Doctor Strange 2 introduced a world where there are no Avengers. Instead, we meet the Illuminati, which consists of surprising superheroes.
The film gave us a round trip to the Marvel multiverse while setting up the Scarlet Witch to become the ultimate villain she was prophesized to be. Even though the film wasn't as critically acclaimed, it ended up being the second best film at the 2022 box office.
Earth-838 has all sorts of differences from the Marvel Cinematic Universe's standard, Earth-616 (technically, Earth 199999). They have pizza poppa while on Earth-616, it's just a regular round pizza. Their system of traffic lighting is the complete opposite of what Earth-616 follows. Another major difference is the lack of Avengers in Earth-838, even though they still have Dr. Stephen Strange and a Captain Marvel.
Where are the Avengers on Earth-838? Are there any Avengers at all, and if not, what happened to them? In this article, we'll explore Earth-838, the Illuminati, and more.
Earth-838's Avengers disbanded because of Tony Stark
Remember Avengers: Age of Ultron? Tony Stark already wanted to disband them, and Ultron was the means to that end. While Tony tried his hardest to make Ultron work, what he ended up with was the complete opposite. The superhero collective came together once again to defeat Ultron, with the additional help of Wanda & Pietro Maximoff.
On Earth-838, however, things were a bit different.
Marvel producer Richie Palmer revealed that the reason we don't see Earth's Mightiest Heroes is because Tony Stark made them obsolete. Tony Stark would have done the same on Earth-616 if Ultron had worked exactly how he wanted him to. In an interview with Empire, Palmer revealed:
"Yeah, we believe that the 838 Wanda had some children and kinda retired. She was happy living a life with her family and didn't need to prioritize being a superhero."
The Illuminati took the reigns in the absence of the Avengers, which is why on Earth-838, we see Tony's sentinels escort Strange to them. This also explains why Wanda wasn't active in the line of duty, and instead resorted to a calm and peaceful life.
The Avengers had the option to move on with their lives, and the majority of them did. This is perhaps why we don't get to see Iron Man in the Illuminati as well. In his interview, Palmer said:
"Maybe because of the Illuminati, maybe because of some other stuff. But this is a world where Ultron seemed to work the way Tony Stark intended him to work in Age of Ultron. 'A suit of armor around the world,' Tony was trying to get the Avengers to retire in Age of Ultron. So imagine this is a world where Tony cracked Ultron, and it worked, and he went, 'Hey, whoever wants to retire and go home, can.' And then the Illuminati came to rise behind the scenes, pulling the strings."
Earth-838 seems to have followed a path that differs a lot from Earth-616. While Maria Rambeau takes on the mantle of Captain Marvel in this universe, Peggy Carter goes through a procedure that turns her into the 'First Avenger' ever. The Inhuman king Black Bolt is also part of the Illuminati, which means the Terrigen Mist is also not a concealed reality.
Doctor Strange 2 also introduces us to the concept of Incursions, which will play a significant role way in Doctor Strange 3, and eventually way down the MCU line in the Secret Wars film.
With Ant-Man & the Wasp: Quantumania just around the corner and the sacred timeline no longer protected, it's safe to say that the next few Marvel films will knock the Multiverse Saga into full gear. We might even get more appearances from the Scarlet Witch, who is presumed dead at the end of the film.