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Iron Man 2’s Illuminati Easter Egg Will Be Retconned By Doctor Strange 2

By Mabel Judith Andrady
February 27,2022

A new trailer for Doctor Strange 2 shows that the film will feature a zombified Doctor Strange, Ultron bots, and even Professor X in cameos and Easter eggs. According to popular fan theory, the Illuminati will be introduced to the MCU in Doctor Strange 2, retcon, or discredit an Easter egg from Iron Man 2 in 2010.

The solo sequel to Iron Man included a slew of Easter eggs and references, many of which have since been woven into the overall story of the MCU. For example, Wakanda was first hinted at the end of Iron Man 2, and it is now a beloved MCU locale and the home of the Black Panther. It’s also worth noting that Tony Stark’s name-drop of Project Pegasus in 2010 became the most important plot point in Captain Marvel’s 2019 release.

Every now and then, an Easter egg in the MCU is left unnoticed for years before it’s brought up again—if it’s ever brought up at all. Project Exodus and the Lost City of Atlantis were just two of the big teases in Iron Man 2 that have yet to be developed.

There was an Easter egg in Iron Man 2, and the return of Sir Patrick Stewart as Professor X has fans eager to find out if The Illuminati will make their MCU debut in Doctor Strange 2, which is expected to happen.

The Reality Of The MCU’s Illuminati

The Illuminati

The Illuminati

New footage from Doctor Strange: The Multiverse of Madness teases an encounter with the Illuminati for the Big City Sorcerer. Mr. Fantastic, Iron Man, Professor X, Doctor Strange, Black Bolt, and Namor were the original members of Marvel Comics’ Illuminati. Earth’s protection from threats that go beyond human capabilities was the primary goal of these organizations.

On the basis of the trailer’s six chairs and the voice of Sir Patrick Stewart, who is expected to reprise his role as Professor X. When Tony Stark pulled out his phone in 2010 and an app labeled “Illuminati” was visible, the MCU hyped the existence of The Illuminati.

It’s now possible that Marvel Studios may have planted a seed with Tony Stark’s tease about the Illuminati in the Multiverse of Madness for future reference. Is there an MCU version of the Illuminati, and if so, was Tony Stark a part of its inception? As a result of Doctor Strange 2, will the Illuminati be formed as a result? There are a number of plausible scenarios for how the MCU’s Illuminati might appear.

MCU’s Illuminati Was Always Here

Patrick Stewart returns as Charles Xavier

Patrick Stewart returns as Charles Xavier

There must be a good reason why The Illuminati has only been mentioned in passing in the MCU since 2010, if the app on Tony Stark’s phone is accurate. Even more importantly, Marvel has created a secret organization called the Illuminati, which is designed to operate independently of any major world government or organization.

The Illuminati’s existence would make it easier for Marvel Studios to claim that “fans didn’t know about The Illuminati because they didn’t need to know about The Illuminati,” as they did with Loki’s Time Variance Authority. According to the Illuminati’s “Rule Number One” for its members, members are not allowed to talk about the Illuminati.

While Phases 3 and 4 have revisited certain MCU events, such as how Nick Fury lost his eye when Captain Marvel disclosed that Goose the Cat had impaired him or how Carol Danvers inspired the Avenger Initiative, they have done so to keep the ever-expanding storyline consistent.

Additionally, Wanda Maximoff’s backstory was retconned in WandaVision to make it appear that she is, in fact, a witch. Throughout Earth’s history, the Eternals can be seen influencing the formation and development of numerous human civilizations.
MCU’s Illuminati May Not Be The Same
Doctor Strange with the Ultron Bots

Doctor Strange with the Ultron Bots

In any case, the cast of The Illuminati would have to look very different than the more classic Marvel Comics lineup, since most of the original founders haven’t even made their proper MCU debut yet if they’ve been lurking in the shadows for who knows how long.

There has been no sign of Mr. Fantastic, Professor X, or Namor in any form. Although Black Bolt first appeared in ABC’s Inhumans series, a soft reboot with new cast members is widely expected in light of the show’s mediocre ratings performance.

Because Tony Stark sacrificed his life in order to stop Thanos in Avengers: Endgame, the only original Illuminati member still alive and well in the MCU is Doctor Strange.

During the events of Avengers: Infinity War, Tony Stark, and Doctor Strange may have discussed forming an Illuminati-style group in private. Strange’s encounter with Tony probably wouldn’t have been able to accommodate a conversation of this scope due to time constraints and other pressing issues.

Even if the Illuminati does exist in the MCU, Stephen Strange is not a member of it. Considering that Doctor Strange has only recently begun practicing the Mystic Arts, there is a significant amount of time in the MCU where The Illuminati could have been established before his rise to power.

Perhaps in the sequel, Doctor Strange discovers the Illuminati and wonders why he isn’t a member of it. However, before he can express his displeasure, he’ll have to find out who the members of the club are.

Who All Are In The MCU’s Illuminati?

Doctor Strange 2_ Every Character Who Could Be In The Illuminati

Every Character Who Could Be In The Illuminati

A comic-accurate Illuminati group may be encountered by Strange in the latest trailer for Doctor Strange 2 because Patrick Stewart’s voice as Professor X can be heard. This suggests that, if the Illuminati does exist in the MCU, its members may be very different from what fans are used to seeing in the comics.

Nick Fury and Captain Marvel could be potential members of the MCU’s already-existing Illuminati, given their limited and still-mysterious roles in the larger picture thus far.

After initially being suspicious of SHIELD, Tony Stark came to respect and rely on Nick Fury as one of his most trusted allies. In Spider-Man: Far from Home, Fury was entrusted with the delivery of Peter Parker’s EDITH glasses by Tony Stark.

Even more curious is the fact that Fury was blipped for five years while Tony was still alive, and Tony died just minutes after Fury returned. Before the events of Infinity War, perhaps Stark and Fury were already working together on an unspecified new project, and now Fury is carrying out those plans in Tony’s absence.

For example, Captain Marvel made a late-game appearance in Avengers: Endgame and a brief cameo appearance in Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Despite the fact that Captain Marvel spends very little time on Earth, the Avengers make sure she’s kept up to date and involved.

After Captain Marvel saved him in Avengers: Endgame, Tony told her, “we need you; you’re new blood,” and perhaps he wasn’t just referring to recruiting her for the Avengers. As a result of Tony’s knowledge of Nick Fury’s trust in Captain Marvel, he may have decided to share his Illuminati plans with her as well.

The Other Possible Members 
Why Captain Carter Is In Doctor Strange 2

Captain Carter Is In Doctor Strange 2

The remaining members of the group could include Tony Stark, who invited Wong to his wedding in Infinity War and seemed to like the sorcerer. Abomination, for example, appears to have been trained by Wong, who has been working hard behind the scenes. An effort to strengthen Earth’s defenses after Thanos’ visit, perhaps?

Imagining Doctor Strange’s reaction if he learned Wong had been asked to join Tony Stark’s secret-boy band instead of him is even more fun. Even if Tony Stark recruited Wong to his new Illuminati group while Doctor Strange was away, he’d be furious. After all, Wong had assumed the role of Sorcerer Supreme in his absence.

A number of recent MCU events, such as Fury’s space mission and Wong’s ability to turn villains into heroes, suggest that The Illuminati may already be present. Because there are no definitive answers to these events and what they mean to the larger story, these instances can only serve as potential evidence.

When will Marvel Comics introduce the Illuminati? Suppose the reference in Iron Man 2 had a bigger purpose, but it never came to fruition.

How Marvel May Have Scrapped Its Illuminati Plans

Who Arrests Doctor Strange_ MCU Illuminati & Professor X Link Explained

MCU Illuminati

On Tony Stark’s phone in Iron Man 2, in addition to the Illuminati icon, there are other apps that represent various concepts that Tony was experimenting with at the time, such as his Mark 5 suitcase armor, the SHIELD logo, and an app called “Monaco.”

Once the Illuminati Easter egg is overlooked, it’s odd that Tony had an SHIELD app on his phone despite having no real commitment or obligation to SHIELD at the time. The logo on Tony’s phone in Iron Man 2 was a teaser of what was to come since he wasn’t offered an official position with SHIELD until the end of the film.

Furthermore, the presence of “Monaco” on Tony’s phone lends credence to the notion that this device is jam-packed with Tony’s unrealized plans. Later in the film, when Stark visits Monaco, he races in his company’s Formula One car, shocking and surprising everyone.

Fans will recall that Tony’s first encounter with Ivan Vanko took place in Monaco and that he was forced to use his Mark 5 suitcase armor for the very first time occurred as a consequence.

Only in Iron Man 2 were any of Tony Stark’s other apps actually visited, suggesting that the Illuminati may have been something that would soon be revealed but hadn’t yet taken shape, but this is ironic because the Illuminati app was one of only a few recognizable logos on Tony’s phone.

A hack into SHIELD’s database as soon as he set foot on their heli-carrier in 2012’s The Avengers made it clear that Tony Stark did not believe in Nick Fury at the time. To understand Tony’s desire to form his own organization, it makes sense that he would do so prior to learning what SHIELD was and discovering he didn’t have to do everything on his own.

Could Doctor Strange Really Form A New Illuminati?
The MCU Illuminati

The MCU Illuminati

It’s reasonable to speculate about Tony’s “next steps” had he not joined SHIELD. Tony Stark’s approach to creating “a suit of armor around the world” if the Avengers never formed and the invasion of Earth still occurred in 2012 could have been quite unique, needing him to peruse the world for any assistance he could trust and potentially leading to the earliest form of The Illuminati.

When Nick Fury revealed that Tony Stark had helped him redesign his helicarriers in Captain America: The Winter Soldier in 2014, perhaps the Illuminati never existed because Tony trusted Fury and SHIELD and didn’t feel a need to take matters into his own hands.

To put it another way, the MCU could be a universe in which the Illuminati have yet to come into being. If this were to happen, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness could introduce the concept in its own unique way without having to go back through the MCU’s timeline to make sure the plot lines up with previous occurrences.

The Illuminati Easter egg in Iron Man 2 is a question for fans if Doctor Strange is allowed to form a new Illuminati in the MCU.

Was Iron Man’s Illuminati A Fake?

Superior Iron Man In Doctor Strange 2

Superior Iron Man In Doctor Strange 2?

If The Illuminati is to appear in the MCU, then the Easter egg teasing the group’s arrival in Iron Man 2 will either be linked to it or written off as a fun tip of the hat to comic book fans while denigrating its presence in the film.

It’s not like Marvel hasn’t given fans epic Phase 1 teasers that have turned out to be nothing before. A scene in 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok made some fans laugh, while others were enraged when Hela called Odin’s Infinity Gauntlet “fake.” As if it never existed, the right-handed glove was thrown away without a second thought after its first appearance in the 2011 film Thor.

An Easter egg as big as the Infinity Gauntlet teased so early on is difficult to bring back while still making sense of the story’s expansion.

A similar argument can be made for the Illuminati Easter Egg in Iron Man 2. It was a fun nod back in 2010, but the MCU has evolved so much since then that it would be difficult to tie the tease back into the story twelve years later. As a result, the chances of Tony Stark’s Illuminati app being any more than a secret internet browser are looking slimmer by the day.

Even if the Iron Man 2 tease about Tony being at odds with the US government is just a joke, the eventual formation of the MCU’s Illuminati could still honor Tony Stark.

Doctor Strange Could Take Inspiration From Iron Man’s Illuminati


Superior Iron Man

Tony Stark lived and died for those ideals; and if Dr. Strange is influenced by the Illuminati after his sequel, he may form his own version of the group based on those beliefs.

Following the events of the first Avengers film, Tony Stark spent the rest of his life fighting to keep Earth safe from alien invaders, and he gave his life in the process. That’s exactly what Marvel Comics’ Illuminati was premised on after a Skrull invasion devastates the world.

More than fourteen million timelines were reviewed by Doctor Strange while trying to defeat Thanos in Infinity War. Because of Tony Stark’s sacrifice, it’s possible that Doctor Strange will come to appreciate the importance of keeping Tony’s ideals alive. If Earth is ever threatened again, this could motivate the Defender of the New York Sanctum to form a group of people who share the same values.

After the events of Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home, as well as upcoming projects like Armor Wars on Disney+, it is clear that Tony Stark’s legacy will continue to shape the MCU even after his death. In the event that The Illuminati makes its way into the MCU, perhaps Doctor Strange will remember Tony’s principles.

When it comes to bringing the long-awaited Illuminati to life in the MCU, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness appears to be Marvel’s best shot yet.

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