Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: What is Illuminati? Marvel’s secret society explained

Benedict Cumberbatch-starrer Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness includes multiple Marvel characters, both returning and new, and if rumours come true, newer versions of familiar characters. It also introduces the Illuminati from Marvel Comics, which is quite a bit different from its real-world counterpart.

With Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Marvel Studios appears to be trying to outdo itself. Spider-Man: No Way Home marked a big departure in MCU, in that it was the first movie in the universe to incorporate the concept of multiverse.
But Sam Raimi’s Multiverse of Madness, which brings back Benedict Cumberbatch in the titular role, takes it further, much further. From what we know (and can guess) so far, the film has characters venturing out into different universes in the MCU multiverse to counter a new threat that is endangering all reality.
The movie, by virtue of its plot, includes multiple Marvel characters, both returning and new, and if rumours come true, newer versions of familiar characters. For instance, Elizabeth Olsen is in the movie as Wanda, but there are also alternate universe versions of the same character, and we expect we will meet multiple so-called variants of the characters we know already.
There is also the Illuminati. While Marvel or MCU’s version of illuminati is clearly inspired by the real-world secret society, it is also different and has that comic-booky flavour.
Here is everything you need to know about Illuminati
In the real-world the Illuminati is often connected to wild conspiracy theories. Among other things, many believe they secretly control the world. But it was indeed a very real organisation, or more accurately very real organisations. Literally, “the enlightened” in Latin, the organisation that is most often referred to as the Illuminati, historically speaking, is the one that was created on May 1, 1776. As the term means, the members of the organisation were learned people, or at least they thought they were learned.
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Their goals were noble enough, to oppose injustice, superstition, tyranny and so on. So a far cry from the sinister reputation of the Illuminati in modern, social media-drive era.
But what about Marvel’s Illuminati? Comic-book writers have for decades borrowed concepts from the real-world to give an authentic feel to the stories. In Marvel Comics, the Illuminati is, of course, made up of superheroes. It is actually a superhero team, not very different from the Avengers, only it’s secret.