For a long time, Iron Man demonstrated that the main MCU timeline has its own Illuminati organization. Doctor Strange’s personal arc in the MCU continued in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness after the Infinity Saga and his complicity in Peter Parker’s identity crisis in Spider-Man: No Way Home. However, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness had a lot more to offer than just the sorcerer’s tale, as it introduced the Marvel Comics superhero team Illuminati.
The Illuminati appeared for the first time on the big screen in the Sam Raimi-directed film. The multiversal plot of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness allowed Marvel Studios to explore Earth-838, one of the franchise’s existing universes, in greater depth. Peggy Carter’s Captain Carter, Karl Mordo’s Captain Mordo, Maria Rambeau’s Captain Marvel, Black Bolt, Mister Fantastic, and Professor X were all members of the Illuminati in the alternate universe. Scarlet Witch assassinated them before they could really create an impression in the MCU.
There has been speculation that other MCU universes may have their own Illuminati teams, including Earth-616, since the introduction of Doctor Strange’s Illuminati in the Earth-838 storyline. This is a claim made by Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness writer Michael Waldron.
However, Iron Man has long established that there is an Illuminati team operating in the MCU timeline. There is a folder in Tony Stark’s phone called “Illuminati” in Iron Man 2. Jon Favreau’s 2010 sequel, which was focused on a different story, was never fully explored because the MCU was still in its infancy. Because Iron Man was a major member of the Illuminati in Marvel Comics, he may have had a folder in his phone as proof of his involvement in the MCU’s version of the Illuminati.
Why has the Illuminati, if they exist in the MCU Earth-616, not been made public? It’s possible that the members of the group are working in a highly classified capacity. The information was never revisited during the Infinity Saga because the franchise was occupied with the overall threat posed by Thanos.
Because of this, it’s possible that Iron Man Illuminati in the MCU will keep their activities hidden. To be fair, Marvel Studios is well-known for including Easter eggs that at first glance seem insignificant but ultimately prove to be significant. These files can be found in Iron Man’s phone’s Illuminati folder. In the future, Marvel Studios can use this Iron Man 2 detail to prove their existence on Earth-616.
There’s no rush to introduce the Earth-616 Illuminati given the status of the franchise. With a wide range of characters to choose from, Marvel Studios has the ability to focus on a variety of projects. Separating the main Illuminati team from the multiverse-spanning one introduced in Doctor Strange 2, further ensures that their return to the MCU will be more significant.