’s Multiverse, the events of DOFP would have created a divergent timeline, and the TVA exists to prune the branches of the timeline, which would put a target on the X-Men.

Assuming that is Professor X, he could very well be a prisoner of the Kang-controlled TVA who intervened to stop the rogue timeline. He and possibly Wolverine could be the last remnants of their timeline. Like Loki, they could be variants created by the events of Days of Future Past, and that leaves room for a Magneto variant to appear in the film as has been heavily rumored. On a more practical storytelling note, it would allow for the X-Men to be introduced into the MCU without needing to explain how mutants were created and why they didn’t fight Thanos. 

CONNECTING DOCTOR STRANGE, THE X-MEN, AND THE FANTASTIC FOUR

The TVA and the Council of Kangs helps explain more than just the X-Men’s inclusion into the MCU. It would also fit into the interdimensional history of the Fantastic Four, who are also speculated to arrive in MOM.

Kang’s comic history is one of the most complex and convoluted of all Marvel’s characters. I am not going to attempt to explain it all. In most versions of Kang’s origin, he is the futuristic Nathaniel Richards, distant grandson of Reed and Sue Richards from the 30th Century. Over the years, he has appeared and reappeared under different guises only to be defeated by either the Fantastic Four or the Avengers. There have been multiple Kang variants across the Multiverse, and they come together to form the Council of Kangs, overseers of the timeline. 

If the MCU Kang follows his comic roots, that puts him on a collision course with the time-meddling Doctor Strange. There’s the possibility that the Fantastic Four arrive in time to break Doctor Strange, Loki, Sylvie, and Professor X out of TVA jail, which kind of sounds like an interdimensional airport jail. 

KANG IS THE KEY

Justifiably, Marvel Studios can be accused of falling into a rut in recent years. The movies and the shows have a clear action-comedy formula they’re following. When it comes to the “big bad” threat to the entire Multiverse, they may be staying away from having another Thanos-level danger to the universe. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t going to be a linchpin character, and Kang is the man for the job.

The Multiverse and the varying timelines are clearly the focus in the post-Endgame landscape. Loki firmly solidified that especially when Sylvie killed He Who Remains, thus allowing for an infinite number of variant timelines. As HWR warned, it was an invitation for other beings from across the Multiverse to wage war across dimensions. We assume the villain will be Kang, taking the place of Thanos, but it could be that the time-traveling conqueror is simply attempting to protect the Multiverse at any cost.

From a storytelling perspective, Kang and the TVA allow for a convenient plot device to merge the worlds of the X-Men with the MCU in the most unlikely of fashions, at least to mainstream audiences, thus creating a huge surprise for the movie.

Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and the Blogger Supreme. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog, or on Instagram at matt.tuck.writer.


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