During his journey across the multiverse, Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) bumped into the Illuminati, a group akin to the Avengers of a different reality. The Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness team pulled in characters from all corners of Marvel lore, including Patrick Stewart's Charles Xavier and Reed Richards, played by Marvel newcomer John Krasinski after years of popular fancasting theories.
There was also the return of Anson Mount's Black Bolt, a character he previously played in ABC's widely-panned Inhumans series. According to Mount, none of the Illuminati members were actually in the same room during filming. Because of scheduling conflicts, they all had to be filmed separately and spliced together by the film's expansive visual effects department.
"No, he was actually not there! [Laughs] He was shooting Picard," the Strange New Worlds star recently told Esquire of Patrick Stewart's Marvel resurgence. "That was a very interesting shoot because my role came up in the reshoots. As you can imagine, several of the actors were quite busy. Patrick was not there. Chiwetel [Ejiofor] was not there. Krasinski's contract wasn't even done. He wasn't there. We had actors playing those roles, knowing that they were going to either be substituting their shots or transplanting faces. I've never done anything quite like that, and I was in disbelief of how well it cut together."
According to Multiverse of Madness writer Michael Waldron, the use of the Illuminati was both a blessing and a curse.
"The danger is you can expand your scope too wide, and you can actually reduce the stakes if you don't make it personal as you go bigger and wider. But the opportunity in the multiverse is to have characters confront literal 'What ifs?' and alternate versions of themselves and perhaps others in their lives. It's an interesting way to hold up a mirror to characters," Waldron said earlier this year.
"In every way, it shapes the emotional heart of the story. It has to. The multiverse isn't just a MacGuffin where we're like, 'Okay, this is just a kitschy thing that we're playing with in this movie,'" he added. "If you're faced with alternate realities and with alternate versions of yourself that has to become the emotional heart, exploring who you might be if you were a different version of yourself, if you made other choices, the right choices or the wrong choices. It's complex stuff, emotionally, and that's exactly why it's so thrilling and so great for a cast as dramatically talented as this one."
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now streaming on Disney+. What'd you think about the sequel? Let us know your thoughts either in the comments section or by hitting our writer @AdamBarnhardt up on Twitter to chat all things MCU!