A lot of superhero teams are known to the general public in these fictional realities, but in the case of the Illuminati in the Marvel Comics universe, that group formed secretly to deal with unconventional threats behind the scenes. Rumor has it that an Illuminati project is in the works for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and while that has yet to be officially confirmed, some fans are already having fun with that prospect.
Case in point, check out the below piece of fan art depicting a live-action iteration of the Illuminati, with the lineup including James MacAvoy’s Professor X and John Krasinski as Mr. Fantastic, a fan casting that’s been making the rounds for a while now.
The other characters gracing Instagram user cvialet_art’s artwork are Doctor Strange, Iron Man, Black Bolt and Namor the Sub-Mariner. Together with Professor X and Mr. Fantastic, these characters make up the original Illuminati lineup from the comics brought to live action. And since James McAvoy would be playing Professor X, that’d mean the MCU and Fox X-Men universe coming together! Needless to say that’d be a big deal.
Alas, for those of you looking to see this particular Illuminati lineup on the big screen, don’t count on it. For one thing, now that Fox has been acquired by Disney, the X-Men are expected to be rebooted within the MCU, meaning that last year's Dark Phoenix wrapped up the arc of James McAvoy’s Charles Xavier.
But even if that weren’t the case, Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark sacrificed his life to save the universe in Avengers: Endgame. Meaning that unless Downey decides he wants back in the MCU and an Iron Man from a different reality comes into play, there’s no way to replicate the original Illuminati from the comics. Nevertheless, there are plenty of other characters who could easily fill his vacant spot, from Chadwick Boseman’s Black Panther (it’d be ironic if he joined since in the comics, T’Challa turned down membership in the original Illuminati) to Mark Ruffalo’s Professor Hulk.
The only original Illuminati member who’s currently established in the MCU is Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange. Yes, Anson Mount did play Black Bolt in the short-lived Inhumans TV series, but considering how poorly that show was received, not to mention the tricky connectivity ties of MCU-related shows to the movies and upcoming Disney+ content, I imagine that if Black Bolt and the rest of the Royal Family appeared in this franchise again, we’d see brand-new versions of these characters (perhaps the Ms. Marvel series will lay the groundwork for that since Kamala Khan is an Inhuman).
As far as the Fantastic Four are concerned, like the X-Men, they also came with the Fox acquisition. So expect them to be introduced to the MCU in the coming years too, though that doesn’t guarantee that John Krasinski will score the Mr. Fantastic role, no matter how many fans want to see that. As for Namor, there’s been no word on if he’s headed to the MCU, although he’d surely be a worth addition, whether it’s by leading his own story or being an antagonist in a movie like Black Panther 2.
Should this Illuminati project end up getting the green light, we here at CinemaBlend will be sure to let you know. In the meantime, look through our Marvel movies guide to learn what’s in store for Phase 4 and beyond.