Beyond only creating the portal to multiple universes, Doctor Strange 2 knocked down various significant obstacles within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The plot shifted from the MCU’s conventional Avengers squad to the Illuminati, a new collection of strong creatures from all over the Multiverse who rule overall reality. Despite the fact that the Illuminati met their untimely demise in Doctor Strange 2, the team’s premise establishes a group that will be crucial to the MCU’s future. This has a lot to do with the code that this squad follows, which is far more brutal than the Avengers.
The Avengers and the Illuminati serve separate roles in the comics and on the big screen in the MCU, given the fact that they exist in distinct realms. Following the release of Doctor Strange 2, the film’s chief writer went into further depth about those differences, as the Illuminati make their influence felt inside the broader realm.
How are the Illuminati different from the Avengers?
After the Illuminati’s arrival in the most recent Marvel film, head writer Michael Waldron of Doctor Strange 2 discussed how the Avengers and the Illuminati vary in the MCU. In an interview with Inverse, Waldron said that the Illuminati exists to “make the hard decisions” that the Avengers can’t, which is why they’re so mysterious and “they operate in the shadows.”
“The Avengers have a line they wouldn’t cross. The Illuminati is there to do the things the Avengers can’t. To make the hard decisions. That’s why they operate in the shadows and hope they never have to meet. They’re willing to play in the gray.”
Waldron discussed Earth-838’s Memory Lane with Vanity Fair, and how it works in a universe with the Illuminati. Memory Lane, which is described as “more of a police state” and “more Orwellian than our universe,” might cause problems in a world where the Illuminati can see everyone’s memories and if they’ve committed any crimes.
Vanity Fair: “Fortunately they ended up in a dimension that happened to have a futuristic memory-reading company where they could see each other’s pasts.”
Waldron: “That’s how it goes sometimes! I don’t think it’s in there, but I wrote a lot of dialogue for that Memory Lane [scene]. Basically, the fine print there is that they also get to store your memories and if they find any crimes are committed, you can be liable.”
Vanity Fair: “That adds a new perspective to Dimension 838.”
Waldron: “838 is a little more of a police state, a little more Orwellian than our universe. Maybe this Memory Lane thing isn’t as innocent as it seems. I don’t know how much of that translates on the screen, but wait for the novelization. I’ll go deep into that.”
The Illuminati also bear the burden of making difficult decisions that the Avengers are unable to make. Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are entrusted with saving as many people as possible, and they usually keep their word, but the Illuminati are forced to make decisions that may result in the death of one of their own, as seen in the newest MCU installment with Doctor Strange. It’s unclear whether or not Marvel will bring back the Illuminati, but their existence alone creates a unique dynamic that should be acknowledged as the franchise grows.