A behind-the-scenes photo from Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness reveals that Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) was originally supposed to kill Balder the Brave, Thor’s half-brother.
The photo showcasing the aftermath of Balder’s demise was shared by CC Ice, Olsen’s stunt double. It is unclear who is playing Balder in the photo, but it is most likely a fellow stunt double, as Graham Churchyard, who worked as a costume designer on the Doctor Strange sequel, said the character never made it to casting. “Yeah, we got very far designing Balder the Brave, and then we were waiting and waiting and waiting on casting and that, I took it to a prototype stage,” Churchyard said. “We were kind of in that design sort of thing, getting fabrics together and ideas and waiting for an actor. Poor Balder the Brave.”
Despite not making it beyond the design team’s prototype, Marvel did have hopes to cast James Bond and Knives Out star Daniel Craig as the Asgardian warrior, who was also supposed to be a member of the movie’s version of the Illuminati, even going so far as to commission concept art of what the actor would look like in the role. However, Craig reportedly backed out of the film citing COVID-19 concerns, and was replaced by John Krasinski’s Mister Fantastic.
Balder was not the only character who was supposed to be in the Illuminati, only to end up on the chopping block. Storyboards from the film show Obadiah Stane / Iron Monger standing alongside Balder. Writer Michael Waldron also stated that Wasp was supposed to appear as a member of the group. “Originally in the first draft [of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness] the Wasp… was in the Illuminati,” he said. “And the Wasp shrunk down and flew at [the Scarlet Witch], and Wanda clapped her hands and smushed the Wasp.”
Created by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Steve McNiven, the Illuminati first appeared in 2005’s New Avengers #7 and are a secret society of heroes who work behind the scenes to ensure world peace and security. The film’s final version of the team included Professor X / Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), Mister Fantastic / Reed Richards (Krasinski), Black Bolt / Blackagar Boltagon (Anson Mount), Captain Carter / Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell), Captain Marvel / Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) and Baron Mordo / Karl Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor).