Marvel Studios Reportedly Has Plans for Illuminati

A new rumor suggests that Marvel Studios is in the early stages of developing a project based on Marvel's Illuminati. The Illuminerdi website reports having learned this information from a cast listing that currently only names Marvel Chief Creative Officer Kevin Feige as a producer on the project, titled Marvel's Illuminati. It's unclear whether the project would be a film or a Disney+ series. Brian Michael Bendis and Steve McNiven created the Illuminati idea during Bendis' run writing Marvel's Avengers titles. In the pages of New Avengers, Bendis revealed that a secret society made of some of Marvel's iconic characters had been operating without oversight since the events of the Kree-Skrull War years ago. The New Avengers: The Illuminati miniseries revealed the group's secret history.

The original group's membership consisted of figures capable of representing all of the Marvel Universe's significant powers. Those members were:

  • Iron Man represented the Avengers.
  • Mister Fantastic represented the Fantastic Four.
  • Namor represented Atlantis.
  • Black Bolt represented the Inhumans
  • Professor X represented the X-Men and mutants
  • Doctor Strange represented Earth's mystics

Each member was at one point tasked with hiding and guarding one of the six Infinity Stones. The group also extended an invitation to Black Panther to represent Wakanda. T'Challa refused and predicted that disagreement within the group would spell disaster for Earth.

The Illuminati's first act was to travel to the Skrull homeworld to warn the empire not to tread near Earth again. The excursion unwittingly provided the Skrulls with the genetic data they needed to invade the Earth undetected in Secret Invasion years later. The Illuminati also decided to send the Hulk into space, resulting in him crash landing on the planet Sakaar, the events of "Planet Hulk" taking place, and Hulk's later return to wage World War Hulk.

If Feige plans to base his Illuminati project on this series -- assuming the project does exist -- then it would presumably reveal some previously unknown history of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Still, other versions of the Illuminati do exist. A later version formed to combat multiversal incursions that eventually led to the events of Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic's Secret Wars event. The most recent incarnation of the group wasn't related to the original team at all. Instead, it was formed by criminal mastermind The Hood to be the ultimate society of supervillains. His team included Black Ant, Enchantress, Mad Thinker, Thunderball, and Titania. Any of these groups could serve as subjects of a Marvel Studios project.

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