It has previously been teased that Marvel’s Illuminati will be making an appearance within the MCU.
For those unfamiliar with the Illuminati, they are a secret & elite group of Marvel heroes from the many separate groups (Avengers, X-Men etc.) who have formed themselves a committee, away from the eyes of their compatriots and other watchful eyes like Governments. Their purpose was to ensure co-ordination and discussion between the separate factions within the Marvel Universe against threats (Skrull-Kree War, Civil War, Dark Reign) and other serious matters. They also voted (mostly) in favour of sending the Hulk to space after he levelled Las Vegas – this of course lead to both the Planet Hulk & World War Hulk story lines.
The group in the comics, which comprises of Tony Stark (Iron Man), Charles Xavier (Professor X), Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic), Doctor Stephen Strange, Namor the Sub-Mariner & Black Bolt, King of the Inhumans. The most interesting thing, and most relevant to the MCU is that these six high-ranking players within the Marvel Universe were each holders of an Infinity Stone after The Watcher decided they were best placed in the Illuminati’s Supervision and kept separate (after Mr. Fantastic attempted to will them out of existence using the Gauntlet!).
We have some major issues we need to work through first. The only established members of the Illuminati within the MCU are Tony Stark & Doctor Strange. Namor & Black Bolt, despite their creative rights lying with Marvel, there are no plans for their introduction any time soon. Namor’s status is in the dark completely while the Inhumans were moved off the release schedule for the foreseeable, although this may be temporary. Professor X & Reed Richards are of course currently residing with Twentieth Century Fox and unless a miracle happens within the next four years, neither will be joining the MCU’s illuminati.
So, there are six Infinity Stones for six protectors yet we have only two members of the Illuminati and SPOILER ALERT… Only one currently holds an Infinity Stone – Doctor Strange & the Eye of Agamotto (Time Stone). This means we need four more members and here at Nerd Lowdown we have some nominations in place of the obvious absentees!
First up is the Vibranium coated sentient entity that is Vision. The reasons for Visions inclusion are pretty obvious. The main one is that he already holds the Mind Stone as it provides his means to live and be the intelligent being that he is. Barring you make the argument that Tony Stark uses Vision as the means of protecting the Mind Stone, it his hard to exclude Vision from the group.
His super intelligence and calculated manner make him a perfect candidate for this group of super powered diplomats. You only have to look at how he handled the Sokovia Accords discussion by using probability and logic to make the signing of the Accords an easy decision for some. If he brings these skills to the Illuminati, he adds an excellent political addition as well as one who can stand his ground in a battle.
Hank Pym told Scott Lang to never trust a Stark, but maybe Tony Stark would be quicker to trust a Pym? Hank Pym is a man of high intelligence – this is one of the qualifications that seem necessary to be an Illuminati member. He is often portrayed in the comics as being a scientific equal to Tony Stark & Reed Richards, and while MCU Hank Pym is of a different era to Tony Stark, there is no reason why Tony would not respect him as an equal or even an influence. Plot wise, we also have some inbuilt conflict ready to be milked between the two when necessary. The Illuminati did not always unanimously agree, and their meetings often ended with one member leaving with hurt feelings.
Pym is also an ideal candidate to protect an Infinity Stone, but we must say that this is in part thanks to his protégé Scott Lang or his own science. One option here could be Pym using the Pym Particles to shrink the Stone (providing it works) down to an easily concealable size and hiding it away safely. The second is a bit more extreme. We know that Ant-Man successfully accessed the Quantum Realm by shrinking to a sub-molecular level and came back again. If he was to do this again, the Quantum Realm makes the perfect hiding space for an elusive Infinity Stone.
Hey, we didn’t say the Illuminati had to be a good guy? The obvious and more ideal option would be to add Thor to this group in order to bring an Asgardian interest to the table, but what if Thor: Ragnarok’s events lead to Thor losing his powers or ending up MIA? It is very possible. It is also worth remembering that the last known location of the Tesseract aka Space Stone is in a vault in Asgard after Thor brought it back post-Battle of New York. Although we would not deem Loki a “protector” of an Infinity Stone per se…
Loki’s real purpose within this group of complex individuals is that of the double agent. It would be his betrayal of the Illuminati that leads to Thanos discovering the location of the Infinity Stones in order to wield the Infinity Gauntlet. You would think that Loki has deceived people too many times to be trusted, but the Illuminati is often called together in times of desperate need and if his more mighty brother is not available, the Norse God of Mischief may have to do…
We have not yet been introduced to Captain Marvel aka Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) as of yet, however her more cosmic connections make her an ideal candidate to represent the likes of the Nova Corps (unless we get Nova) & Guardians of the Galaxy’s interests in the Illuminati. This is of course depending on what way Marvel go about introducing the character, but given that her powers came from her DNA fusing with that of the Kree (remember them from GotG?) after a Kree device exploded, we’re sure that she will spend more time in space than the rest of our motley crew here. Plus, Star-Lord may not be the best representative in serious multi-verse matters…
So, let’s say on a NASA mission Carol Danvers ends up embroiled in this Kree explosion and ends up as Captain Marvel – perhaps she is taken in on Xandar (remember the Kree & Xandar were at war) and becomes a more regimented space hero in comparison to our beloved Guardians. The Nova Corps based on Xandar already have possession of the Orb aka the Power Stone; perhaps the events of Carol Danvers solo adventure will lead her to be the perfect cosmic candidate to join the Illuminati.
So there you have it, Nerd Lowdown’s Marvel Cinematic Universe Illuminati… But there are a few other candidates who deserve honourable mentions!
King of Wakanda, T’Challa or better known to some as the Black Panther should have been a shoe in on this list surely? Well, you’d be right. However in the comics he was never a full-time member of the Illuminati and disagreed with the inception of the group despite an invitation being extended to the Wakandan. He dipped in from time to time when needed and provided facility for the group to meet in Wakanda as neutral space (see the lead up to Civil War comic arc).
Given that Black Panther has aligned himself with Captain America & Bucky Barnes (Civil War button scene) he may not accept an invitation to the group on this basis, along with other diplomatic viewpoints as mentioned previously. Wakanda has already suffered losses due to the Avengers and he may not want to risk his people further. However, he may still be willing to provide a diplomatic space for the Illuminati and the Superhero Registration Act scene from the comics could be adapted and Black Panther still present while not be part of the group full-time.
Benicio Del Toro’s The Collector has made two brief appearances in the MCU thus far and as far as we know he already possesses the Aether (Thor II: The Dark World) aka the Reality Stone. He also has an in-depth knowledge of the Infinity Stones and is sure to know their true power when combined with the Gauntlet. On this basis he is more than qualified to act as a Consultant to the Illuminati at the very least.
However, we do not know where his allegiance lies nor do we know exactly where he is right now. Sure, Loki is a sly dog at the best of times – but The Collector has been actively looking for Infinity Stones and he may have been in cahoots with the Mad Titan Thanos all along and handed over the Aether. He was last seen with Howard the Duck & Cosmo the Dog at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy, and who knows where he may turn up next. As stated previously, his knowledge on the Infinity Stones would be of great value to the Illuminati provided he was playing for their team.
Do you agree with our picks? Let us know!