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Mister Fantastic cameo in Doctor Strange 2 was originally a different actor

Published May 16th, 2022 8:41AM EDT
Strange and Wanda talking about Avengers and the multiverse
Image: Marvel Studios

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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is out in theaters, which means we’re done with the wild cameo rumors because we have all our answers. But that only means we’ve reached the phase where Marvel can reveal some of the secrets of making Multiverse of Madness while we try to guess where the MCU is headed next. And we now have rumors about what might have been. One of the most exciting Doctor Strange 2 Illuminati cameos, Mister Fantastic, might have been played by an actor who was never even mentioned in the leaks.

Before we dive in, we’ll warn you that some Multiverse of Madness spoilers follow below if you haven’t seen the movie.

Reports dating back to last summer claimed Doctor Strange 2 would feature a universe where there’s a superhero group calling themselves the Illuminati. Initial reports said that Professor X (Patric Stewart), Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Captain Carter (Hayley Atwell), Captain Marvel (Teyonah Parris), and Balder the Brave would be part of the team.

The rumors then changed, claiming that Mister Fantastic would appear in Doctor Strange 2, with fan-favorite John Krasinski playing him. Other leaks said that Black Bolt (Anson Mount) would also be part of the team.

Balder the Brave vanished, and Captain Marvel saw a significant change. Lashana Lynch would play the Illuminati variant, not Parris.

Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) informing Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) of the Illuminati - YouTube TV spot version
Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) informing Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) of the Illuminati – YouTube TV spot version. Image source: Marvel Studios

The Illuminati in Multiverse of Madness

Marvel then confirmed that Professor X, Captain Marvel, and Captain Carter were in the movie. But the Super Bowl ad only revealed the identity of the former. It took the studio several months to give us more footage of the other two. And only a few days before the Doctor Strange 2 premiere did Marvel release a promo video where Mordo mentioned the Illuminati by name.

Finally, images and footage leaked in the days preceding the premiere, showing the Multiverse of Madness cameos that Marvel hadn’t confirmed. That included our first look at Krasinski as Mister Fantastic.

The rest is history. The Illuminati found themselves facing Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) in combat, just as they were judging Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). And the group was not able to stop her.

Wanda had a field day with these superheroes, including Mister Fantastic. She turned him into spaghetti before blowing up his brain, stunning the audience. So much for the smartest man in that reality.

The Illuminati appear on the screen in the second act of the movie, and they die just a few minutes after showing up. They have to serve the story rather than steal attention.

The Illuminati tell us how dangerous Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) can be. More importantly, they show us the colossal threat that Wanda has become. If the Kamar-Taj battle in the first few minutes of the movie isn’t enough, the way Wanda dispatches the Illuminati while dreamwalking drives that point home.

A better look at Captain Marvel in Doctor Strange 2 TV spot
A better look at Captain Marvel in Doctor Strange 2 tickets preorder announcement TV spot. Image source: Marvel Studios

Doctor Strange 2 was supposed to feature a different Mister Fantastic

But then we saw plenty of chatter online about the Illuminati. Fans started wondering what it all means for the future of the MCU.

Unsurprisingly, Krasinski’s casting has been one of the most talked-about things in Doctor Strange 2. Unfortunately, it’s still unclear if he will play Mister Fantastic in the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot.

Marvel has yet to announce the cast of the reboot, and there’s no guarantee that Krasinski will be in the movie. Character variants can be identical across MCU realities. But, as Loki and No Way Home showed, they can be different.

It turns out that Marvel had a different actor in mind for Doctor Strange 2’s Mister Fantastic. That’s Daniel Craig, who was supposed to play the character.

The James Bond actor backed out of the shoot because new COVID-19 cases were spiking at the time. That’s according to Deadline’s Justin Kroll.

Regardless of who got to play Mister Fantastic in Doctor Strange 2, the character is dead on Earth-838 following that battle against Wanda. Craig’s Reed Richards would have delivered the same arrogance as the rest of the Illuminati.

They couldn’t imagine not being able to stop a little witch, and they paid the price. But now we’ll always wonder what Craig would have looked like in Doctor Strange 2 as Mister Fantastic.

More Marvel coverage: For more MCU news, visit our Marvel guide.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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