Marvel Theory Suggests Shang-Chi Introduced The MCU’s Illuminati

The Illuminati appeared in Doctor Strange 2, and a fan theory claims that Shang-chi’s mid-credits scene set up the Earth-616 version of the group.

WARNING: Spoilers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness introduced the Illuminati as part of Earth-838, but a fan theory suggests that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings previously featured the Earth-616 version of the team. After months of speculation leading to Doctor Strange 2, the Sam Raimi film delivered on big Marvel cameos as part of the Illuminati roster. However, the Illuminati’s short-lived appearance didn’t match the prominence the group had in Marvel comics, something a non-multiversal Illuminati team in the MCU could fix.


Rumors of Illuminati cameos dominated the conversation on Doctor Strange 2, and names like Tom Cruise as Iron Man and Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool were constantly speculated to be on film. Although not all rumors circulate Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness cameo come true, the film saw the debut of an X-Men, Professor X, in the MCU, as well as a former fan-cast, come true: John Krasinski as Mister Fantastic. Doctor Strange’s Illuminati team also included Mordo, Captain Marvel, Captain Carter, and Black Bolt, but none of them were able to oppose Scarlet Witch.

Related: Shang-Chi Is Already Setting Up Moon Knight’s Strongest Avengers Ally

With all members of the Illuminati on Earth-838 dead and the multiverse still exposed to threats other than the Scarlet Witch, it’s possible that Earth-616’s Doctor Strange was inspired by the events of the film to create the real-life version. of the MCU. The Illuminati. However, one fan theory (via Reddit) suggests that the concept of an Earth-616 Illuminati team has already been presented in the Shang Chi mid-credits scene. On this occasion, Wong, Captain Marvel, and Bruce Banner appeared together in a meeting to discuss the origins of the Ten Rings. Although the scene could only be the Avengers helping someone in need, it could also be interpreted as the birth of the idea of ​​an Illuminati team: some of the world’s most powerful and intelligent heroes come together to deliberate a potential magical or cosmic issue.

Shang-chi’s Avengers look like the Illuminati from Doctor Strange 2

Brie Larson and Mark Ruffalo as Captain Marvel and Bruce Banner in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings Credits Scene

Curiously, the Avengers were featured in the Shang Chi the mid-credits scene looks like some of the members of Doctor Strange 2The Illuminati team. Captain Marvel was present in both instances, the difference being that on Earth-838, it was Maria Rambeau, not Carol Danvers, who used the title. Wong was not part of Earth-838’s Illuminati, but the group had a place for Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme in its formation, as Doctor Strange and Mordo were part of the team. Finally, while Earth-616 Bruce Banner had no Earth-838 Illuminati counterpart, he and Reed Richards fill the role of an extremely intelligent scientist who also possesses superpowers.

Shang-chi post-credits scene could be an Illuminati Proto-Earth-616

Hulk Bruce banner shang chi dark fate location for avengers

In the comics, one of the ideas behind the formation of the Illuminati was to have a representative from every corner of the Marvel Universe as part of this council. For example, Namor represented Atlantis, while Black Bolt represented the Inhumans. Doctor Strange 2The Illuminati echoed this idea on some level, with, for example, Reed Richards representing the Fantastic Four and Professor X representing the X-Men. On top of that, each member of the Enlightened had a very distinct set of abilities, and each of them could be considered the best in their field.

This same logic can be applied to the heroes presented in the Shang Chi mid-credits scene. Captain Marvel is the space representative of the Avenger as well as the MCU’s most powerful cosmic hero, Wong is the Sorcerer Supreme and brings the perspective of the magical side of the universe, and Bruce Banner is the mind behind some of the creations. the most important. in the MCU, such as Ultron, Vision, and equipment for the Avengers: Endgame time breaker. If these three were truly the start of the Earth-616 version of the Illuminati, then the team will have already checked some important boxes of what the Illuminati roster should feature.

Related: Ms. Marvel’s New Powers May Secretly Connect To Shang-Chi

The status of the Avengers after End of Game is still unclear, and the superhero team is going through a time of transition following the deaths of Iron Man, Black Widow, and Vision and the retirement of Steve Rogers. In this transitional storyline in which many new heroes like Shang-Chi, Kate Bishop, and Ms. Marvel appear, it would make sense for the more experienced Avengers to rely on a small group of people in sticky situations. The position of leader of the Avengers is still vacant after Rogers’ retirement, which could make it easier to disband the team into smaller groups. Therefore, concepts like the Thunderbolts, Dark Avengers, East Coast Avengers, and Illuminati could all be part of the MCU’s Phase 5. Even though the quick encounter between Wong, Bruce Banner, and Captain Marvel doesn’t necessarily lead to the formation of The Illuminati of Earth-616, the Shang Chi the mid-credits scene at least laid down the idea of ​​a few superheroes intervening in important matters

How The Illuminati Could Still Play A Role In The MCU

will the illuminati return to the mcu after doctor strange 2

One of the main criticisms leveled at Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness it’s that the movie doesn’t seem to have had much of an impact on Doctor Strange’s story in the MCU. Although it may take some time for this criticism to be proven, an interesting consequence is that the events of Doctor Strange 2 could have in the MCU is the creation of an Illuminati team on Earth-616. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of MadnessScarlet Witch’s ending was just the beginning of the multiverse’s troubles, but Strange might not be interested in sharing all of the information he’s learned on his journey through the film with every Avenger. The use of the Darkhold, the actions of other versions of Doctor Strange, and the possibility that MCU Strange may have caused an incursion are all tricky topics that the hero may prefer to be reserved for a small group of people only – to begin with. by Wong. If so, then Strange and Wong could discuss names like Bruce Banner and Captain Marvel, making the Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings mid-credits scene the true birth of Earth-616 Illuminati.

Next: The MCU’s Perfect Illuminati Team For Earth 616

  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release Date: Jul 08, 2022
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: November 11, 2022
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: February 17, 2023
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023
  • Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2023)Release date: July 28, 2023

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